Getty Images

At 50-24, the New York Yankees have the best record in baseball and three more wins than any other team, and they've done it with well-rounded play. The Yankees are allowing 3.38 runs per game, fewest in baseball and 0.14 runs better than any other team. They're scoring 5.05 runs per game, second only to the Baltimore Orioles (5.13). Their plus-124 run differential is MLB's best.

Anthony Volpe, Alex Verdugo, and others have contributed to the offensive attack, but the stars of the show are obviously Aaron Judge and Juan Soto. Soto has been everything the Yankees hoped he would be, slashing .315/.433/.592 with 18 home runs. He's on pace for a career high 39 homers in his free agent year. The Yankees badly needed an impact lefty bat and Soto has delivered.

The thing is, Soto isn't even the best hitter on the Yankees. He is the second-best hitter in baseball and the second best hitter on his own team. Here is the MLB OPS+ leaderboard:

  1. Aaron Judge: 210 OPS+
  2. Juan Soto: 189 OPS+
  3. Marcell Ozuna: 181 OPS+
  4. Kyle Tucker: 178 OPS+
  5. Shohei Ohtani: 174 OPS+

During his record-setting 62-homer season in 2022, Judge had a ... 210 OPS+. Now, there's a big difference between having a 210 OPS+ on June 17 and having a 210 OPS+ across a full 162 games, but Judge is not doing anything we haven't seen him do before. Almost exactly this too. Judge hit .311/.425/.686 in 2022. In 2024, he has a .299/.425/.686 line. Freaky.

The thing is, Judge has not been dominant since Opening Day. He started the season so slowly that he got booed on his bobblehead day on April 20. His slash line bottomed out at .174/.308/.337 two days later. In the 50 games since, Judge has been on one of the greatest hot streaks in recent memory: .360/.480/.854 with 17 doubles and 23 home runs.

Judge's 50-game rampage began on April 23. Only Alec Bohm has more doubles (21) since then. Otherwise Judge leads the league in everything else. To wit:

Judge Runner-up



Luis Arraez (.350)



Juan Soto (.430)



Kyle Tucker (.635)



Juan Soto (1.043)



Gunnar Henderson (16)



Jarren Duran (28)



Henderson and Bobby Witt Jr. (3.3)  

The gap between No. 1 and No. 2 in OPS is the same as the gap between No. 2 and No. 70. The slugging and extra-base hit gaps are what stand out most to me. Judge is the game's best power hitter and has been since his rookie season in 2017, but this is the best power stretch of his career, 2022 included. This is one of the all-time great power hitters at top of his game.

"Considering the month of April, where he was down around .200, to be up to that is just another testament to the kind of run he's been on," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said last week when Judge's batting average crept over .300. "... I'm trying not to take that for granted. But I mean, it's a lot of fun to witness and to watch what he's doing on a nightly basis. It's pretty special."

Here is more on Judge's otherworldly 50-game hot streak, and what his outlook is for the rest of the season.

Last 50-game stretches this dominant

Truth be told, it's not that uncommon for a player to hit .360 in a 50-game stretch. It's impressive, for sure, but not rare. Mookie Betts hit .408 over 50 games from last June 29 to Aug. 30. Arraez flirted with .400 for 50 games last year too. Soto, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Corey Seager, and others have hit .360-plus for 50 games at some point since 2021.

The same goes for the .480 on-base percentage. That's not even Judge's best over 50 games. He had a .511 OBP from July 23 to Sept. 18 in 2022. Soto had a .555 OBP for a 50-game span in 2021. Betts, Ohtani, and Bryce Harper are among the others who have put up a .480 OBP or better across 50 games at some point over the last four seasons.

This century, only five players other than Judge (eight instances) have slugged at least .850 in a 50-game span, and only 10 others (16 instances) have had a 1.300 OPS in a 50-game span. 

