Next batch of young Yankees stars following Judge’s lead
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Players always talk about opportunity. On the field at Angel Stadium on Saturday night were two of the greatest examples of making the most of an opportunity.
Aaron Judge and Mike Trout have both become faces of MLB.
Trout, 26, was the 25th pick of the 2009 draft while Judge, also 26, was the 32nd selection of the 2013 draft. Two players from two different ends of the country who were not at the top of their respective drafts.
Judge was taken by the Yankees because of key scouting elements, like how impressed the Yankees were with the talent he showed in the Cape Cod League.
That talent was on full display by Judge and his teammates in the Yankees’ 11-1 beatdown of the Angels on Saturday night. The Yankees batted around in each of the first two innings, scoring 10 runs and knocking Garrett Richards out in the second to win their eighth straight.
In those eight victories the Yankees have outscored opponents, 62-17. They are two back of first-place Boston.
Judge ignited the onslaught with an 118-mph first-inning single and scored the first run. In the second inning he hit a rocket double to left-center to drive in Brett Gardner.
The Yankees had six hits of 100-plus mph before the Angels recorded six outs. The Yankees scored five runs in each of the first two innings. Young Miguel Andujar picked up two hits, a double and a single in those first two innings as he continues to make the most of his opportunity at third base.
Andujar (.312) has 12 doubles to lead the AL in just 19 games and is making a statement with Brandon Drury coming back from his migraine issues.
No, this is not Lou Gehrig replacing Wally Pipp because of a headache, but Andujar is making magic with his opportunity.
Another young Yankee making the most of his opportunity as well is Gleyber Torres, who added two hits to up his average to .296. Since he was called up, the Yankees have not lost.
Judge exploded on the scene last year. This year these kids are excelling. Yankees talent is being tapped.
“For me, scouting, and scouts, it’s just amazing who they find,’’ Judge told The Post. “I mean they find this kid out of New Jersey in Mike Trout and feel that he is going to be something special.’’
Then in Central California the Yankees find Judge, who has become the heart and soul of this team.
This is about the entire package and how Judge interacts with teammates, leads by example and performance and has a great time.
After Gregorius hit the home run in the 10th inning Friday night in the Yankees 4-3 win, a good portion of the 40,416 fans were chanting his name for a curtain call. It was Judge who urged Gregorius to “give the fans what they want.’’
“As for the draft, it doesn’t matter where you are picked,’’ Judge said. “It’s just getting that opportunity. Some guys get picked in the 10th round and make it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be something. It’s like Trout. He got picked 25th but that didn’t stop him no matter how many teams passed on him.’’
Same goes for Judge.
“Once you are drafted, now the work begins,’’ Judge said.
“That’s what’s been cool watching the NFL draft the last few days,’’ Judge said. “Even if you are not a top pick or if you drop in the draft you will get the opportunity to succeed, make the most of that opportunity. Look at a guy like Tom Brady and what he has accomplished. Teams passed on him saying he didn’t have this or that, well he’s got the instincts to win. It’s little things like that really make a star.
“I feel that the guys who are supposed to play in the major leagues, they will play there as long as they get that opportunity,’’ Judge said. “Just get drafted, give it that shot and the ones who are supposed to make it will make it because of the hard work.’’
The Yankees are rolling. Hard work is paying off.
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