Yankees: 3 players who need to step up and carry their weight

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees, giancarlo stanton
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are off to a red-hot start this season. Despite their offense ranking among the best in most categories, they still have a number of struggling hitters.

Aaron Judge and Juan Soto continue to dominate, which has significantly lifted the Yankees’ offense and given them a chance to win every game. After sweeping the San Francisco Giants, including a ninth-inning comeback win over the weekend, the Yankees are looking to take on the Minnesota Twins at home starting on Tuesday night, ending a lengthy West Coast trip.

A day off could help reset some of the team’s more inconsistent players. Let’s take a look at three Yankees who need to step up and show more consistency this season.

Three Yankees Who Need To Step Up

1.) Gleyber Torres

The Yankees have moved Gleyber Torres to the number eight spot in the batting order, indicating he’s quickly falling out of favor and losing confidence from management. Torres has played 61 games this season, hitting .230/.308/.324, including four homers and 16 RBIs, with a 24.3% strikeout rate and 9.6% walk rate.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees, gleyber torres
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Torres started the season leading off, so this development was certainly unexpected. In a contract year, he needs to gain momentum if he hopes to secure a lucrative contract next off-season. Returning to his usual production level would significantly enhance the outlook of the Yankees’ offense, which already ranks in the top five in most categories. His resurgence would add substantial value to the bottom half of the order.

2.) Anthony Rizzo

The Yankees are likely to decline the option in Anthony Rizzo’s contract next year, which would pay him $20 million for the 2025 season. The 34-year-old is hitting just .240/.301/.360, including seven homers and 25 RBIs, with an 18.3% strikeout rate and 5.7% walk rate. Rizzo has been a below-average hitter this year and has also struggled defensively.

He dealt with concussion symptoms that went undiagnosed for months, and Rizzo has never really been able to recover and show the production the Yankees hoped for going into the season. If his inconsistency continues, the Bombers might give a prospect like Ben Rice a chance to compete. However, it is unlikely they will move Rizzo from his starting first base spot, giving him this last season to turn things around and cement his career with the Yankees. After all, he is Judge’s best buddy in the clubhouse, and that counts for something.

May 23, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) follows through on an RBI sacrifice fly against the Seattle Mariners during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) follows through on an RBI sacrifice fly against the Seattle Mariners during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

3.) Giancarlo Stanton

When Stanton makes contact with a baseball, it normally travels a long distance, but he has a knack for swinging at pitches in the dirt.

The 34-year-old has a 119 wRC+, indicating he’s 19% better than the average hitter, but still sports an on-base percentage below 30% for the third consecutive season. Stanton has hit 14 homers this year, meaning he’s on pace for 42 this season, which offers the Bombers plenty of value. However, his walk rate has dropped to 6.6%, the lowest in his career by a fair margin.

Stanton has the potential to fuel a World Series run, but his cold stretches last weeks at a time, and the Yankees need him to get hot at the right time. Defensively, Stanton is essentially a non-factor as the team’s everyday designated hitter, so if he’s not hitting, he becomes a liability in the lineup.

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