Yankees have found a perfect strategy in left field

jake bauers, yankees
Jun 3, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Jake Bauers (61) follows through on a home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, along with General Manager Brian Cashman, may direct their focus towards the left field position as the trade deadline approaches.

Over the past several years, they’ve been unable to secure an above-average player for the left field (LF) spot. They’ve instead adopted a rotational strategy featuring Oswaldo Cabrera, Jake Bauers, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

In reality, the Yankees lack a solid starter in this position and have been leveraging an intriguing strategy to determine the most suitable player for each match.

Despite Kiner-Falefa’s impressive performance over the past two weeks, the team continues to maximize his utility value, even assigning him to center field in the absence of Harrison Bader.

Aaron Judge remains the Yankees’ unwavering choice for right field, with the team’s unwillingness to reposition him stemming from their desire to preserve his health and lower body strength following a recent hip injury.

The Yankees are going with a ‘hot-hand’ approach:

In the interim, the Yankees have been favoring a ‘hot-hand’ approach in left field, a strategy that paid off on Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, thanks to Jake Bauers’ performance.

In a 6-3 victory, Bauers contributed two home runs and four RBIs, raising his average to .237 with a .347 OBP and .542 slugging percentage. His slugging metric surpasses those of Gleyber Torres, Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, and virtually all players excluding Aaron Judge.

Although Bauers’ performance has been somewhat inconsistent this season, his current statistics suggest a player who has made valuable adjustments to his batting stance.

In the past week, Bauers has achieved a .400 batting average with a .533 OBP and 1.433 OPS. His lefty batting style poses a considerable challenge for specific pitchers, suggesting his value will remain strong moving forward.

It will be intriguing to see how the Yankees manage their left field once Bader returns from a hamstring injury, which is expected to sideline him for the coming weeks.

I predict an ongoing positional contest among several players, particularly Bauers, Kiner-Falefa, Cabrera, and possibly Greg Allen once he recovers from a hip flexor strain.

Cabrera’s swift return to the Yankees, following a brief stint in Triple-A, was marked by a home run, signaling a welcome resurgence.

Given the Dodgers’ standing as one of baseball’s premier teams, the Yankees’ victory sets them back on a promising trajectory. They currently trail the Tampa Bay Rays by six games in the AL East.

Although the Yankees are in a competitive position and are slowly regaining ground, incoming reinforcements promise to bolster the team’s strength and performance.