The Yankees’ batting order just got blended

MLB: New York Yankees at San Diego Padres
Credit: David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports

Despite having power hitters like Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, the New York Yankees‘ lineup has faced significant setbacks in recent weeks, with veteran Giancarlo Stanton’s recent injury exacerbating the situation. On Saturday, Stanton had to withdraw himself from the game due to discomfort, and by Sunday morning, he was placed on the injured list with a left hamstring injury expected to sideline him for at least two weeks—potentially longer.

The Yankees Will Miss Stanton’s Power

Stanton’s tendency to sustain injuries just as he begins to find his rhythm has been a recurring issue, halting his progress and leaving the Yankees to fill his spot with less productive options. This development comes at a challenging time for the team, as they now need to compensate for his powerful bat with players who have been underperforming offensively.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees, giancarlo stanton
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Adjustments to the Batting Order

The injury has led to adjustments in the batting lineup, with Trent Grisham expected to see more playtime despite his low .113 batting average and 71 wRC+ for the season. With the designated hitter spot now vacant, the Yankees are considering rotating Judge and Soto to maintain their health while maximizing Grisham’s defensive contributions.

However, the bottom half of the order continues to struggle. DJ LeMahieu, returning from a right foot injury, is hitting just .194 with a .292 on-base percentage over 20 games. Rookie Ben Rice, though only having played five games, has shown potential by walking at a 16.7% rate and coming through with key RBIs despite a .214 batting average.

Potential Lineup Changes

In Stanton’s absence, Grisham is showing signs of increasing power, potentially moving up to the cleanup spot or batting fifth. More likely, Alex Verdugo will bat cleanup with Grisham in the fifth slot, followed by Rice and Gleyber Torres. Despite Oswaldo Cabrera’s two hits and two RBIs on Saturday, his inconsistency remains a concern, with prolonged periods of low productivity.

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

General Manager Brian Cashman faces pressure to bolster the infield as DJ LeMahieu’s recovery and Anthony Rizzo’s return to form remain hopeful but uncertain. Jon Berti would have been a preferable option, but he is on the 60-day injured list with a rehab assignment a few weeks away. The urgency for additional support is critical as the Yankees aim to enter the All-Star break with a solid lead in the AL East.

Currently, the Yankees hold a 1.5-game lead over the Orioles, with a +111 run differential. However, recent performances from the pitching staff and bullpen have been concerning. In Saturday’s game, Marcus Stroman gave up three earned runs over 6.2 innings, showing a marked improvement over the dismal outings from Luis Gil and Carlos Rodon in previous games.

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