Aaron Judge’s new strategy for Yankees faces roadblock, slugger eyes heavy DH role

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge heads to the dugout at the end of the top of the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, July 28, 2023, in Baltimore. The Orioles won 1-0.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

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Yankees star Aaron Judge addressed the team’s recent struggles following their sweep by the Cincinnati Reds, emphasizing the need for a more potent offense, particularly in the early innings. The slugger stressed the importance of getting runners on base, being more aggressive in baserunning, and driving in runs to take early leads and reduce pressure on the pitching staff.

“Offensively, just us trying to score first,” Aaron Judge told. “There’s a lot of weight on our pitchers’ shoulders right now to be perfect, and offensively, we gotta try to put some pressure on them and get some guys on base, maybe run a little bit, drive some guys in when they’re on base and try to get the score in our favor early on. And then that way, we can kinda have leverage throughout the game.”

Aaron Judge’s call for increased baserunning aggression is timely, especially given the Yankees’ recent struggles against speedy teams like the Reds and the Red Sox, who previously exploited the Yankees’ vulnerabilities on the basepaths in their last encounter.

However, implementing Aaron Judge’s strategy faces challenges due to the Yankees’ lack of speed. The team ranks 29th in Major League Baseball with just 37 stolen bases. Their fastest player, Anthony Volpe, who leads the team with 15 steals, hasn’t stolen a base since June 14 and was recently moved from the leadoff spot.

New York Yankees’ Anthony Volpe jumps to steal a base against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo.

This situation underscores the difficulty of executing Aaron Judge’s plan given the current roster and recent lineup adjustments. The Yankees will need to find alternative ways to generate early offensive pressure as they aim to reverse their recent downturn, losing 14 of their last 19 games.

Aaron Judge’s call for more aggressive baserunning faces significant challenges due to the Yankees’ current roster limitations. The Yankees captain, who has five steals, ranks second on the team, with three players tied at four steals each. Speedster Jon Berti remains weeks away from returning from injury and is primarily a role player.

Manager Aaron Boone acknowledged these challenges, noting that aggressive baserunning has been a part of their strategy in recent years despite limited personnel. He explained that the team’s frequent deficits in games have made aggressive baserunning less feasible. Boone stressed the importance of being selective to avoid unnecessary outs, especially with power hitters like Juan Soto and Aaron Judge at the plate.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge (99) runs to third base on a two-run triple against the Minnesota Twins during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 5, 2024, in New York

“The running game’s something that’s actually been a part of our game really the last couple of years, even when we don’t necessarily have the personnel where we’re going to run wild on the bases,” he explained. “It’s a little challenging when you’re down [in the score]. Through this few-week stretch, we’ve been down a lot, two, three, four runs. Not real conducive for a team like us to just start running certain guys. So yeah, we’re gonna look for spots, but I also don’t want to run into outs.”

Boone suggested that aggressive baserunning might be more appropriate with the latter part of the batting order. However, implementing this strategy could necessitate external roster additions.

Potential trade targets to bolster the Yankees’ speed include Luis Rengifo of the Angels, who has 22 steals and could also help at third base, though he’s currently on the injured list. Another option is Miami’s Jazz Chisholm, who has 15 steals and could fit into multiple positions in the Yankees’ lineup if acquired.

These considerations highlight the Yankees’ need to balance their desire for more baserunning aggression with their current roster constraints and the strategic implications of when and how to implement such tactics.

Aaron Judge is going to do DH duty a lot

New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge waits for a pitch from the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 28, 2023, in Baltimore.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Yankees manager Aaron Boone outlined a new strategy involving Aaron Judge’s role as designated hitter (DH). With Giancarlo Stanton currently on the injured list, Boone plans to have him DH more frequently to manage his mid-season workload.

Although Aaron Judge has excelled as the everyday center fielder, Boone sees an opportunity to leverage Trent Grisham‘s elite defensive abilities in center field. Boone has communicated with the slugger about this adjustment and intends to discuss lineup changes before each series.

Aaron Judge has expressed his support for this strategy, emphasizing the importance of the team’s overall lineup strength. He acknowledged the advantage of having a Gold Glove-caliber player like Grisham in center field.

“Whatever gives us the best lineup, to be honest,” the Yankees captain said. “Getting a Gold Glover in centerfield? We gotta do that. So I’m all good with that.”

Boone also mentioned that Juan Soto would occasionally take on the DH role, despite Soto’s preference for playing in the outfield.

This approach underscores the Yankees’ efforts to balance optimizing their lineup with managing player workload and maximizing defensive capabilities.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

One thought on “Aaron Judge’s new strategy for Yankees faces roadblock, slugger eyes heavy DH role

  1. My feelings on CF Grisham in the outfield, he can’t hit his weight, he takes to many strikes and has no aggression when he plays. I know Boone says he so smooth it looks like he is not playing, that is a terrible excuse. Play harder, show that you care, he moves around like it is not MLB baseball.
    Certainly not understanding all of the double plays they hit into. all of the talk about launch angle and they continue to beat the ball into the ground. I don’t feel when they hit the ball into the ground, they are hustling to try to beat the play out. Sure, it is a 5 hopper to second, but run like you belong in the Bigs. Anything can happen on the play, how many time has Torres booted the common play. Running Showcases, when I talk to the scouts, they all tell me the same thing, HUSTLE, I have seen many scouts turn on supposed quality players because they don’t run everything out.

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