Did you see Brewers pitcher Luis Perdomo’s reaction to giving up Aaron Judge’s 59th home run of the season?
Perdomo made the ultimate mistake.
First off, he threw Judge a slider.
Per FanGraphs’ pitch values, which have been tracked for the last 20 seasons (using our pitch data), no hitter has had quite a season against sliders like Judge in 2022. He’s hitting .315 and slugging .723 with 15 home runs in at-bats ending against them this season.
MLB hitters are batting .215 and slugging .359 when an at-bat ends with a slider this season. Judge’s batting average is 100 points higher than average. His slugging percentage is more than double it.
Judge has tripled his home run total against sliders from last season in roughly the same number of sliders faced. He hit .320/.580 against sliders in 2018 but managed only 6 home runs against them.
Secondly for Perdomo, the pitch hung and ended up about as “middle-middle” as you can get.
Judge has 10 home runs in at-bats ending with middle-middle pitches this season. So does Mookie Betts, who is having a terrific season. But Judge is hitting .477 (21-for-44) on pitches thrown to that area. Betts is at .333 (20-for-60).
MLB batters are hitting .325 and slugging .596 when at-bats end versus those pitches in 2022. They average a home run every 41 middle-middle pitches. Judge is averaging one every 14 pitches. He’s basically homering at three times the rate of anyone else against them.
And that’s the story here.
Judge is on a Triple Crown pace and on track to break Roger Maris’ AL home run record both because he can hit the pitches that very few batters can hit well (admittedly he got an easier one to handle in this instance) and hit the pitches that everyone can hit well, but at an otherworldly level.