Tampa: Judge-Soto combo forces Yankees to shake up batting order

Juan Soto and Aaron Judge player of the New York Yankees

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The New York Yankees orchestrated a seismic move last offseason, acquiring star outfielder Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres in a blockbuster trade. Now paired with reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge, the Yankees field what could be the most formidable middle-of-the-order tandem in all of baseball.

Manager Aaron Boone has eagerly anticipated the pairing of Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, recognizing the potential havoc they can wreak on opposing pitchers. With Judge consistently lobbying for the third spot in the lineup and Soto’s remarkable blend of power and plate discipline slotting in at second, Boone contemplates granting Judge’s request, a decision that could catalyze Judge’s RBI production.

“So to have them back-to-back in a lineup is really exciting and something I think about since the day we got them. You know, it’s, you know, hopefully manifesting itself the way we think it can in that, you know, it’s a real strength for us and a real problem for other teams. So, anytime you can pencil in a great player and a great hitter in your lineup, you know, makes the excitement about having Judge and Soto back-to-back in the lineup. He expects them to strengthen the offense and pose major problems for opposing pitchers.”

Yankees’ lineup shuffle: Judge’s third spot fuels spring training intrigue

Aaron Judge during a spring training.

Aaron Judge’s desire to bat third in the Yankees stems from a traditional reverence for the position, viewing it as the quintessential spot for a premier hitter like himself. Meanwhile, Soto, a consistent on-base threat with the capacity for 30+ home runs per season, adds further allure to the lineup. The Yankees’ offensive versatility is bolstered by the addition of Alex Verdugo, offering Boone flexible options at the top of the order.

“Adding someone like Verdugo, who’s been a great leadoff hitter for the Red Sox for so long, having him in the mix where you can get DJ a day off and you can mix him up there at the leadoff spot,” Judge said. “Then you can maybe slide me into the two-hole, Soto three, but I’ve been telling Boonie since 2021 that I want to hit third.”

The anticipation surrounding Judge’s potential move to the third spot reflects the ongoing dialogue between player and manager, suggesting a potential shift in the Yankees‘ lineup dynamics. Judge’s track record at both the second and third spots, coupled with Soto’s arrival, adds layers of complexity and potency to the lineup configuration.

As the Yankees prepare for Spring Training, Judge’s aspiration for the third spot reverberates, underscoring the team’s collective determination to reclaim championship glory. With key upgrades and a renewed sense of purpose, the Yankees aspire to leverage their newfound offensive prowess to ascend the ranks of contention.

Soto can’t-wait to ‘walk or gap’ with Judge in the Yankees

Juan Soto, New York Yankees player

Juan Soto‘s arrival injects fresh energy into the Yankees’ roster, amplifying expectations and aspirations for a triumphant season ahead. Soto’s presence symbolizes a transformative force, signaling a recalibration of the team’s offensive identity and a renewed commitment to excellence.

“It’s going to be fun,” Soto said about playing with Judge. “We both know the strike zone pretty well. It’s going to be two walks or it’s going to be two gappers. It’s going to be fun. I think it’s going to be great.”

In the throes of Spring Training, Soto’s integration into the team heralds a new era of possibility and potential. Fortified by Soto’s elite skill set and unwavering resolve, the Yankees embark on a journey fueled by collective ambition and shared purpose.

“We have everything that we need (to win a World Series),” Soto said Monday. “… We’ve got to put our egos away and we’ve got to play as a team and try to do the little things when it matters.”

In the crucible of competition, the Yankees stand poised to unleash their formidable arsenal, fortified by the dynamic pairing of Judge and Soto. As they set their sights on the ultimate prize, the Yankees harness the collective strength of their lineup, poised to rewrite the narrative of championship contention.

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