Yankees act following Aaron Judge’s rant, respond with new appointment

The New York Yankees team at their Tampa training facility.

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Following concerns raised by Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole about the Yankees’ approach to player analytics, the organization has implemented changes. Owner Hal Steinbrenner announced on Thursday that Aaron Leanhardt has been hired as an analyst for the major league coaching staff.

Leanhardt will be positioned within the clubhouse, specifically tasked with facilitating the communication and presentation of analytical data to players. This move directly addresses the previously voiced concerns regarding accessibility and clarity of information.

Who is Aaron Leanhardt

Aaron Leanhardt, holding a Ph.D. in physics from MIT and boasting seven years of experience as a physics professor at the University of Michigan, is embarking on his seventh season within the Yankees organization.

Previously, Leanhardt served as the club’s assistant minor league hitting coordinator for the last two years following a stint as a hitting coach for three low-level affiliates. Additionally, he held a position as a hitting coach at Dawson Community College in Montana.

The addition of Leanhardt signifies the Yankees’ commitment to enhancing the way they utilize analytics and ensuring players feel empowered with the information they need to perform at their best. This collaborative approach, integrating player feedback into decision-making, aims to foster a more informed and effective environment within the team.

Hal Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees
Chris Kichner / The Athletic

A frantic step to curb critical views about Yankees’ analytics

As the 2023 season wraps up, Judge pinpointed out to troubling signs within the player sphere that demand remediation. Keenly observant of the group dynamics and culture, he raised issues requiring solutions.

“I think it’s just about how we use [analytics] and how we value them is an aspect that we just maybe need to look at again,” he said on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium,. “The Yankees are top-notch in the numbers we get. I think we’re the best in the game at that. I think it’s about funneling those down to the players in the right format.

“ … I wouldn’t say [we are] overloaded. I think it’s just looking at the right numbers. I think maybe we might be looking at the wrong ones. We need to value some other ones that people might see as having no value.”

Steinbrenner conveyed on Thursday that Leanhardt possesses exceptional expertise and intelligence in analytics, coupled with coaching experience. He added that Leanhardt excels in collaborating with individuals, adeptly explaining and teaching concepts, and attentively listening to the perspectives of those he interacts with.

The Yankees owner mentioned that Judge had already engaged in a one-on-one meeting with Leanhardt, lasting for an hour or two, during which they collaborated, and the Yankees captain expressed satisfaction with their interaction.

Steinbrenner expressed confidence that Leanhardt would be a valuable addition to the Yankees. He noted that despite the anticipation surrounding significant alterations, he considered the introduction of a new individual to the clubhouse to be a noteworthy change.

While Leanhardt steps into the analyst role, which was previously occupied by Zac Fieroh, Aaron Boone is entering the final year of his contract with the Yankees. However, Steinbrenner refrained from disclosing specific criteria necessary for Boone to secure a new deal, noting that the club holds a club option for 2025.

New York Yankees Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton at Spring Training 2024
Instagram/ Yankees

Yankees high on hopes

According to Steinbrenner, addressing Boone’s contract situation is something he will handle once the season concludes. The team owner emphasized that he wasn’t currently contemplating it due to the extensive focus on baseball matters at hand.

Excitement is building for the New York Yankees’ Grapefruit League home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, as star outfielder Juan Soto is slated to make his first appearance in pinstripes.

During a recent live batting practice session on Thursday, pitcher Clarke Schmidt faced a formidable lineup featuring Soto alongside established Yankees hitters like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Verdugo, Gleyber Torres, and Trent Grisham. This glimpse of the team’s offensive potential generated significant buzz among fans and media as they anticipate the upcoming exhibition game.

Boone remarked that he observed Schmidt performing impressively during the practice session. He noted that Schmidt’s stuff appeared to be of high quality. Boone also mentioned Schmidt’s competitive nature, expressing that Schmidt thrives on facing formidable opponents, which motivates him to elevate his performance. Overall, Boone conveyed his satisfaction with Schmidt’s pitching performance on that day.

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One thought on “Yankees act following Aaron Judge’s rant, respond with new appointment

  1. Is this Leanhardt, who apparently was a former. college baseball coach, also going to help shape not just what the players are really looking for from analytics, but what the coaches really need too?

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