Good Sports - Aaron Judge earns MLB All-Star nod

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Fresno State product is MLB All-Star in rookie season (KFSN)

Linden, California is a long way from the bright lights of New York City. Nearly 2,900 miles. But for one of baseball's brightest young stars, Aaron Judge, his career began in this small California town.

"You know out of high school I just didn't think I was mature enough as a person and as a player getting to professional baseball," said Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge.

Drafted out of high school in the 31st round by the Oakland Athletics in 2010, Judge instead found Fresno State.

"Of course everybody in the country is recruiting him. We had to one of our camps," said Bulldogs head coach Mike Batesole. "It didn't take long for us to say wow. This kid is really, really special."

"After I took BP, hit a couple rounds, I think I threw a couple rounds in a game. I think I threw a couple innings in a game and all of a sudden they offered me a scholarship that day," said Judge.

For the next three years, Aaron racked up the accolades including Freshman All-American honors to being a perennial pick on the 1st team All-WAC list.

"I just remember his love for the game. From the first day he got here you could see he wanted to be a part of a team, work hard and win," said Bulldogs play-by-play announcer Paul Loeffler.

Paving the path to Pinstripes.

"We felt he could be a big success, that's why we drafted him as high as we did," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

The 32nd overall pick to the Yankees in 2013, Judge made his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium on August 13, 2016. A home run in his first big league at-bat proved to be a highlight in a call-up that was cut short by an oblique strain in September.

But Judge bounced back to earn the starting right field position on Opening Day this year. Putting up numbers that landed him a starting outfield spot in the All-Star Game, along with being a contest in the Home Run Derby.

"It's pretty surreal to be honest. I never thought anything like that would in my wildest dreams that would happen," said Judge. "You dream about it as a kid but until it actually happens it's pretty crazy. You can put all the work in the off-season, all the work in spring training but you never know how the year is going to go. You just have to trust the process."

A process that began all those years ago in Linden.

"The whole valley should be proud of the ballplayer he is but more so the person that he is. He's not shy about it, it's family, faith and then baseball and the longer he keeps those priorities that way, I think the longer we are all going to be talking about him and saying 'Yeah hope our boys to grow up to just like that guy,'" said Loeffler.

A hometown hero excelling on baseball's biggest stage.
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