The Yankees should call up promising outfielder to replace Aaron Hicks

elijah dunham, yankees
Feb 26, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Elijah Dunham (92) dives to catch a line drive in the third inning of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees face a pivotal decision regarding Aaron Hicks and his continuously regressing playing time. One potential solution lies in calling up Elijah Dunham, an up-and-coming outfielder from Triple-A, who could give the Yankees the spark they need to maintain their competitive edge. Dunham’s combination of offensive prowess, defensive versatility, and a hunger for success makes him a prime candidate for promotion to the big leagues.

Offensively, Dunham has demonstrated exceptional plate discipline and a keen ability to make contact, which has led to an impressive on-base percentage in the minors.

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The Yankees are watching Elijah Dunham develop in real time:

In 2022, Dunham hit .248 with a .348 OBP across 110 games in Double-A with Somerset. He collected 17 homers with 63 RBIs and stole 37 bases, posting a 21.2% strikeout rate and 12.2% walk rate.

To start Triple-A this season, Dunham is hitting .257 with a .342 OBP and .386 slugging percentage. While his power has undoubtedly taken a nose dive, his ability to get on base has been prevalent. He currently hosts an 11.4% walk rate and 20.3% strikeout rate, experiencing a reduced K-rate.

His compact, powerful swing generates significant bat speed, allowing him to drive the ball with authority and rack up extra-base hits. As Dunham continues to develop, his notable power could improve, making him a consistent run-producer in the heart of the Yankees’ lineup.

Having hit 17 homers last season, it is clear that Dunham is more than capable of hitting for power. While he hasn’t shown that ability over 79 plate appearances this year, his lefty bat is a perfect fit for the short-right porch in Yankee Stadium. Considering Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Aaron Hicks are incapable of hitting for power, Dunham should make an immediate impact, even if it means racking up extra-base hits and walking through his plate discipline.

Dunham brings plenty of defensive value:

Defensively, Dunham offers versatility that would be invaluable to the Yankees. He can play both corner outfield positions and is an asset in the field with a strong arm and solid range. His adaptability allows the Yankees greater flexibility when crafting their lineup and deploying their roster in-game, which can prove crucial when supplementing injuries.

Dunham has played five games in right field, three in center, and seven in left for Scranton. The Yankees have been utilizing him across the outfield, preparing him to feature in multiple spots, which is certainly a sign they could be considering a potential promotion this year.

Additionally, young players like Dunham often bring an infectious energy to the team, invigorating veterans and fellow rookies. His hunger for success and willingness to learn from experienced teammates can contribute to a positive clubhouse atmosphere, fostering a winning organizational culture.

Promoting Elijah Dunham from Triple-A to replace Aaron Hicks on the 26-man roster could be wise for the Yankees. His offensive skillset, defensive versatility, and eagerness to succeed make him an ideal candidate to help the team maintain its competitive edge.