Yankees need more from struggling infielder

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Yankees
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The grass is always greener when it comes to baseball, and the New York Yankees have already gotten some surprisingly good performances from struggling players like Giancarlo Stanton. The veteran designated hitter is red hot to open the year, putting together strong bats and showcasing his vintage discipline mixed with elite power.

Stanton seems to be turning back the clock, but the Yankees need more from one of their other veterans, first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Rizzo is coming off a season where he suffered a concussion, and the symptoms went undiagnosed for months before the Yankees eventually shut him down. He played just 99 games in 2023, hitting .244/.328/.378, including 12 homers and 41 RBIs. He collected just 0.9 WAR, which is already below Anthony Volpe’s 1.1 WAR over just 12 games this season.

The Yankees Need More Production From Anthony Rizzo

The Yankees know that Rizzo can offer substantial offensive support from the left side of the batter’s box, but he’s had a few issues hitting with runners in scoring position to open this season

Over his first 13 games, Rizzo hit .245/.339/.327, including one homer, four RBIs, a 19.6% strikeout rate, and an 8.9% walk rate with a 103 wRC+. Essentially, his metrics are directly in line with what he put together last season, which simply isn’t good enough.

With runners in scoring position, Rizzo is hitting a measly .071/.188/.071, including a .259 OPS and five strikeouts over 14 at-bats. He simply needs to be more clutch, but at 34 years old, it is possible that Rizzo is hitting a wall and may not put together a campaign like his 2022 season, his first full year with the Yankees.

Rizzo has always been about an average defensive player, but -1 defensive run saved and -1 out above average suggests he’s trending in the wrong direction there as well.

Obviously, the baseball season is long, 162 games long, so Rizzo has plenty of time to turn the page and get back on the horse. Despite his inconsistencies, the Yankees are still 10–3 on the season. With the team gearing up to take on the Cleveland Guardians on Friday, this would be a great time for the Italian Stallion to find his groove.

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