Yankees drop bewildering batting order against Giants

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees
Oct 23, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa (12) throws out Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel (not pictured) in the sixth inning during game four of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are gearing up to finish off a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants in the Bronx on Sunday afternoon. Coming off a loss on Saturday due to a poor pitching performance, the Yankees will rely heavily on prospect Jhony Brito to help secure the team’s second win of the 2023 regular season.

Brito has never pitched in a professional game, enjoying 70.2 innings last year with Triple-A Scranton, hosting a 3.31 ERA and 6.75 strikeouts per nine. Brito is an exciting young arm with starting longevity but could also impact the bullpen down the road.

To back up Brito, the Yankees put together a scrappy batting order that looks like a spring training experiment more than a regular season strategy.

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Yankees drop wild lineup against Giants:

  • 1. Gleyber Torres (2B)
  • 2. Aaron Judge (RF)
  • 3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
  • 4. Giancarlo Stanton (DH)
  • 5. Josh Donaldson (3B)
  • 6. Oswaldo Cabrera (LF)
  • 7. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (CF)
  • 8. Kyle Higashioka (C)
  • 9. Anthony Volpe (SS)

In case you missed it or are simply stuck staring at the No. 7 spot, Isiah Kiner-Falefa is gearing up to play centerfield for the Yankees on Sunday afternoon.

Instead of utilizing Aaron Hicks, a far more established and experienced outfielder, the Bombers have seemingly shifted their attention toward the right-handed contact hitter, who most thought would be traded by this point. IKF has never played an inning at the MLB level at any of the three outfield positions, so this will be his first game taking on a new alignment.

The Yanks are trying to expand upon IKF’s value, potentially to boost his stock, but nobody thought the Yankees would utilize him during the regular season like this.

The Yankees are also giving DJ LeMahieu a day off and Jose Treviño an opportunity to get some rest coming off a wrist injury. Gleyber Torres will feature as the leadoff man, and Higashioka will take over in the No. 8 spot where Treviño has been hitting the past two games.

There’s an argument to be made that Volpe should be leading off when DJ isn’t in the lineup, but the Yankees still want him to gain some experience before injecting him into a high-leverage spot in the batting order. Volpe has been solid, opening his MLB account, posting two singles on Saturday afternoon with another stolen base. If he continues to show good plate discipline and confidence in the batter’s box, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them climb the batting order sooner rather than later.

For the time being, they want to keep him in low-leverage situations where he can get on base before the top of the order steps up.