Former Yankees scout Tim McIntosh was wrong about Aaron Judge

Tim McIntosh was Derek Jeter’s teammate and Mariano Rivera’s roommate, so he had a deep understanding of what greatness looked like when he saw Aaron Judge play high school ball for the first time, as Yankees explorer.

And this is what Macintosh found out of the way for a mountain hitter from small Linden, California:

There was nothing,” Macintosh told The Post.

Nothing should interest a big club.

Some other Scouts felt the same way. One Giant told Macintosh that the judge was “the only guy who, when he hits the ball back in the [batting practice] Screen, I do not hesitate. Nothing comes off the bat.”

A Red Sox Scout who had jumped on a plane to see the kid playing with the Linden High Lions turned to McIntosh during a game and said, “Are you kidding me? They’re flying my ass here, and [Judge] I can’t even play dead.”

These criticisms only confirm what Macintosh saw with his own eyes. He actually lived a great baseball life as a third-round pick of the Twins in 1986, a former Cape Cod League batting champion (.392) and as a catcher/player/first player to play for three major league teams over five seasons, including a short stay With the 1996 Yankees, the team that launched the Jeter/Rivera dynasty.

And George [Steinbrenner] “You got me out of the world championship ring,” Macintosh said. Four years later, the Steinbrenner family company compensated him by appointing him as a Yankees scout.

Yankee hunter Tim McIntosh during training at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida in the 1990s.
Yankee hunter Tim McIntosh during training at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida in the 1990s.
Charles Wenselberg/New York Post

By the time he saw a teen judge, Macintosh had quit baseball and became a winery owner before returning to Yankee first as a minor league coach and then as an amateur scout in Northern California. He knew his way around the area’s cherry plantations before hearing about Judge through family ties – McIntosh’s then-wife was a television personality growing up in Linden. His cousin had coached Judge in basketball and stated that he was a good kid but a bit “soft,” about the worst adjective that could be applied to an athlete.

McIntosh lived 10 minutes from Linden, so Judge’s intimidating gear didn’t stop him from attending five or six of his games. The scout admitted that he only covered his butt because of the judge’s size – the prospect was on his way to becoming the full-formed 6-foot-7, 282-pound Yankee he is today. Macintosh even teased national trans-national auditor, Kendall Carter, to take a look at the judge as a favourite.


Everything you need to know about Aaron Judge and his chase for the home race record:


Carter didn’t like what he saw either, but he made a fateful decision when he told the scouts, “Write it down. It’s rude, but it’s so big that anything can happen. I’ve seen crazier things happen.”

So Macintosh wrote the first Yankees report on Aaron James Judge. The scout doesn’t remember exactly what he said, but he thinks he mentioned the judge’s need to get stronger in college. Although Macintosh said the judge was fast for his size, he wasn’t impressed with his arm. “When he was erecting, there was nothing coming out of there,” the scout said.

So Macintosh’s final role in drafting Judge (as the 32nd overall pick in 2013) hardly compares to Dick Grosch’s role in drafting Jeter (as the sixth overall pick in 1992); Grosch famously fell in love with a Michigan high school student and predicted that he would become a Hall of Famer. But still, if Macintosh didn’t “trick Kendall Carter into going to see the judge” (his words), and didn’t file that report, who knows what would happen?

“Those were the first data points,” Macintosh said. “I put it in the system in case something crazy happened. Then something crazy happened.”

The judge dismissed the Oakland A-team, who had drafted him in the 31st round in 2010, and attended Fresno State, where he blossomed into a major Division I force. During Judge’s sophomore season, Fresno State coach Mike Battisol told McIntosh that he’d never had a player carry his team on his shoulders as former Lyndon Lyon did.

Aaron Judge of Fresno State hits a home run during the 2012 College Home Run Derby.
Aaron Judge hits a home run during the 2012 College Home Run derby, which he won.
AP / Green Room Studios

A stunned scout watched the judge hit a leading line in the middle that could have killed someone. “Oh my God,” said Macintosh to himself. “Where did this come from?” He was going to take an exploratory job with the Angels before the Yankees drafted the judge in the first round.

“Even in the smaller leagues, you might hear that the judge was taking a lot of pitches, and that he wasn’t aggressive,” Macintosh recalls. Everyone missed him. But he kept getting better. I saw him with Jeter and Mariano [in ’96] Not everyone can play under the lights of New York. But Aaron was born with a talent to be that calm. I’ve been to that club, which is charming. You want those striped lines on you, and Aaron rose to the occasion.”

While the judge Busy matching Babe Ruth’s iconic 60-house season On Tuesday night, trying to reconcile Roger Maris’ season of 61 Homer with his Wednesday night pass, the first Yankees scout was busy selling homes near his hometown of Minneapolis. The pandemic and sports focus on analytics conspired to send him to a real estate job he loves.

Tim Macintosh still misses the game and misses the lines. Meanwhile, he’s so proud of Aaron Judge, and so glad he got it wrong about him.