Aaron Judge Heaps Praise on Shohei Ohtani: ‘What an Impressive Athlete’

Shohei Ohtani

Getty Shohei Ohtani beats out an Aaron Judge throw home

Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani appear to be MVP candidates in their respective leagues. They’re also among the most famous faces in all of baseball. So when the two took the field against each other last weekend, it was appointment television.

From the way it sounds, even Judge enjoyed his chance to watch Ohtani at work.

Ohtani and the Dodgers took two out of three from Judge and the Yankees in the Bronx, and one of the most exciting plays of the series came in the finale when Will Smith flew out to right.

Judge caught the ball and Ohtani tagged up at third, trying to score on a sac fly. Judge’s throw to the plate reached 93.4 mph, his fastest of the year, but Ohtani was a step faster. He beat the throw home, cutting the Dodgers’ deficit to 5-4.

The Yankees got the last laugh, salvaging the series finale with a 6-4 win.

Asked about the play on Monday, June 10, before the Yankees took on the Royals in Kansas City, Judge gushed about his NL counterpart.

“Man, he’s fast. You gotta make a good throw,” Judge said in a video the MLB posted to X. “You gotta make an accurate throw when you got a guy like that who right off the bat I know he’s gonna be going. I wish I would have been 95 or 96 maybe we would’ve had a chance, but he’s a speedster, man.”

Judge isn’t the only big leaguer in awe of Ohtani. His peers named him the best player in Major League Baseball on Monday in a survey from The Athletic. He received nearly half of the 100-plus votes.

“What an impressive athlete,” Judge added. “He hit the ball in the park, all over. When he’s right he’s pitching, doing his thing. He can also tag up from third on a short throw. He’s the best player out there.”

Shohei Ohtani Chases MVP History

Ohtani is not only looking to win back-to-back MVP awards, he’s looking to be the first player to ever go back-to-back in two different leagues. Frank Robinson is the only player to ever win the AL and NL MVP, but he did so in 1961 and 1966.

“There’s no comparison. Everybody has a comp, he’s got no comp,” one anonymous MLB player said in The Athletic’s MLB Players Poll story. “Shohei Ruth or Babe Ohtani — no question.”

Ohtani will have to work a little harder this year if he wants to win another MVP because his status as a two-way sensation is currently on pause. The Dodgers’ designated hitter won’t take the mound this season but is working toward a return to pitching in 2025.

Aaron Judge Chases 60 Again

Against all odds, Judge is again flirting with another 60-home-run season. The Yankees right fielder and current AL Home Run King got off to a miserable start, hitting 3 home runs and batting .184 in the Yankees’ first 24 games.

As of June 10, he’s at 24 home runs and is hitting .305. For the non-math majors, that means he’s hit 21 homers in his last 44 games, batting .379 in the process. With the Yankees 68 games into their season, that puts him on pace for 57 home runs.

That’s not quite 62, but take into account his slow start and his pace from 2022, the year he hit 62. At this point that season, he had 25 home runs, just one more than he has now.

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