This is what the Yankees lineup looks like for 2024

With less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, Florida, the Yankees are starting to show some clues as to what their lineup could look like in 2024, especially around Aaron Judge.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he planned to use Judge third in the offensive order, batting after Juan José Soto and playing center field most of the time.

“I think about it all the time,” Boone confessed during the Foul Territory podcast. “Right now, I probably see Juan hitting second and Judge hitting third. … I think you start with the idea of ​​hitting Judge and Soto about 150 times back-to-back this year “

Boone said the leadoff hitter has not yet been determined, although he mentioned DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Alex Verdugo among the possibilities.

But it seems the strategists are determined to put Judge behind Soto in the order, given that the Dominican is leading the majors with 132 walks in 2023 with the Padres. Soto’s .410 on-base percentage was third best in the majors, behind only Venezuela’s. Ronald Acuña Jr. (.416) and Shohei Ohtani (.412).

“First of all, you start with the pillars,” Boone said. “I see Aaron and Soto batting back-to-back, one batting second and the other batting third. I’m not sure yet. “It may depend on who is in first place to determine who is in fourth place.”

“I think one of the most exciting things about the potential of our lineup this year is the balance that we will have up front with four or five lefties. “You can alternate things.”

Soto recently said he would be willing to take any job in the order placed by Boone and is confident the Yankees know where he would be the best fit.

“Wherever they need me, I have to be ready,” Soto said. “In any situation in command, they want me to defend. I have to be ready for them. I am ready for anything. “We’ll definitely talk about it when I get to Tampa for practice.”

Defensively, Judge expects Verdugo and Soto to be the starting center fielders on the corners on Opening Day. Trent Grisham, who projects as the club’s fourth outfielder, has won two Gold Gloves and can often find himself defending one of the fields at the end of a game.

Verdugo is considered a better cornerback defender, so he will likely spend most of his time in left field, especially at Yankee Stadium. However, with the Yankees visiting the Astros at Minute Maid Park for Opening Day, Soto may appear as the starting left fielder, with Verdugo patrolling the more expansive right field.

Judge was selected as a center fielder in the amateur draft, and has said that he has “the best view in the stadium” in that position. He has played 120 major league games at that position, including 112 starts.

During his American League MVP season in 2022, Judge played more center field (78) than right field (73), although he held that position for only 18 games in 2023.

Boone indicated that center field will be Judge’s primary position this year, at least until Jason Dominguez returns from Tommy John surgery over the summer.

“I plan on Judge spending a lot of time in center field,” Boone said. “He is preparing for it right now. The only thing is that when they used him in center field, I had him as a designated hitter more often. If he plays center most days, especially now with Trent Grisham on the roster, an elite defender who adds more balance – then obviously he will have his time. You can use Judge as a DH sometimes.”

“I’ve also talked to Judge about playing a little left field for a few days when he wants to put Grisham there, and he’s willing to do that.”

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