Strikeouts have been a part of Aaron Judge’s game throughout his professional career. The whiffs have always been tolerable thanks to everything else he contributes, though. In spite of a career 31.4 percent strikeout rate entering the 2021 season, Judge also owned a lifetime 151 wRC+ on a .272/.390/.558 triple-slash. Yeah, it’s kind of hard to complain about his propensity to swing-and-miss when he absolutely mashes the ball otherwise.
With more than 1,800 plate appearances under his belt coming into the season, I think most people accepted that Judge would never become a contact hitter. Yet, this season, the star right fielder has done just that, relatively speaking. He’s dropped his strikeout rate to 24.1 percent in 245 plate appearances in 2021, which is exactly the MLB average this year. Remarkably, Judge has done this without sacrificing his power (.255 ISO) or on-base percentage (.396). This is a pretty incredible development.