Boone drops a subtle hint on Anthony Rizzo’s 7th spot, cites Yankees ‘personnel’ depth

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo in action against the Padres in San Diego in May 2024.

Table of Contents

Anaheim, Calif. – Anthony Rizzo‘s drop to the seventh spot in the Yankees’ batting order Wednesday seemed to carry a message from manager Aaron Boone that the first baseman needs to break out of an early-season slump.

Boone acknowledged part of the reason for batting Anthony Rizzo seventh – his lowest slot since 2011 as a rookie with San Diego – was because the Yankees faced left-hander Tyler Anderson. But he implied the move was also motivated by a need to jumpstart Rizzo’s production.

“Part of that is just the personnel we have back now,” the manager said. “That’s true. The Yankees’ lineup did become deeper Tuesday night when third baseman DJ LeMahieu made his season debut. Boone also moved up Gleyber Torres, a right-handed-hitter, from seventh to sixth and dropped the lefty-swinging Rizzo from sixth to seventh.”

The 32-year-old was hitting .245 with seven homers, 25 RBIs, and a career-worst .680 OPS through 55 games. Anthony Rizzo’s OPS ranked just 16th among 24 qualified MLB first basemen.

Anthony Rizzo was seen running during the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, May 10, 2024.
USA Today

Boone said players constantly work to “get it to click,” whether in peak seasons or struggling ones that require adjustments. The Yankees manager seemed to indicate the lineup shakeup could provide that spark for Anthony Rizzo.

While noting the lineup is deeper now with DJ LeMahieu’s return from injury, Boone said adjustments are inevitable for players over a 162-game season, even for those with long careers. He suggested Anthony Rizzo is going through an expected valley.

The three-time All-Star hadn’t hit seventh or lower since his 2011 rookie year, when he batted seventh 15 times and eighth three times for the Padres before becoming an established middle-of-the-order threat.

Anthony Rizzo’s struggles prompt questions

Yankees manager appeared to send a wake-up call to struggling first baseman Anthony Rizzo by dropping him to seventh in the batting order Wednesday.

Boone suggested the move was aimed at sparking Anthony Rizzo, who has underwhelmed offensively. The 32-year-old was hitting .208 with a .555 OPS over his last 26 games and .245 with a .680 OPS for the season entering Wednesday, per Boone. Among qualified major league first basemen, his 0.1 fWAR ranked 18th, his .680 OPS 16th and his 99 WRC+ 15th.

While Boone noted it’s still early, he implied Anthony Rizzo needs to turn things around quickly, saying a good 10-day stretch could drastically improve his numbers. He expressed confidence the first baseman would find his groove, dismissing any notion his offensive woes stemmed from last year’s concussion.

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo makes a defensive error at the game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif.

Anthony Rizzo’s defense has also faltered at times, including miscues in the previous two games. His error on Tuesday aided the Angels’ comeback win. The four-time Gold Glover’s -1 Defensive Runs Saved ranked 14th among qualified first basemen, and his 0 Outs Above Average tied for 16th through 55 games.

However, Boone downplayed reading too much into Anthony Rizzo’s current stats, stating he trusted the veteran was on the cusp of putting together a strong stretch befitting his career numbers. But batting seventh seemed to send a message that better production is needed soon from the underperforming Anthony Rizzo.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!