My Name Is Judge

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The Homer Report wishes Juan Soto a belated congratulations on his Home Run Derby victory. Around the league, 174 home runs were hit in the last eight days (the most recent Homer Report ran on a Friday) despite most teams losing four days to the All-Star Break. As a result, the leaguewide pace grew to 5,258 home runs, an increase of 72 dingers since we last met.

Weekly Leaders

Aaron Judge, 5 HR
21 Others, 2 HR

After a couple dormant weeks, Judge reasserted himself as the home run king. Most projection systems expect another 18 home runs before it’s all said and done. That would be a career-high 54 home runs. His previous best of 52 homers happened way back in 2017. Back then, half of his plate appearances ended with a walk or a strikeout. He’s whittled that number down to a little over one-third of plate appearances. More balls in play mean more chances to hammer baseballs. My own home run calculator thinks he’ll match his previous high of 52.

Most of the two-homer crowd are familiar faces. A couple unusual sluggers were Nelson Velasquez and Martin Maldonado. Velasquez does have considerable power. He’s mostly used in a backup capacity due to horrific strikeout and swinging strike rates. Maldonado is a glove-only defensive catcher who sells out for power – and sometimes finds it. He’s on pace for a career-high home run total despite a 65 wRC+ (35 percent below average).

My Top 10 Projected Home Run Leaders

Aaron Judge, 52 HR
Kyle Schwarber, 47 HR
Pete Alonso, 42 HR
Yordan Alvarez, 41 HR
Austin Riley, 40 HR
Byron Buxton, 40 HR
Giancarlo Stanton, 39 HR
Mike Trout, 38 HR
Christian Walker, 37 HR
Corey Seager, 37 HR

Partly on account of the short week, we have no new names in the Top 10. I believe this is the first week of the 2022 season this has happened. Trout has fallen from third to eighth with a drop of five projected home runs. He’s currently on the injured list but isn’t expected to miss much time. Besides Trout, Judge was the only one to alter his projected total by more than one home run – at least among the big names.

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Injured

New

Trevor Story, hand, late-July
Luis Robert, head, early-August
Mike Trout, ribs, late-July
Ryan Jeffers, thumb, early-September
Juan Yepez, forearm, late-July

There aren’t a ton of new injuries to report. Those that did occur are rather notable. Fortunately, all but Jeffers will hopefully return around the time the calendar turned to August. Jeffers has a fracture in his thumb which will cost him six-to-eight weeks. He never quite got going this season after a disappointing performance in 2021. That said, he’s shown growth as a hitter and has excellent Statcast characteristics – particularly a penchant for barreled fly ball contact with above average exit velocities.

Existing

Wander Franco, hamate, late-August
Mitch Garver, TJS, out for season
Bryan Reynolds, oblique, late-July
Chris Taylor, foot, early-August
Óscar González, abdomen, late-July
Jake Burger, hand, late-July
Trevor Larnach, abdominal strain, August
Bryce Harper, thumb, mid-August
Jazz Chisholm, back, early-September
Austin Meadows, both Achilles, August
Salvador Perez, thumb, late-August
Ozzie Albies, foot, mid-August
Enrique Hernandez, hip, late-July
Anthony Rendon, wrist, out for season
Aristides Aquino, ankle, late-July
Mike Zunino, shoulder, late-July
Royce Lewis, torn ACL, out for season
Edwin Rios, hamstring, early-August
Wil Myers, knee, late-July
Miguel Sano, knee, late-July
Mitch Haniger, ankle, late-July
Fernando Tatis Jr., wrist, mid-August

Chisholm has been diagnosed which a stress fracture. It sounds ominous, but it’s actually a very common injury with a good prognosis for full recovery.

Quite a few players are on the cusp of activation. In particular, Sano, Myers, and Aquino appear to be healthy. Their respective clubs are working out related roster moves. Haniger, Hernandez, Reynolds, Burger, and Gonzalez could all return this week too.

Returned

Yordan Alvarez, swollen hand
Yasmani Grandal, back
Mike Moustakas, COVID
Jorge Soler, back
Kyle Lewis, concussion
Jurickson Profar, concussion
Brandon Lowe, back/concussion
Tyrone Taylor, concussion
Evan Longoria, oblique

As expected quite a few players have returned from injury post All-Star Break. Soler is already feeling soreness in his balky back. Another stint on the injured list is possible. Four concussed players returned – all but Lewis delivered at least one hit in their first game back. Longoria was activated right before the break and has gone 4-for-15 with a home run. Alvarez one-upped Longoria with a pair of home runs in nine plate appearances. Grandal went 0-fer in his return to the lineup. He hit fifth in the lineup. Moustakas is active but has not played yet.