.850+ SLG in 50 games1.300+ OPS in 50 games

Shohei Ohtani: .891 (May 30 to July 29, 2023)

Shohei Ohtani: 1.359 (June 6 to Aug. 4, 2023)

Giancarlo Stanton: .897 (July 4 to Aug. 30, 2017)

Bryce Harper: 1.303 (July 23 to Sept. 16, 2021)

Barry Bonds: .963 (July 28 to Sept. 26, 2004)

Giancarlo Stanton: 1.342 (July 4 to Aug. 230, 2017)

Jim Edmonds: .867 (July 10 to Sept. 6, 2004)

Joey Votto: 1.303 (July 7 to Sept. 2, 2015)

Barry Bonds: .928 (July 2 to Sept. 16, 2003)

Bryce Harper: 1.357 (May 6 to July 7, 2015)

Barry Bonds: .890 (July 6 to Sept. 14, 2002)

Barry Bonds: 1.567 (July 28 to Sept. 26, 2004)

Barry Bonds: 1.026 (April 12 to June 8, 2001)

Jim Edmonds: 1.378 (July 9 to Sept. 6, 2004)

Sammy Sosa: .881 (July 3 to Aug. 26, 2001)

Barry Bonds: 1.526 (July 2 to Sept. 17, 2003)

Barry Bonds: 1.506 (July 15 to Sept. 19, 2002)

Jim Thome: 1.314 (June 21 to Aug. 21, 2002)

Barry Bonds: 1.553 (Aug. 4 to Oct. 7, 2001)

Sammy Sosa: 1.355 (Aug. 9 to Oct. 7, 2001)

Jim Thome: 1.307 (May 25 to July 22, 2001)

Carlos Delgado: 1.370 (May 28 to July 25, 2000)

Todd Helton: 1.343 (April 4 to June 4, 2000)

Barry Bonds: 1.331 (April 11 to June 17, 2000)

Bonds in the early 2000s was the most devastating hitter the game has ever seen. Otherwise slugging .850 and OPSing 1.300 for a 50-game span is something only the game's truly elite hitters can accomplish when they're at the top of their game. Mike Trout never did it. Albert Pujols never did it. Miguel Cabrera never did it. Judge is doing it. It's rarefied air.

Home run pace

With 26 home runs through 74 team games, Judge is on pace to hit 57 homers this season, short of his 62 homers in 2022 but still a top 20 home run season all-time. It would be the seventh most home runs in a single season in American League history. Through 74 team games in 2022, Judge had 28 homers, so only two more than his current place. He's close.

The folks at Newsday saved me the trouble and made a graph comparing Judge's 2024 home run pace to his 2022 pace:

This is the kind of thing that can change with one great series. If Judge manages to hit four homers in a three-game span like he did from May 31 to June 2, he'll be ahead of his 2022 pace and we'll be talking about him possibly breaking his own AL single-season home run record. Just the fact that he's reasonably close to his 2022 pace despite the slow start to this season is remarkable, really.

Extra-base hit pace

Chasing the AL single-season home run record is boring. We've been there, done that. Hardcore baseball nerds are looking at Judge's extra-base hits total and wondering if he can get that record, or simply crack 100 for the season. Only 15 times has a player recorded 100 extra-base hits in a season, and it's happened only six times since 1948.

The all-time record is 119 extra-base hits by Babe Ruth in 1921. Here are the six players with 100 extra-base hits in a season since 1948:


Barry Bonds, 2001





Todd Helton, 2001





Albert Belle, 1995





Todd Helton, 2000





Sammy Sosa, 2001





Luis Gonzalez, 2001





Give Belle bonus points for reaching 100 extra-base hits in the strike-shortened 144-game season in 1995. Everyone else did it in a full 162-game season. There have been a few close calls this century. Chris Davis had 96 extra-base hits in 2013, Derrek Lee had 99 in 2005, and Pujols had 99 in 2004. The MLB leader averaged 88 extra-base hits from 2014-23 (excluding 2020).

Judge has 49 extra-base hits -- 22 doubles, one triple, 26 homers -- through 74 team games, putting him on pace for 107 extra-base hits for the season. That would tie Bonds for the third highest total in baseball history, behind Ruth (119 in 1921) and Lou Gehrig (117 in 1927). Judge needs 51 extra-base his in New York's final 88 games to reach 100 for the season. It's doable.

The problem for Judge here, and also with a possible chase of his own AL single-season home run record, is that teams are going to stop pitching to him. It happened late in 2022 and it'll happen again this year, even with Soto in the lineup. Once the postseason races heat up, teams won't let Judge beat them. They'll take their chances with Stanton, Verdugo, and everyone else.

Also, Judge will cool down. It's inevitable. He's a great, great hitter, but he is not a true talent .854 SLG or 1.334 OPS hitter. No one is. That's him at his peak, not at a sustainable level. Judge putting up a 1.000 OPS the rest of 2024 would not be a surprise, but a 1.300 OPS? Nah. As it stands, his last 50 games have been one the most dominant 50-game stretches in recent memory.