Central Valley Native a Stand Out Player for New York Yankees

OAKLAND -- All rise because Aaron Judge of the Yankees has been holding court since the baseball season began back in April.

"Fun to watch," said Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.

"We've always said, if he puts the barrel on the ball, good things are going to happen with this kid," said Yankees Manager Joe Giardi.

And they certainly have.

The 6-foot-7-inch Judge is at, or near, the top of most offensive categories. And he's the leading vote-getter for the upcoming all-star game. His burst onto the big league scene has even made Judge take a step back.

"Surprising? Yeah, you just never know how the year is going to turn out for you. You just got to trust the process and hopefully there will be more good times than bad times," Judge said.

Mission accomplished so far for Judge, who seemingly has taken it all in stride -- playing in New York City at Yankee Stadium.

"It's different. It's a change, but I enjoy it. I've got to just embrace it and take the good with the bad. But I'm enjoying it all so far," Judge said.

So, it's a bit hard to imagine that Judge made the transition from the small, Central Valley town just east of Stockton -- Linden, California. Population just under 1,800.

"That was the cool thing about growing up there is, I knew everybody. Everybody is my friend, and everyone is looking out for each other. No better place to grow up," Judge said.

In comparison, Yankee Stadium holds 50,000 fans per game. And Yankee fans can't get enough of the 25-year-old rookie. They've created a rooting section for him, appropriately titled the judge's chambers.

Look at what they're wearing.

"Some of the ones I hear are pretty good. People are pretty creative I think," Judge said.

"Good for the sport, good for the team. Biggest story in baseball? Slightly," Yankees fan Ricky Azevedo said.

So, what does one of the all-time greats of the game think about Judge?

"You just let him roll, sit back or stand back and enjoy what he's doing. You don't really have to say too much to him because you can see that he has command of the batter's box. So, you sit there and enjoy it. I enjoy it," Jackson said.

Judge was drafted out of high school by the Oakland A's. He opted for college instead at Fresno State, and then the Yankees drafted him in 2013.