The biggest drama of the 2022 offseason turned out to not be that much of a surprise: American League MVP Aaron Judge agreed to stay in New York with the Yankees, the only team he's known since he was drafted in 2013. Judge's meteoric rise from first-round pick out of
The biggest drama of the 2022 offseason turned out to not be that much of a surprise: American League MVP Aaron Judge agreed to stay in New York with the Yankees, the only team he's known since he was drafted in 2013. Judge's meteoric rise from first-round pick out of Fresno State to his American League-record 62-homer season in 2022 helped earn him a massive nine-year, $360 million contract that gives him another impressive title: the highest-paid position player of all time.
Yankees fans could have only dreamed of that scenario when Judge took the field in April 2014 with the Class A Charleston RiverDogs, the Bronx Bombers' South Atlantic League affiliate that season. Judge wore No. 35 after debuting in Spring Training with No. 80 on his back. His number changed a few times over the course of his development -- he wore No. 49 with the Tampa Yankees, slid over to No. 47 in the Arizona Fall League and then No. 55 with Double-A Trenton before suiting up in his familiar No. 99 by the time he reached Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Take a look back at the journey that began in the spring of 2014:
Aaron Judge dons No. 80 for the spring at the Yanks' Minor League Complex on March 20, 2014.
Judge soaks in his first week in the Minors with Charleston on April 17, 2014 against Rome.
Judges watches from the dugout on May 1, 2014 as Charleston takes on Augusta.
The Charleston outfielder, batting vs. Lakewood here, wore No. 35 his first season.
Judge plates two for the South squad in the 2014 Sally League All-Star Game on June 17.
The Yankees promoted Judge from Charleston to Class A Advanced Tampa on June 19, 2014.
Judge, seen batting against Bradenton on July 13, 2014, wore No. 59 with the Tampa Yankees.
The outfielder hit .283 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 66 games with Tampa in 2014.
Wearing No. 47, Judge joined Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League after his first Minor League season.
The Yankees bumped Judge to Double-A Trenton to begin 2015. He debuted wearing No. 55.
Judge, seen here in the dugout on April 29, spent about half the season in the Double-A Eastern League in 2015, hitting .284 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs in 63 games.
As after a home win on June 18, 2015, the 6-foot-7 Judge wasn't hard to spot on the field.
Rudy C. Jones/MiLB.com
New York promoted Judge to Triple-A on June 22, 2015 and the outfielder finally suited up in his now-iconic No. 99 for the RailRiders. He's seen here on June 29 at Lehigh Valley.
Judge spent most of 2016 at Triple-A, hitting .270 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 93 games before his big league debut on Aug. 13. On April 8, 2016, he donned an in this unusual RailRiders uniform.
Judge bats at home for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 21, 2016.
Judge returned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on a rehab assignment for a left oblique strain, bringing along fellow outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. The pair posed here on June 15, 2019.
Fans lined up for Judge's autograph during a rehab outing in Durham on June 15, 2019.
Wool E. Bull saluted Judge during the outfielder's visit to Durham on June 15, 2019.
Danny Wild is an editor for MiLB.com.