After a season that saw the New York Yankees go 82-80 and finish fourth in the AL East, posting their worst record since 1992 when they went 76-86, changes had to be made.

  What is the best way to improve an offense that scored the sixth-fewest runs and had the second-lowest team batting average across MLB?

  Acquire one of the best hitters in the sport: Juan Soto

  Soto and captain Aaron Judge will now form one of the most fearsome one-two punches in all of baseball. 

  But who will bat 2nd, and who will bat 3rd?

  Manager Aaron Boone said on the Foul Territory show that he would be “leaning towards” batting Soto second and Judge third. Boone said a lot can change but right now that is what he is thinking for the top of the lineup.

  Boone’s logic makes sense because Soto, since debuting in 2018, leads the league in walk percentage, and would be on-base frequently with the man who holds the American League record for most home runs in a season coming up behind him in Judge.

  But I disagree with Boone, I think Judge should stay in the two-hole with Soto batting third for a couple of reasons. 

  Soto in his career has been a more productive hitter hitting in the third spot in the lineup compared to the second.

  Soto has batted third 312 games in his career and has a slash line of .288/.438/.548 while hitting 73 home runs, posting an elite .986 OPS. 

  When Soto bats second in the lineup those spectacular numbers take a hit. In 216 games started batting second Soto’s slash line is .254/.398/.419 with 28 home runs, good for a .817 OPS.

  An .817 OPS is still a very good hitter, but all of those numbers are a significant drop-off to Soto’s numbers when batting third. 

  The most jarring thing is that Soto’s on-base percentage goes down from .438 to .398 when batting second. 

  It is hard to justify batting Soto second when there is such a significant drop-off in production from when he bats third. 

  As for Judge, he has better career numbers hitting in the two-hole rather than the third spot in the lineup. 

  In 529 games played in the two-spot, Judge has sported a slash line of .282/.392/.596 while mashing 173 home runs, good for a dazzling .992 OPS. 

  Judge has batted third for 164 games and has posted a slash line of .272/.386/.540 while hitting 45 home runs, posting a .926 OPS. Those are still elite-level numbers, but a drop-off from what he produces batting second. 

  Most importantly though for the Yankees, they need to make sure Soto is comfortable.

  From the second they traded for him, they knew Soto would not be signing a long-term contract extension before the season because he is a Scott Boras client, and Boras prefers to let his clients hit the open market rather than sign extensions. 

  This entire season the Yankees are pitching themselves to Soto as to why he should sign what will likely be a $500 million contract that will span out over a decade long with them. 

  Soto voiced his displeasure with batting second when he was with the Nationals to manager Davey Martinez.

  With the Padres Soto was said he was okay with batting second because it meant they could keep two righties behind him to prevent teams from bringing in a lefty just to face Soto.

  The Yankees lineup will probably be altered on a day-to-day basis depending on who the opposing starting pitcher is, yet there is no reason as to why every single lineup should not have Judge batting second and Soto batting third. 

  The Yankees employ two of the best hitters on the planet and need to put them where they are primed to succeed. The Yankees offense is going to be driven by an engine that will heavily rely on Judge and Soto. 

  But batting Judge second and Soto third means more than the 2024 season. 

  It means you have a better chance of making sure Juan Soto goes into the Hall of Fame one day wearing a Yankees hat. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.