The New York Yankees announced their opening day lineup Thursday morning and included several exciting changes. Of course, the top four remain similar, with DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton all residing in their normal spots. However, the bottom half of the order is changed, specifically a changing of the guard in left field and shortstop.
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The Yankees’ Opening Day lineup is perfect:
- 2B: DJ LeMahieu
- CF: Aaron Judge
- 1B: Anthony Rizzo
- RF: Giancarlo Stanton
- 3B: Josh Donaldson
- DH: Gleyber Torres
- LF: Oswaldo Cabrera
- C: Jose Trevino
- SS: Anthony Volpe
The Yankees are featuring a far more balanced batting order this season, especially with their superstar prospect Anthony Volpe batting 9th. Volpe showed poise and consistency during spring training, two variables he’s hoping to translate over to the MLB. Stanton will start in right field, pushing Aaron Judge over to centerfield, and a big positional change in left, featuring Oswaldo Cabrera. This alignment will eventually change once Harrison Bader returns, pushing Stanton into the DH spot and putting Torres in limbo.
Despite Hicks having a good offensive spring, hitting .293 with a .408 OBP, including 12 hits over 41 at-bats, Cabrera was simply better. Specifically, Cabrera hit .333 with a .390 OBP, 1.001 OPS, posting 18 hits with four homers and 14 RBIs over 54 at-bats.
Given Cabrera’s upside and defensive quality, the Yankees had a tough decision to make but chose to favor youth over a price tag. Hicks has been awful the past two seasons, whereas Cabrera is climbing the ranks and showcasing improvements in important categories, notably chase rate and pitch discipline.
If Hicks is truly moved to the bench permanently as a depth piece, the Yankees are officially changing the guard and the narrative revolving around their youth and utilizing them as prominent pieces.
One of the more significant questions in the infield was the second base position, and just as the Yankees strategized last year on opening day, DJ LeMahieu will start defensively, and Torres will feature as the DH. Torres had an above-average defensive season last year, but the Yankees trust LeMahieu and his consistency.
While many have voiced their displeasure regarding Volpe batting 9th, this is the same as Derek Jeter when he initially debuted in the MLB back in 1996. Volpe is undoubtedly the future lead-off hitter on this team, but for now, he needs to get his feet wet, and putting him in a low-leverage spot should provide him with confidence.
Overall, this lineup is exactly how I imagined it, given the talent on the roster. Hicks on the bench is certainly a surprise but Cabrera simply outplayed him and offers far more upside as a developmental piece.