Yankees have two lineup kings, one prince as only untouchables

While the Yankees have had an offensive feast in 2024, there lineup is not full of untouchables. Who are the three untouchables?
Esteban Quiñones
Monday June 10, 2024

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The New York Yankees are no strangers to star power. This season, their offense, which has seemed extremely stacked and powerful on paper, actually hinges on just three players: Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, and Anthony Volpe. According to the Yankees stats, these three are the only untouchables in their lineup, each delivering remarkable performances.

Yankees’ holy trinity: Judge, Soto, and Volpe

The Yankees’ lineup is essentially held together by the offensive prowess of Judge, Soto, and Volpe. These three players have consistently outperformed their peers, setting the bar for the rest of the team. (Note: Stats as of 9th June, 2024)

Batting averages

  • Juan Soto: .318
  • Aaron Judge: .305
  • Anthony Volpe: .280

On-base plus slugging (OPS)

  • Aaron Judge: 1.139
  • Juan Soto: 1.027
  • Anthony Volpe: .770

Judge’s OPS of 1.139 is not just team-leading but among the highest in the league, reflecting his power and plate discipline.

Hits and walks

  • Hits: Soto (76), Volpe (76), Judge (73)
  • Walks: Judge (55), Soto (46), Gleyber Torres (25), Volpe (23)

Wins above replacement (WAR) and offensive runs above replacement (RAR)

  • WAR: Judge (5.0), Soto (3.5), Volpe (2.8)
  • Offensive RAR: Judge (47), Soto (34), Volpe (23)

Judge’s WAR of 5.0 and Offensive RAR of 47 are league-leading figures, again. There are little to no questions that Aaron Judge is presently the best hitter in baseball.

Runs above average (RAA) and wins above average (WAA)

  • RAA: Judge (40), Soto (25), Volpe (18)
  • WAA: Judge (4.1), Soto (2.6), Volpe (1.9)

Aaron Judge: The Yankees’ captain and cornerstone, Aaron Judge, has been nothing short of sensational this season. Despite a slow and concerning start due to missing some days in spring training, Judge has silenced critics, some of whom ludicrously suggested a demotion to the minors. Leading the team in home runs (24), total bases (168), and several other categories, Judge’s leadership both on and off the field is undeniable. He also leads the league in home runs. Additionally, Judge is on track to surpass history, which he created himself in 2022 when he broke Roger Maris’ 61 home run record in the American League. Everyone believed that 2021 was Judge’s peak, but year after year, he proves everyone wrong. If not for his toe in 2023, one could just imagine what he could’ve done. His WAR of 5.0 and OPS of 1.139 are testament to his MVP-caliber performance, making him an irreplaceable asset for the Yankees.

Juan Soto: A desperate and much needed pre-season acquisition, Juan Soto has quickly become a fan favorite. His .318 batting average and 1.027 OPS highlight his elite hitting capabilities. Soto’s presence in the lineup has been transformative, and his ability to hit to all fields with power is eye-opening. Despite currently dealing with an elbow inflammation issue, Soto’s impact is undeniable. His performance this season is also crucial for his future contract negotiations, with expectations of a deal in the $500-600 million range. His clutch hits and strategic plays have been vital, even though he missed a series against the Dodgers, showing the depth he adds to the team.

In game 1 against the Dodgers on June 7, 2024, manager Aaron Boone did not include Juan Soto in the Yankee lineup; Alex Verdugo took the second spot in the batting order.
Yankees

Anthony Volpe: Often compared to Derek Jeter, Anthony Volpe has emerged as a key player this season. After a less-than-stellar 2023, Volpe has significantly improved both offensively and defensively. His .280 average, coupled with impressive defensive plays, underscores his value. Volpe has undergone a massive transformation at the plate, reducing his pull rate and increasing his contact rate. This adjustment has led to a more consistent performance, making him a cornerstone for the Yankees’ future. Volpe’s WAR of 2.8 and his role in the lineup are indicative of his rising star status, a prince awaiting his throne.

While Judge, Soto, and Volpe have been the primary forces in the Yankees’ lineup, players like Alex Verdugo, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Jose Trevino have provided crucial support at times. Verdugo has delivered key hits and solid defense, Cabrera has shown versatility and clutch performance, especially at the start of the season and Trevino has been reliable behind the plate and in a few offensive situations.

Question marks and areas of concern for the Yankees

While Judge, Soto, and Volpe have been stellar, the Yankees still face several offensive challenges. Anthony Rizzo, once a reliable hitter, has slumped dramatically, resulting in his recent benching. His prolonged struggles and a looming contract option raise questions about his future with the team.

Although not performing extremely poorly, Giancarlo Stanton occupies the crucial designated hitter spot. His inability to play the outfield regularly limits the lineup flexibility, particularly for giving Judge rest without compromising offensive output. Stanton’s aging and fluctuating performance further complicate this dynamic.

Gleyber Torres, another concern, has been underwhelming offensively (.230/.332/.445) and a liability defensively. His errors have cost the team crucial games, making his walk year a make-or-break season. If his performance does not improve, it is unlikely he will remain with the Yankees. The Yankees also have young talents like Jasson Dominguez waiting in the minors. Dominguez’s potential adds pressure on the current lineup to perform, especially with Stanton’s DH spot blocking his path.

The Yankees’ season is being propped up by the exceptional performances of Judge, Soto, and Volpe but the team cannot ignore the inconsistencies and struggles of other key players. Rizzo, Stanton, and Torres must step up if the Yankees are to maintain their position at the top of the AL East. Also, if they want to remain in New York, they would need to pull up their socks as the trade deadline nears. What do you think? Leave your comment below!

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