The Yankees’ offense could reach new heights if $98 million outfielder bounces back

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Adding Juan Soto to the New York Yankees‘ lineup is expected to significantly boost their offense, which was among the least effective in Major League Baseball in 2023. General Manager Brian Cashman has made it clear that bolstering the outfield was a priority, and the acquisition of Soto, along with Alex Verdugo, is anticipated to yield substantial benefits.

Yankees’ Strategic Acquisitions and Contracts

Both Soto and Verdugo are on one-year contracts in their final year of arbitration, raising the possibility that the Yankees could lose them after the 2024 season.

Despite this, their contributions are seen as crucial to the Yankees’ World Series ambitions, especially if the team succeeds in adding another starting pitcher to its roster.

The duo of Aaron Judge and Soto has the potential to lead the offense, but the team’s prospects could be even brighter with an improved performance from 34-year-old slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton experienced the worst season of his professional career in 2023, with a batting average of just .191 and an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .695 across 101 games.

This marked a significant decline from the player the Yankees acquired in 2018. Injuries have significantly impacted his performance in recent years, leading to a notable decrease in his batting average and on-base percentage. Despite these challenges, Cashman’s decision to bring Soto into the fold is expected to alleviate some of the pressure on Stanton.

READ MORE: Yankees’ top prospect making major rehab strides to open Spring Training

Stanton’s Comeback Effort

Stanton has expressed his determination to return to form, focusing on losing weight and enhancing his mobility and flexibility to prevent injuries.

As a rhythm hitter, maintaining health is crucial for him to avoid starting over after each injury. Although his time in the outfield was limited last season, Stanton is slated to continue as the team’s primary designated hitter. The management faces decisions regarding his placement in the batting order, with considerations of moving him to fifth to strengthen the lineup’s lower half.

The Yankees have several options for their batting order configuration, with the top three spots likely secured by Judge, Soto, and possibly Anthony Rizzo.

The team’s strategy will focus on maximizing the on-base capabilities of Judge and Soto, leveraging their ability to maintain an on-base percentage above 40%. With various lineup combinations at their disposal, the Yankees are well-positioned to adapt and capitalize on the players’ performances, making a successful season for Stanton all the more impactful.

The Yankees’ offensive strategy, centered around the acquisition of Juan Soto and the hopeful resurgence of Giancarlo Stanton, aims to transform one of the weakest units in baseball into a powerhouse. With the potential for strategic lineup adjustments and the anticipated contributions of new and existing players, the team’s offensive prospects look promising for the 2024 season.

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