The Yankees sent their No. 5 prospect to the Arizona Fall League to measure himself against some of the best young players in the game, and Aaron Judge has certainly delivered.
After a big fourth week in the circuit, the outfielder was named the AFL's Player of the Week while Rays right-hander Jaime Schultz took home the Pitcher of the Week honor, the league announced Tuesday.
Judge earned the award for both his power and patience. The Scottsdale slugger's standout performance came last Thursday against Mesa, when he clubbed two homers and drove in four runs. Although AFL stats aren't usually counted towards Minor League career numbers, it was the first professional multi-homer game for the Yankees' 2013 first-rounder, after he slugged 17 long balls between Class A Charleston and Class A Advanced Tampa this past summer.
He also reached base safely in each of his five games last week, going 6-for-14 (.429) with an astounding seven walks and only one strikeout. His .857 on-base percentage was tops in the league last week as were his home run, walk and runs scored (six) totals.
After going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk Monday, Judge has a .310/.431/.569 line with four home runs, 14 RBIs, 12 walks and 11 strikeouts in 16 games with Scottsdale. His four homers are tied for second-most in the circuit while his 1.000 OPS pits him fifth in the category. Overall, his AFL stats compare nicely to the ones he put up in the South Atlantic and Florida State Leagues (.308/.419/.486, 17 homers, 131-to-89 K/BB) during his first full season in the Yankees system.
Schultz picked up his award for his impressive Halloween start for Peoria against Surprise. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out seven and allowed one run on three hits and two walks over five frames. After starting the autumn 0-3 in his first three AFL starts, he picked up his first win in the Javelinas' 8-3 victory.
As of Tuesday, Schultz leads the AFL with 23 strikeouts through five starts (18 2/3 innings). He's 1-3 with a 6.27 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in that span.
The Rays' 2013 14th-rounder was sent to the AFL after an appendectomy and other injuries limited him to only 60 innings between Class A Advanced Charlotte and Class A Bowling Green this season. He went 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 70 strikeouts (10.5 K/9) between those two stops.
Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com.