Yankees’ struggling infielder puts on a show in slump-breaking performance

MLB: New York Yankees at Milwaukee Brewers, anthony rizzo
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been grappling with underperformance from key players, including star slugger Aaron Judge and infielder Gleyber Torres. While both have shown recent improvements against the Milwaukee Brewers, it’s veteran first baseman Anthony Rizzo who has notably returned to form, showcasing a resurgence in his performance.

Yankees Have Needed Rizzo’s Return to Form

After a slow start to the season, Rizzo has been rekindling his effectiveness at the plate. Initially one of the team’s least productive hitters, Rizzo has reversed this trend dramatically. Currently, he boasts a batting average of .277, an on-base percentage of .341, and a slugging percentage of .446, culminating in a .787 OPS. While his batting percentiles started low, there’s a clear upward trajectory in his performance.

MLB: New York Yankees at Milwaukee Brewers, anthony rizzo
Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday afternoon, the Yankees exploded for 15 runs; Rizzo was a standout, contributing four hits, two RBIs, and a crucial home run. His eighth-inning homer was instrumental in the Yankees scoring 30 runs over two games against the formidable Brewers, underlining his critical role in the lineup.

Strategic Adjustments and Defensive Challenges

Rizzo’s recovery is timely, given the high expectations set with the acquisitions of Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo to bolster the outfield. Coming off a season marred by concussion symptoms, Rizzo’s initial sluggishness was understandable, and his recent resurgence is a positive sign for the Yankees’ offense.

Rizzo has also adapted to changes in the batting order, now hitting in the sixth spot, just below Giancarlo Stanton. This shift coincides with Alex Verdugo being moved up to the cleanup position, a decision that raised eyebrows given Verdugo’s modest slugging metrics. However, Verdugo continues to perform well, maintaining his momentum with another hit on Sunday.

MLB: New York Yankees at Milwaukee Brewers, anthony rizzo
Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

On the defensive side, Rizzo faces challenges, as indicated by a -2 run value and -2 outs above average. However, with increased playing time and continuous adjustment, there is optimism that his defensive performance will align with his offensive contributions.

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