Yankees’ replacement for Aaron Judge steps up to the challenge

billy mckinney, yankees
Jun 8, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Billy McKinney (57) hits a triple in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It is safe to posit that finding a replacement for Aaron Judge is a near-impossible task. The best the Yankees can hope for is to supplement a small fraction of the value he contributes consistently.

Due to Judge’s second stint on the injury list this season, the Yankees elevated former top prospect Billy McKinney from their Triple-A affiliate.

The Yankees are just hoping for a bit of production from Billy McKinney:

During his tenure with the Oakland Athletics last season, McKinney hit a low .096 with a .158 OBP and a -10 wRC+.

Over his MLB career, he has participated in 263 games, boasting a .206 average with a .277 OBP and 28 home runs. As a left-handed batter, McKinney has displayed untapped potential, evident in his first appearance of the season with the Bombers on Thursday.

In the first game of the doubleheader, McKinney recorded a triple in four at-bats and drove in a run. In the second game, he hit a solo home run in the fifth inning, widening the Yankees’ lead to 3–0.

McKinney notably went 2-for-6 and scored two runs over both games, starting in the center and left fields, thereby highlighting his versatility.

Though it’s improbable for McKinney to match Judge’s impressive stats, it’s clear he still has a significant amount of potential to offer the Yankees.

During the season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, McKinney has been outstanding, hitting .274 with a .388 OBP, and recording nine home runs and 25 RBIs across 40 games.

There was a compelling argument suggesting that the Yankees should have promoted Estevan Florial, giving him another opportunity. However, the key factor to consider is the strikeout rate. Despite Florial’s historical and current success in Triple-A, his strikeout rate stands at 31%, compared to McKinney’s 20%.

It is evident that manager Aaron Boone favored plate discipline and experience, areas where McKinney holds an edge. Considering his positive contribution in the doubleheader, we can anticipate seeing much more of the former top prospect when the Boston Red Sox visit the Bronx for a three-game series starting this Friday night.