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The decision to choose baseball was partly a big picture calculation that weighed factors such as length of career, long term health and guaranteed contracts all areas where baseball stands above football as a profession. But those factors, Judge said, were secondary to what his heart was telling him: “I saw myself as a baseball player,” he said. After passing up a chance to sign with the Oakland A’s coming out of high school, after they drafted him in the 31st round in 2010, he was picked in the supplemental first round (32nd overall) by the Yankees in 2013 and signed for a bonus of $1.8 million.

But practically everyone who has come in contact with Judge, from his high school days through his professional career, raves about his “makeup”: the combination of intellect, humility and drive that has allowed him to make the series of adjustments necessary to become the player he is in 2017. Last year, for example, he whiffed on 18.1 percent of his swings, double the league average, but this year he has reduced that rate to 12.2 percent still on the high side, but more than acceptable for someone with his power. In 2016, he chased at 33.6 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone; in 2017, only 25.3 percent.
polo dress but was always a baseball player at heart