Yankees’ new 2X-Gold Glove winning outfielder is a luxury depth item

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Compared to the issues the Yankees had in the outfield in 2023, their current unit is comprised of a 25-year-old future Hall of Famer, a starting caliber left fielder, and a luxury item at the depth position to help supplement any fatigue and injury.

Juan Soto alone should give the Yankees more firepower than they need to be one of the best offenses in the game, but Alex Verdugo is no pushover. He routinely has above-average offensive seasons throughout his career with the Boston Red Sox. Soto will man right field while Verdugo features plays in left, which will push Aaron Judge to center, where he will have to be more mobile, but he is looking forward to the challenge.

The Yankees Have More Starters and Depth Now

To help keep the outfield healthy, the Yankees also acquired Trent Grisham from the San Diego Padres, a 2X Gold-Glove-winning player with a bit more offensive upside than most would give him credit for.

Still only 27 years old, Grisham is heading into his sixth MLB season, recording two years with above-average production. However, he struggled in 2023 with the San Diego Padres, playing 153 games and enjoying 555 plate appearances. He hit .198/.315/.352, smashing 13 homers with 50 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. Those numbers certainly aren’t anything to write home about, but for a reserve outfielder, he provides stout defensive value and has his moments in the batter’s box, where he’s looked more than competent.

Interestingly, Grisham launched a home run on his very first spring training at-bat, recording his highest exit velocity ever in his career, which is certainly interesting and points to the Yankees’ development of sluggers.

Grisham Has Shown Potential This Spring

Over 15 spring training games, Grisham is hitting .188/.381/.344, Including a 25.6% strikeout rate, 23.3% walk rate, and 107 wRC+. He is slightly above average over that sample, but the Yankees are excited about his upside and the value we can bring compared to what they had last season. The team relied heavily on players like Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney, and even Franchy Cordero to be primary starters, let alone reserves.

Aside from Grisham, the Yankees also have a few prospects climbing in the system who will be ready to make their impact felt in the near future.

Outfield prospect Spencer Jones destroyed spring training and looked the part of a future superstar, but the Yankees will send him back down to the minors, for now, to continue his growth until they need him readily available.

Jasson Dominguez is recovering from Tommy John surgery and should return over the summer, so depending on how the outfield looks at that point in time, there may be a role waiting for him upon his recovery.

Nonetheless, this is the Yankees’ best outfield in years, and General Manager Brian Cashman did a solid job turning it around this off-season.

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