Yankees’ super-star slugger ‘doesn’t care’ about batting order change

mlb: spring training-toronto blue jays at new york yankees, juan soto
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees got a glimpse at what superstar 25-year-old Juan Soto can do to a baseball on Sunday afternoon, smacking a high fastball to the deepest part of George Steinbrenner Field down in Tampa. Soto has generational power and is already in the middle of a Hall of Fame career, and the Yankees made it a priority to add him to their equation this off-season.

Batting Order Considerations

The question now is where Soto will feature in the batting order, with manager Aaron Boone suggesting several weeks ago that he will bat second ahead of Aaron Judge. Judge has been asking for years to bat third, and Soto’s presence opens the door up completely.

Last season, Soto enjoyed 141 at-bats in the two-hole, hitting .227/.367/.362, well below his numbers, batting third. In the three-hole, Soto enjoyed 396 at-bats, hitting .288/.419/.563, including a .982 OPS. Clearly, he has a bit more comfort batting third, so Judge could retain his usual spot, and the Yankees are testing out different combinations during spring training.

READ MORE: Yankees’ second-year starter could see a huge developmental leap in 2024

Juan Soto’s Impact and Yankees’ Offensive Strategy

Soto doesn’t seem to care where he hits anymore, even though he’s preferred third in the past. The experience he enjoyed last year should give them a bit more confidence, especially with a dominant first half of the Yankee batting order supporting him.

The biggest benefit the Yankees have from Soto is his production with runners in scoring position. Last season with RISP, Soto enjoyed 144 at-bats, hitting .299/.439/.576, including a 1.015 OPS. These are elite numbers and something the Bombers desperately needed coming off a season where they ranked only ahead of the Oakland Athletics with runners on base.

The 2024 season should be far more lucrative offensively for the team, but they have to get through spring training healthy first, and that will be a vital variable in their future success.

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