Projecting the Yankees’ starting outfield for the 2022 season

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees are heading into the 2022 season with a solid group of outfielders, despite losing Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade this off-season. There’s a chance that veteran OF Brett Gardner makes a return, as he usually does at the end of the off-season, but the team should be in a good place if he elects to retire.

The projected outfield has plenty of depth and quality starters, but management does have to make an interesting decision in left field with Giancarlo Stanton.

Yankees projected starting outfield for the 2022 season:

RF: Aaron Judge

Judge spent 158 innings last year in centerfield, but the star slugger will likely start the 2022 season in his natural position in right field. With over 4,000 innings of experience and a .987 fielding percentage, Judge features one of the best arms in all of baseball in the outfield. Aside from his defensive prowess, Judge is also an elite offensive player, hitting .287 last year with 39 homers and 98 RBIs. His strikeout rate at 25% was the lowest of his five-year career since 2017.



The major question is, where will the Yankees feature Giancarlo Stanton?

There is a possibility that Judge features in center-field over Aaron Hicks, which would allow Stanton to take over in LF or RF. However, management may want to maintain Stanton’s help at all costs, making him their everyday designated hitter.

CF: Aaron Hicks

With Aaron Hicks making a return from injury after being shut down with a wrist issue last year, he projects to be the starting center-fielder come April 7. Hicks played in just 32 games last year before heading to the injured list, hitting .194 with four homers and 14 RBIs. In fact, Hicks hasn’t played in more than 59 games the past three years consecutively, so having depth is essential for the Yankees.

Nonetheless, Hicks has the most experience in center, featuring over 4,800 innings of play. His .993 fielding percentage is also stellar, so the Yankees can feel confident about their defensive production in CF. When it comes to Hicks, though, it boils down to health, meaning the Yankees have to have a contingency plan in place.

LF: Joey Gallo

Joey Gallo has experience playing left and right field, but since Aaron Judge is projected to sign a massive extension in the coming weeks, he is shifted over to the left side so Judge can retain his normal position. Gallo has 1,583 innings of experience in LF, recording a .983 fielding percentage. He is a multi-time Gold Glove winner, coming off a disappointing campaign in 2021, despite making the All-Star game.

During the first portion of the year, he recorded 25 homers and a .223 average, but his efficiency dropped off significantly when he joined the Yankees at the deadline. He hit just .160 with 13 homers during the last 58 games of the season wearing pinstripes,  but the Yankees see him playing a significant role moving forward, and he will fill the left-field spot effortlessly.