Sheesh. It’s been exactly one game since our last update on Aaron Judge’s pursuit of hitting 60, 61, and 62 home runs. At that point, Judge seemed more likely than not to eclipse Roger Maris‘ 61-homer mark, though only marginally. But after two home runs last night against the Red Sox, the pace is heating up again. Now, my simulation model thinks Judge is extremely likely to surpass Maris:
If that feels like a huge jump in odds to you, you’re in good company. If you think about it for a bit, though, it’s not so crazy. Judge has played 138 games this year and hit 57 homers. That’s a pace of less than half a home run per game, and still wildly impressive. Two in one game is always unlikely, though; it’s Judge’s 10th time doing it this year, for example. The finish line is getting close now; with 20 games to accrue five homers, one more barrage could put him over the top.
Accordingly, the series most likely to produce some milestones is moving around as well. If you’re a big fan of round numbers, head to New York. There’s an aggregate 45% chance he’ll hit 60 during the next Yankees homestand, and that’s assuming he gets a rest day in one of those six contests. There’s even a decent chance he hits number 60 before then, in the friendly home run confines of Milwaukee:
If you want to see number 61, there’s a near-tie between two series: the Boston series from September 22-25 and the Toronto series from September 26-28:
Again, these numbers are subject to fluctuations based on rest days and what happens in the next few games. If Judge hits another homer tonight, or goes on a tear in Milwaukee, everything shifts forward. If he briefly cools off, some later series stand a higher chance of seeing a milestone. That Toronto series appears to be in the sweet spot, though; it’s had the best odds of seeing milestone homers every time I’ve run this simulation.
Finally, if you want to see Judge become the first American League player to hit 62, you guessed it, it’s time to pack your bags and passport and head to Toronto:
The combination of just the right number of games before the series, a park that’s conducive to righty power, and a home-prone pitching staff continues to make the North the place to be for number 62. The Yankees’ subsequent series, at home against the Orioles, also looks like a pretty good bet. And reaching 62 is now more likely than it was a week ago, which means your odds of seeing something memorable are higher at basically any Yankees game you attend.
Finally, I added a line in the script just for fun. In 13% of my simulations, Judge hit at least 67 home runs, shattering the AL mark and getting within striking distance of the heady Barry Bonds/Mark McGwire peak. In 1.5%, he hit 70 or more. Those odds are so long that they’re hardly worth thinking about at the moment. A few more games like yesterday, though, and this milestone counter might become an entirely different kind of article.
Ben is a writer at FanGraphs. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.
Ben, thanks for continuing to update us on this! I am literally using them as you frame them–to figure out if I can get to see Judge on the right series.
Which number matters most to you to see? Wouldnt the Texas series be the most likely to see his last HR of the year?
I’d be most excited for 62. Definitely 62.