Projecting the Yankees’ starting outfield for the 2022 season

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
May 5, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) looks on with New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) against the Cleveland Indians during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a busy off-season ahead trying to solve multiple positions on the roster. The outfield remains a big question for general manager Brian Cashman, who could look to add support after the departures of Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade, and Brett Gardner.

The expected return of Aaron Hicks plays a significant part in the Yankees’ plans, but his struggles with injury have dampened the optimism regarding his production.

Luckily, the return of Giancarlo Stanton as an outfielder provides a bit more support, but can the Yankees use him legitimately as an everyday option given his inconsistencies as well?

Projecting the Yankees’ starting outfield for the 2022 season:

RF: Joey Gallo

After acquiring Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline last year, he is currently penciled in as the primary right fielder moving forward. With one year left on his deal, the Yankees will likely stick with him unless they can find a way to unload his contract.

Gallo finished the 2021 season hitting .160 with 13 homers and 22 RBIs with the Bombers. The Yankees were hoping to get a far better version of Gallo, but he’s never been one to hit for average, touching 40 homers twice in his career with averages just above .200.

As a defender, Gallo has won two gold gloves, including one in 2021. He posted a .972 fielding percentage with the Yankees, mostly in left field. He performed better in right field over a smaller sample size, but the Yankees needed him to make the shift with a lack of talent and Aaron Judge holding down RF.

CF: Aaron Judge

Judge had one of his best seasons last year, hitting .287 with 39 homers and 98 RBIs. He ranked 4th in MVP voting, reached the All-Star game, and won a silver slugger award. Defensively, Judge played 158 spotless innings in centerfield but has mainly featured in right field during his career. Given the acquisition of Gallo, if Judge can successfully make the transition to center, his value becomes that much more important to the team’s future.

Judge was clear that he would love to stay with a Yankees on an extension but opened up the possibility of departing in the future if the two sides can’t find a middle ground.

LF: Giancarlo Stanton

One of the more polarizing players for the Yankees the past few seasons has been Giancarlo Stanton. The 6’6″, 245-pound outfielder featured predominantly as the team’s designated hitter last year at 31 years old.

Stanton featured in 108 games as the DH, spending 26 in the outfield with a .980 fielding percentage and 4.0 total fielding runs above average. The return of Stanton as an outfielder and defensive player was exciting for the Yankees, and I expect him to feature in that role moving forward, considering his massive salary.

Unless any unforeseen injuries pop up, Stanton should be penciled in as the starting left-fielder.