Aaron Judge refuses to defend Home Run Derby title
Aaron Judge is going out on top — at least in terms of the Home Run Derby.
The New York Yankees slugger told reporters on Tuesday that he will not be defending his title in this year’s contest, which will be held at Nationals Park.
“There is no need to do it,” said Judge, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
When asked what would happen if the league pressured him to participate, the 2017 AL home runs leader replied simply, “Pressure won’t do anything.”
Judge won last year’s contest in Miami as a rookie, clubbing 47 total home runs in the three rounds of competition. However, he fell into a deep slump afterwards, batting .228/.391/.548 in the second half of the season (compared to .329/.448/.691 in the first half).
The 26-year-old’s presence in the 2017 Derby made for an undeniable ratings boost, as he pulled off feats that were previously thought impossible. But that won’t be the case again this year now that it is clear Judge feels he has nothing left to prove or to gain.