Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees’ 25-year-old wunderkind, hit his major-league-leading 24th home run of the season on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels, giving him a chance to break the rookie record for home runs, 49, set by Mark McGwire in 1987.

It also gives Judge a puncher’s chance at hitting 60 or more home runs, which hasn’t been done since Barry Bonds set the major league record with 73 home runs in 2001.

Entering Wednesday’s games, Judge is on pace to hit 30 to 31 home runs by the all-star break. Of the eight times in MLB history a player hit at least 60 home runs in a season, three had less than that in the first half of the season.

Player Year First half Second half Total HR
Barry Bonds 2001 39 34 73
Mark McGwire 1998 37 33 70
Roger Maris 1961 33 28 61
Sammy Sosa 1998 33 33 66
Sammy Sosa 1999 32 31 63
Aaron Judge 2017 30 (proj) ?? ??
Babe Ruth 1927 29 31 60
Sammy Sosa 2001 29 35 64
Mark McGwire 1999 28 37 65

But as the weather warms up, balls can start flying farther. In May 2016, the average flyball traveled 319 feet, which increased to 321 feet in July and August. That effect could be exaggerated this season after research showed the air resistance of baseballs used in major league games “might have decreased,” leading to higher home-run-per-fly-ball rates. Entering Wednesday’s games, Judge is batting .333 with 41.4 percent of fly balls leaving the stadium, the highest by far in the majors this season.

After Tuesday night’s game, Judge is on pace to hit 58 home runs. ZiPS and Steamer projections are less optimistic, giving Judge end-of-season totals of 45 and 44 home runs, respectively. But those estimates are largely based on Judge’s previous MLB performance, which is almost nonexistent. Judge had 95 plate appearances in the majors before 2017 and was projected to hit .238 with 21 total home runs this season. He hit his 21st home run on June 11 and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Average Distance (ft.) Average exit velocity (mph) Average bat speed (mph)
Aaron Judge 409 110.6 79.5
MLB average 401 103.5 72.9

If we use the pessimistic projections for the rest of the season, .258 average with 20 home runs in 80 games, Judge has a good chance to break McGwire’s rookie home run record (35.5 percent) with slim odds (300 to 1) at 60 or more home runs. If he continues on his current pace, those chances at a 60 home run season increase to 10.7 percent (9 to 1).

Anything’s possible,’’ Judge told Steven Marcus of Newsday when asked about the prospect of hitting 60 or more home runs. “I’m hitting the ball well right now. It’s all about just staying even keel. I’m really just coming out here, making adjustments, getting comfortable with the league, just trying to be consistent.’’