Yankees select new leadoff hitter with DJ LeMahieu going down

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Miami Marlins
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are gearing up for opening day on Thursday against the Houston Astros, but with DJ LeMahieu suffering a significant bruise to his right foot courtesy of a foul ball, the team had to make another change at the lead-off hitter spot.

Some estimated that Anthony Volpe would get the green light to feature as the team’s first batter ahead of Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, but manager Aaron Boone suggested that Gleyber Torres would be the man to supplement the role on Thursday.

Volpe has been red hot this spring, hitting .314/.364/.471, including one homer and five RBIs over 18 games.

The Yankees Opted For Experience Over Youth

While Volpe may eventually become the lead-off hitter, the Yankees prefer to have the more experienced Torres start the season there.

Now 27 and headed into the final year of arbitration, Torres has also had a strong spring performance, hitting .356/.434/.644, including three homers and seven RBIs over 17 games. Torres is coming off arguably one of his best offensive seasons, hitting .273 with a .347 OBP, including 25 homers and 68 RBIs with a 123 wRC+.

Torres has been gradually improving over the past few seasons offensively, seeing a massive decline in the strike-out rate, about 8% compared to the 22.6% strike-out rate in 2022. If he can combine productive offensive value and good defense, Torres will be in line for a significant contract next season.

The veteran infielder is already gearing up for a big payday. Still, he can do himself plenty of favors by having another strong campaign and taking a step in the right direction.

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