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Aaron Judge sets postseason series record for strikeouts

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has done some good for the Yankees this postseason, including hitting a home run and robbing a home run, but what he’s done a lot of is strike out. Entering Wednesday’s ALDS Game 5 against the Indians, Judge had struck out 12 times in 19 plate appearances. That’s a 63 percent K-rate, which eclipsed his 30.7 percent regular season K-rate.

Judge struck out two more times in his first two at-bats against Indians starter Corey Kluber in Game 5, running his ALDS total up to 14. In doing so, he set a record for the most strikeouts by one player in a single postseason series, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

As mentioned earlier, Judge isn’t the only one striking out a lot, but he does lead the way as the only player this postseason with multiple four-strikeout games (he has two).

The Yankees currently lead Game 5 3-0 after four innings, so they look poised to advance to the ALCS even without Judge performing at peak levels.

Update: Judge struck out again in the fifth inning against Andrew Miller. That’s 15 strikeouts in 22 plate appearances in the ALDS. He’s one strikeout away from another golden sombrero.

Update #2: Judge struck out looking in the seventh, giving him his third golden sombrero this postseason. He’s the only player since 1903 with three four-strikeout games in a single postseason, per baseball Reference. Judge is also now up to 16 strikeouts in 23 ALDS plate appearances.

Padres will try to lock up Fernando Tatís Jr. to a long term deal

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The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will try to get Fernando Tatís Jr. locked up in a long-term deal before the start of the 2020 season.

It’d be a wise move from the team’s perspective, of course. Tatís showed in 2019 that he’s the future of the franchise, hitting .317/.379/.590 with 22 homers and 16 stolen bases through 84 games while playing spectacular defense at short. He was a serious contender for the Rookie of the Year Award before going down to injury and still finished third despite playing just a tad over half a season.

That talent and promise means that, in all likelihood, Tatís stands to make massive money in arbitration and free agency once he gets there. If he gets there, that is. Because as we’ve seen so often in recent years, teams have been aggressive in their efforts to lock up young stars like Tatís, buying out their arbitration and at least a couple of their free agency years. These deals tend to be team-friendly, with multiple team options aimed at getting maximal value out of such players before they hit the open market. Of course, the players get much more up front money than they would in the three seasons in which teams can and do set their salaries unilaterally, usually at less than $1 million per year. It’s a standard now vs. later tradeoff, even if the value of the “now” is far less than the value of “later” and even if it pays these guys far less than they’re worth overall.

But that’s the system. And it’s one which will force Tatís to make a tough choice: either take a deal at a time when the team has most of the leverage or else turn down millions in hand now in order take a shot at many more millions later. In his case, he’ll have a rookie season with multiple injuries to think about too. Does that portend future injury issues? Could he, like some players who have been in his shoes before, end up damaged goods by the time he expected to get paid?

We’ll see how both he and the Padres calculate all of that between now and February, it seems.