Yankees’ veteran first baseman hitting a brutal cold stretch

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees, anthony rizzo
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The New York Yankees‘ lineup has been bolstered by the powerful performances of Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, but not all players have been as consistent. While Gleyber Torres has had his struggles well-documented, veteran first baseman Anthony Rizzo has also been experiencing a downturn, though it has largely been overshadowed by Judge’s stellar play.

Rizzo’s Struggles and Need for Rebound

Currently, the 34-year-old Rizzo is batting .250/.317/.380 with seven homers and 25 RBIs across 53 games. His wRC+ of 104 indicates that he’s performing slightly above league average. However, there’s a noticeable decline in his walk rate and slugging metrics, diverging from his usual robust performance. Rizzo’s career-low hard-hit rate of 34.2% and a barrel rate of 5.6% suggest a decrease in his batting quality, corroborated by a dip in average exit velocity.

Over the last 30 days, Rizzo’s slash line is .257/.321/.406, but his performance has dipped to just .208 with a .259 OBP in the most recent 15-day stretch. The Yankees are eager for Rizzo to regain his form, particularly his ability to make solid contact and deliver his characteristic home-run power.

MLB: New York Yankees at Milwaukee Brewers, anthony rizzo
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Yankees Future Prospect Options

With a 2025 club option priced at $20 million, the Yankees are likely to redirect funds towards extending Juan Soto, necessitating an additional $20 million annually. This financial strategy might lead to Rizzo’s option being declined, bringing his future with the team into question.

The first base position remains a point of discussion for the Yankees, with prospects waiting in the wings. Ben Rice, a promising 25-year-old at Double-A, is one such prospect. He is currently hitting .242 with a .371 OBP and 144 wRC+, including 11 homers and 23 RBIs. While there’s no immediate pressure to promote him with Rizzo still under contract and DJ LeMahieu returning soon, Rice’s development will be crucial as the Yankees plan for the future.

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