Alex Verdugo supplants Stanton in Yankees’ cleanup spot vs. right-handers

Alex Verdugo hits a home run during the Yankees 3-2 win vs. the Marlins at Yankee Stadium on April 9, 2024.
Esteban Quiñones
Wednesday May 1, 2024

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In a significant shift in lineup strategy, the New York Yankees are setting a new course for their batting order against right-handed pitchers. Manager Aaron Boone revealed on the popular “Talking Yanks” podcast that Alex Verdugo, who is currently on paternity leave, will replace Giancarlo Stanton in the cleanup spot upon his return.

Aaron Boone’s cleanup revamp featuring Alex Verdugo

During the podcast, Boone announced that Verdugo is slated to return to the lineup either Thursday or Friday. He confirmed that upon Alex Verdugo’s return, he would be slotted back into the cleanup position, moving Stanton down to fifth. This adjustment is seen as a strategic pivot aimed at maximizing batting efficacy against right-handers. Boone succinctly affirmed the decision, stating, “Yes,” when asked about Verdugo’s role, adding that Big G would move to fifth while Verdugo would take over the sixth spot.

The statistics paint a telling picture of why this change has been made. Alex Verdugo has been notably effective in his limited time playing cleanup this year, boasting 4 hits and 4 RBIs from just 11 at-bats. His overall performance in 2024 also supports Boone’s confidence in him; Verdugo has hit .267 with 4 home runs and 13 RBIs across 101 at-bats. In contrast, Stanton, who has spent a significant portion of the season in the cleanup spot, has a .232 batting average with 6 home runs and 16 RBIs from 99 at-bats.

Giancarlo Stanton’s struggles highlighted by viral swing

The decision to shift Stanton comes amidst a challenging phase for the veteran slugger. In a recent game against the Baltimore Orioles, Stanton’s struggles were starkly illustrated when he swung at a pitch so far outside the strike zone that it recalled memories of rapper 50 Cent’s notoriously off-mark first pitch. This embarrassing moment went viral, highlighting Stanton’s current difficulties at the plate.

Giancarlo Stanton, player of the new york yankees

Criticism has been mounting, not just for this one swing but for Stanton’s overall performance this season. Sports commentators like Sal Licata from WFAN have been vocal, with Licata remarking, “He’s just not a baseball player… They gotta move on from Stanton. He is a liability.” These comments underscore the growing sentiment that Stanton’s lack of versatility and declining speed are becoming detrimental to the team.

As Stanton prepares to redeem himself in upcoming games, the Yankees’ lineup adjustment could be a pivotal moment for the team as they strive for a more dynamic and effective offensive strategy. Meanwhile, Alex Verdugo’s promotion to cleanup hitter is more than a lineup tweak—it’s a signal of the evolving priorities in baseball, where versatility and on-base potential are increasingly valued over sheer power. What do you think? Leave your comments below!

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