Yankees Mock Trades: Finding the perfect leadoff man

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Cincinnati Reds
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The New York Yankees are going to need to find a reliable leadoff option for this lineup, as Juan Soto and Aaron Judge have consistently come to the plate with nobody on. With the Cincinnati Reds not having the year they were hoping for, we could see them sell ahead of the trade deadline, and Jonathan India could be on the move. Their plethora of young infielders might entice them to get a return on the surging infielder who is finally having a big season after two years of mediocrity at the plate.

Could the Yankees, who are in desperate need of a table setter at the top of their lineup, go after the stud second baseman this July?

Jonathan India Could Be Exactly What the Yankees Need

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Yankees
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It’s been one hell of a season for Jonathan India, who has found himself hitting at a clip we haven’t seen since 2021 when he took home Rookie of the Year honors. Through 85 games, India is slashing .269/.369/.411 with a 119 wRC+ and seven home runs, as he’s done an excellent job of getting on base and hitting doubles. India is top-20 in both walk rate and OBP, and the batted ball data has really improved as of late, generating more barrels and damage contact.

Over his last 24 games, Jonathan India has slashed .341/.410/.591 with an 11.1% Barrel Rate and 47.2% Hard-Hit Rate, showing off some serious raw power and driving the ball in the air with authority. The Yankees need both more power and more OBP skills at the top of the lineup, and he would provide that and more in a hurry. Originally a third baseman at the Minor League level and throughout college, India shifted over to second base where he’s been a below-average defender in his career.

The Yankees might be able to shift him back to the hot corner where he profiles a lot better due to how well he moves to his left side versus his right side. This season, he has -4 OAA going towards third base while he has +3 OAA going towards 1B, and the third base foul line naturally creates less space to account for when you’re playing the position, which is likely why he’s struggled at second where there’s far more room to account for. This doesn’t mean India is slow, as he ranks in the 61st Percenile in Sprint Speed and can swipe a base or two.

If we are trying to figure out which players the Yankees would have to send in a deal with the Reds, here’s my best guess as to what a package could look like:

  • Will Warren
  • Jared Serna
  • Yoendrys Gomez
  • Bailey Dees

READ MORE: Yankees are getting incredible value out of left-handed bullpen arm

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at New York Yankees
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Will Warren has struggled in Triple-A in terms of ERA, but that’s extremely misleading because Scranton has struggled defensively and the ABS completely screws pitchers over. I think his value is mostly the same as it was entering the year, his stuff is still just as good and he pounds the strike zone consistently. He could provide MLB value today, and the Reds would get an arm that they can utilize almost immediately if they choose to do so. Yoendrys Gomez is more of a reliever but he can also help the Reds instantly, as he has a deep arsenal with multiple breaking pitches.

Jared Serna has a 121 wRC+ in High-A with good home run power and a low strikeout rate, but perhaps what I love the most about his profile is the glove. He can pick it at shortstop and I think he has the makings of an MLB option there, and if the Reds chose to slide him over to second base or third base Serna would certainly flash there as well. He’s played some outfield in Mexico, so he could be a super utilityman with the game power and athleticism to provide value with his legs and glove.

Bailey Dees has been a solid starter for the Somerset Patriots in his first season in the rotation, posting a 3.93 ERA and 24.8% strikeout rate. April was a tough month for him, but since that cold start, he’s pitched to a 3.25 ERA with a 19.4% K-BB%. Thanks to his 6’8 frame he gets some good extension as well, and the Reds could view him as a near-MLB-ready arm who might end the season in Triple-A with the way that he’s performed as the weather has gotten warmer.

Would the Reds say yes to this? I don’t know, but according to Baseball America, this deal would include two top-10 prospects and a top-20 one. Bailey Dees could climb into the Yankees’ top 30 by the end of the season, and at the very least should be a good MLB reliever (which is the role he dominated in last season).

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