Projecting the Yankees’ batting order on Opening Day

yankees, anthony volpe
Mar 12, 2023; Fort Myers, Florida, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe (77) homers against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning during spring training at JetBlue Park at Fenway South. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have some difficult decisions ahead of Opening Day regarding their batting order, especially after a few stellar spring performances. Of course, we know that Anthony Volpe will be the team’s starting shortstop, beating out Oswald Peraza for the job, but he’s expected to feature at the bottom of the order.

A few more difficult choices revolve around Oswaldo Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, and DJ LeMahieu. Of course, they will all get regular reps, but their defensive role will also impact how the lineup is constructed.

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Projecting the Yankees’ starting batting order:

  • 2B: DJ LeMahieu

For now, DJ LeMahieu projects to be the team’s lead-off man. Eventually, Anthony Volpe will take over that job, but LeMahieu hit .261 with a .357 OBP last season despite struggling toward the end due to a toe injury. LeMahieu has looked fantastic this spring, hitting .371 with a .421 OBP, including 13 hits and five RBIs across 35 at-bats. He’s ready to take on the regular season and is showing full health at 34 years old.

  • CF: Aaron Judge

Of course, the reigning MVP will feature in the two-slot for the Yankees. All the headlines have revolved around Volpe and the top prospects on the team, but Judge has had an equally stellar spring, hitting .368 with a .467 OBP across 38 at-bats. The 30-year-old is primed for another big season, coming off a historic offensive campaign, landing a nine-year, $360 million extension.

  • 1B: Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo has been dealing with a back injury for quite a while, and it has popped up again this spring, hurting his efficiency. However, Rizzo is an experienced veteran, and the Yankees aren’t worried about him at 33 years old. He signed a two-year, $40 million extension this off-season with a Club option in 2025. He hit .216 with a .250 OBP in ST, but expect his numbers to turn around after the MLB banned the shift, which should open up a few more gaps for him to exploit.

  • RF: Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton has had an up-and-down spring performance but has gotten hot toward the end. He’s hitting .238 with a .273 OBP, but he’s tallied nine hits in his last 11 games, starting to show signs of life. Stanton is the team’s cleanup hitter and will remain there unless he’s forced to miss any time due to injury.

  • 3B: Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson has bounced back with a new batting stance, providing better results over the past few days. After a slow start, Donaldson ended up hitting .222 with a .333 OBP. However, he’s posted three hits in his last three games, including three homers and six RBIs, with two walks to boot. Defensively, Donaldson is coming off a Gold Glove-caliber season and should see slight increases in production if all goes well.

  • DH: Gleyber Torres

Gleyber Torres will start as the team’s DH this time around, allowing DJ LeMahieu to play second base and Stanton to feature in right field until Harrison Bader returns and Judge can move back to his regular position. Torres spent most of spring training with Team Venezuela in the WBC, so he’s in baseball shape and ready to perform. Torres is coming off a bounce-back season, and his projections estimate he will compound his success from 2022.

  • LF: Oswaldo Cabrera

The Yankees simply can’t leave Oswaldo Cabrera out of the lineup after his stellar spring. He hit .333 with a .382 OBP, collecting 17 hits, four homers, and 13 RBIs across 51 at-bats. Even though Aaron Hicks is still in the mix, Cabrera has done more than enough to justify winning a starting job.

  • C: Jose Treviño

Jose Treviño is coming off his best offensive season as a professional, but he’s mainly known for his defense, which is well-regarded. This spring, Treviño hit .320 with a .393 OBP, so he’s no slouch when on his game. However, there’s a reason he hits toward the bottom of the order, but if he can match his 2022 stats, the Yankees will be content.

  • SS: Anthony Volpe

Just as Derek Jeter did way back in 1996, Anthony Volpe will feature as the team’s nine-hitter on Opening Day. Volpe had an electric spring performance, hitting .314 with a .417 OBP across 51 at-bats. The No. 1 prospect didn’t just show fantastic qualities in the batter’s box, he ran the bases with intelligence and played stellar defense to win the job. He might be starting at the bottom of the order, but he is the eventual lead-off hitter for the Bombers, and he’s just getting his feet wet to start his MLB career.