Yankees’ outfield depth is significantly better with 2X Gold-Glove winner taking over

mlb: spring training-new york yankees at detroit tigers, trent grisham
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The Yankees‘ outfield got significantly better when Juan Soto packed his bags and hopped on the first flight to New York, but his fellow teammate with the San Diego Padres should reinforce their depth significantly.

Of course, the majority of news revolves around Soto, but Trent Grisham could play a sizable role in the Yankees’ 2024 plans. With two years left of team control, Grisham, who’s coming off a down season with the Padres in 2023, left his mark in the Yankees’ first spring training game on Saturday afternoon.

Trent Grisham’s Promising Start

In his first at-bat, Grisham launched a monster three-run homer to right field, posting a career-high 111.5 mph, traveling 421 feet. Grisham has already recorded the best max exit velocity in his career in one AB with the Yankees, which certainly bodes well for his upcoming season.

Last year with the Padres, the two-time Gold-Glove winning outfielder hit .198/.315/.352, including 13 homers and 50 RBIs with 15 stolen bases. His strikeout rate settled at 27.7%, and he recorded a career-high 13.5% walk rate with a 91 wRC+. Grisham’s best season came back in 2020, hosting a .251 batting average and .352 on-base percentage.

READ MORE: Yankees’ Spencer Jones sparks offense in 22-10 victory to open spring training

Grisham’s Role and Potential Impact With the Yankees

Recording a 40% rate last year and an 11.8% rate, Grisham should be able to clock a minimum of 15 homers this upcoming year, especially if he works his way into the outfield rotation a bit more frequently. He is set to be the first reserve behind the primary three starters, Aaron Judge, Soto, and Alex Verdugo.

However, his value as a defensive asset is certainly something to be excited about. He played 1,276 innings in centerfield last year, hosting one defensive run saved and 7 outs above average. That is a substantial asset to have in a depth piece, so the Yankees will be able to maximize his value in more ways than one.

Nonetheless, Saturday’s homer certainly put into perspective the hard work he’s done this off-season and a clear result of a fundamental shift in his batting approach.

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