Yankees’ projected Opening Day roster has an infield twist

josh donaldson, yankees
Sep 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (28) throws a ball to first base for an out against the Toronto Blue Jays during the third inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

With the season right around the corner, various different sites have had their projected Yankees lineup, and Bryan Hoch’s projection that he put together for MLB.com indicates the organization’s belief in Donaldson. He believes the Yanks will roll JD at the hot corner and elect to use Gleyber and DJ at 2B. Though I think the best option would be to start DJ at third and use JD as the backup, he did list IKF as the backup at short. 

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One of IKF, Donaldson and/or Hicks, will certainly see their fair share of reps:

The Yankees will most definitely run with at least one of the trio of JD, Hicks, and IKF, and if it’s JD, I feel the most confident in his abilities of the bunch. Donaldson struggled to find any sort of offensive consistency last season, but he could be due for a bounce-back in some shape or form. Fortunately, he’s still up there at the top of the league defensively. Running a JD/DJ combination at third could be more solid than many people would care to admit. 

Hoch predicts that the Yanks will run an outfield consisting of Cabrera in left, Bader in center, and Judge in right, with Hicks as the fourth OF. I wouldn’t hate that option, though I do believe that one of Calhoun or Ortega will earn their keep on the roster. Hicks certainly isn’t the worst player in baseball, though fans would like you to believe otherwise. He’s a decent enough player to man that fourth outfield spot, assuming he doesn’t play every day, that’s not the worst-case scenario. 

The Yankees are better constructed than last season, even with no major additions:

If the Yanks lineup features Peraza seeing regular ABs as the starting shortstop, plus a potential role for Volpe earlier in the year than later, that could bode well for the team. There’s more talent here than there was last season, even if the team hasn’t changed a ton with new faces. Seeing Cabrera, Peraza, and Volpe have larger roles means we’ll have fewer ABs for the tumultuous trio previously mentioned. T

his lineup should be solid top-to-bottom, and that could mean that this season will truly be different than the last. Sure, Judge will regress a bit; having a Barry Bonds-level season is hard to replicate. Though, it won’t be detrimental, especially if DJ and Stanton are healthy the majority of the season. 

The Yankees are looking to prove the doubters wrong this year, and this lineup could be very good across the board. Assuming Donaldson bounces back a bit and the organization is still looking for an everyday left fielder, there may be more in the cards. The team to beat in the AL remains the Astros, but this could be the year where the Yanks get their comeuppance. Stay tuned for the start of spring training, as pitchers and catchers report in just a few days’ time.