Yankees' Aaron Judge supports Aaron Boone, iffy on analytics

ByABC News
October 1, 2023, 4:49 PM

Slugger and team captain Aaron Judge has opinions on what the New York Yankees need to do to improve after this lost season -- from the manager to the team's analytics department to his teammates -- and he wasn't shy in expressing them Sunday.

"There's some bigger-picture ideas and philosophies that I think maybe need to change," Judge, who wasn't in the lineup for the season finale, told reporters before Sunday's game against the Kansas City Royals.

"I've talked mostly with Hal [Steinbrenner], more than [GM Brian Cashman]," Judge said. "I'm looking forward to having some meetings with Hal and Cash, both in the room, and kind of all of us voicing our opinion."

He added later: "We have a good group of guys in here. I'm excited to build off what we've got here, and if we can add a couple of more pieces down the road this winter, then we'll be in a good spot."

The Yankees, after reaching the American League Championship Series in three of the past six seasons, failed to make the postseason for the first time since 2016.

"When you come to New York, you've got to win. It's about winning a World Series," Judge told ESPN earlier this week. "If you don't win a World Series, it's like: 'What are we doing?'"

Judge on Sunday wouldn't point to injuries as an excuse for the team's struggles. Instead, he pointed to the team's inability to put away seemingly lesser teams early in the 2023 season as a key point.

"We can talk about injuries, we can talk about missed opportunities, but I think it comes down to us as players not showing up when we needed to," Judge told reporters. "We were winning series [early in the season], but we weren't finishing off teams that we should be sweeping and beating. We just couldn't get that last final game against them. So I think, really, it's just the urgency out of spring training to really start off hot, especially when you play in the AL East."

The Yankees have dealt with myriad injuries this season, including losing Judge for a spell with a torn ligament in his right big toe, but the slugger wasn't blaming manager Aaron Boone for the team's finish.

"He's got a good feel for the clubhouse, with the 100-win seasons and the things he's done," Judge said of Boone. "He's just a good communicator. He's able to hold guys accountable. If he sees things he doesn't like, he's going to call you in the office and let you know.

"He's just been a great manager year in, year out. I'm looking forward to more years with him."

The Yankees received an infusion of youth this season, and Judge is hoping those players will continue to work hard in the offseason to prove why their promotions to the big club were warranted.

"Just because you get to the big leagues and you get to New York, you've still got to improve," Judge said. "You've still got to make adjustments. That's what I think these extra four weeks [since call-ups on Sept. 1] will help guys figure out and get them on the right path."

And that need for improvement also falls to the team's analytics department. Judge said players are getting the numbers, but he questioned if they were getting "the right numbers."

"I think it's just about how we use [analytics] and how we value them is an aspect that we just maybe need to look at again," Judge told reporters. "The Yankees are top-notch in the numbers we get. I think we're the best in the game at that. I think it's about funneling those down to the players in the right format.

"I wouldn't say [we are] overloaded. I think it's just looking at the right numbers. I think maybe we might be looking at the wrong ones. We need to value some other ones that people might see as having no value."