The Yankees’ batting order is about to look a lot different without Juan Soto

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees, ben rice
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees breathed a sigh of relief as x-rays on Juan Soto’s right hand came back negative after he was scratched from Saturday’s lineup just 20 minutes before the first pitch. While Soto narrowly avoided a serious injury, the Yankees anticipate a brief recovery period before his return to the lineup.

The Yankees Now Have to Supplement Soto’s Loss

In Soto’s absence, the Yankees made the optimistic decision to elevate rookie first baseman Ben Rice to the number two spot in the batting order. Rice managed to deliver two hits in Saturday’s game despite the team suffering a 9–3 loss to Toronto. Losing Soto, who is hitting .302/.434/.570 this season, with impressive power and plate discipline, represents a significant setback for the team’s offensive production.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, ben rice
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Impact of Soto’s Absence on Team Performance

With Soto sidelined, the Yankees face a challenging period, especially given Aaron Judge’s solo efforts in an MVP-caliber season. The pitching staff’s lack of support and struggle with consistency further exacerbate the situation.

Adjustments in the Outfield and Other Batting Concerns

In the interim, 27-year-old Trent Grisham is expected to see increased playtime in the outfield. Grisham, who has underperformed with a batting average of just .137 and an 81 wRC+ this season, has shown some power but lacks consistency due to his sporadic playing time.

Alongside him, Gleyber Torres is showing signs of resurgence, notably after Marcus Stroman ripped him apart following a botched double-play, boosting his performance at the plate.

Jun 9, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Trent Grisham (12) tosses his bat after hitting a three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Urgency for Reinforcements and Strategy Adjustments

As the trade deadline approaches, General Manager Brian Cashman may need to explore additional roster options to bolster the lineup, especially in light of Giancarlo Stanton’s absence and the reliance on less experienced players like Oswaldo Cabrera. Cabrera, despite being the primary starter recently, has also struggled, highlighting the vulnerabilities in the lower half of the batting order — he combined with Grisham for five strikeouts on Saturday.

Looking Ahead: Immediate Focus and Future Games

The Yankees hope Soto will recover quickly and return to the lineup. Meanwhile, the team must capitalize on upcoming matchups, including a series finale against Toronto on Sunday, with Gerrit Cole on the mound facing Kevin Gausman. Despite early-season struggles from both pitchers, this matchup presents an opportunity for the Yankees to regain momentum and secure a momentum-changing win.

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