Aaron Judge, Juan Soto already chasing Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig for MLB’s best duo ever

If it seems like there’s never been a 1-2 punch like Juan Soto and Aaron Judge, that’s because at the pace they’re at, an argument could be made that there never has been.

Heading into Wednesday’s game against the Twins, Judge was on pace for a WAR of 11.0 and Soto 9.1, according to baseballreference.com.

The combined 20.1 bWAR would be higher than any offensive duo since the regular season went from 154 games to 162 in 1961.

Aaron Judge watches a two-run double against the Twins on Tuesday. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

And speaking of that 1961 season, Mickey Mantle had a bWAR of 10.5 and Roger Maris came in at 6.9 for a combined (17.4).

“It’s a show,” Anthony Rizzo said of watching Soto and Judge hitting back-to-back every day. “It’s fun to be a part of. You’ve got to be appreciative to be a part of something like this. It’s something people haven’t seen much of, if at all, in this league.”

The show got excellent advance reviews when the Yankees traded for Soto from San Diego in December and everyone from fans to Aaron Boone began imagining how Soto and Judge might feed off each other.

“I guess, in a way, this was what I pictured and fantasized about since it happened and I started writing out lineups,’’ Boone said. “Knowing what they were capable of back-to-back. I would say it’s gone very well. In a lot of ways, it is what I envisioned. But it’s baseball and you never know.”

Now we know.

Judge has the highest OPS in the majors (1.084 going into Wednesday), while Soto is second at 1.027. And Judge has more homers than anyone in the sport (21), with Soto tied for fourth at 17.

Perhaps the best comparison, at least at this point in the season, is the best pair of power hitters in Yankees — and maybe baseball — history.

In 1927, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig came in at a bWAR of 24.4 (Ruth 12.6 and Gehrig 11.8) and in 1930, they finished at 20.1 (Ruth 10.5) and Gehrig 9.6.

When it comes to two teammates that have been measured to have been as effective as Judge and Soto, you have to go back to a pair of pitcher/hitter combos.

The 1985 Mets had Dwight Gooden (13.3) and Gary Carter (6.9) for a combined 20.2, and the 1965 Giants, who had Willie Mays (11.2) and Juan Marichal (10.5) for 21.7.

Looking for more of a historical perspective than one can find in the Yankee clubhouse, Jim Hendry, special assistant to Brian Cashman, has worked in the majors since the early 1990s.

“Before you go too far in history, you have to see how it finishes out,” Hendry said. “But the first two or three months have been spectacular, right up there with every combination that ever played the game.”

Juan Soto and Aaron Judge are becoming a historic duo. Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Should Judge and Soto keep up their rates, they would both set career-highs in bWAR and Hendry said that’s no coincidence.

“Sometimes all it takes is one more guy of elite quality to affect the whole lineup,” Hendry said. “And Soto hitting from the other side of the plate as Judge makes it impossible for pitchers to work around. It’s hard to game-plan for.’’

Even Giancarlo Stanton said he was in “awe” of what the two have done.

“It’s been how long since two guys have put up numbers like this?” Stanton said.

In 1927, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig came in at a bWAR of 24.4 (Ruth 12.6 and Gehrig 11.8). Babe Ruth Museum, Baltimore

When told the names Judge and Soto were challenging, Stanton said he had his eyes on more.

“Ordinary for them is extraordinary for the rest of us,’’ Stanton said. “And I think of it more of how this could be an eight- or 10-year thing, not just this year.”

That will be up to Soto, his agent Scott Boras, as well as Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner when Soto becomes a free agent following the season.

Juan Soto celebrates with Aaron Judge after hitting a home run against the Giants. Getty Images

“I know we’re here in the moment, but to have it year after year would be insane,” Stanton said. “I did think this is what they could do, but seeing it up close is something. Now, when I’m batting fifth [in the lineup], it’s like I’m batting third. I expect to get up in the first inning because of them.”

And everyone benefits, according to Stanton.

“They see so many pitches and you know the guy is going his hardest when they’re up, because he’s pitching with his life on the line against them,” Stanton said. “These are guys that people make plans to come out to see and we get to witness it every night. It’s cool.”

Leave a Comment