It’s apparent that the New York Yankees aren’t getting offensive production in the right places. Their leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu has a 93 wRC+ and a mere .339 OBP on the year, and the other guys in the lineup have begun to pick it up. His 93 wRC+ is sixth out of all Yankees with 100 or more PAs, and while I do believe he will turn it around (he’s got an even bigger wOBA-xwOBA difference than Gary Sanchez), he has to be dropped in the lineup. Leading off a hitter who is ice cold and not adjusting is how you drop in the standings. LeMahieu isn’t the biggest problem on this team, but he’s certainly part of the offensive power outage. There are other hitters surging or declining, and figuring out a new lineup could help generate more runs
The Gap in Offensive Production and Runs Scored
The Yankees are middle of the pack (15th) in team wRC+ and yet are 24th in runs scored. This is a sign of the Yankees having a poor optimization of their lineup. They get runners on, they get hits, but an inability for these big spots to be handed to really good hitters has brutal. In the month of May, Aaron Judge posted a 166 wRC+, but somehow he had led the Yankees in Plate Appearances with no one on and two outs. That’s because he hits third, and without Stanton for weeks and a scuffling LeMahieu, Judge rarely had anyone on to allow him to do damage. This is flat-out unacceptable, and it’s a pretty sizeable chunk of Judge’s appearances.
If the Yankees want to start scoring more, they need to get Judge in better spots and with less than 2 outs, which leads me to the lineup.
Let’s Build the New Yankees Lineup
Aaron Judge RF
Giancarlo Stanton DH
Gio Urshela 3B
Gleyber Torres SS
Gary Sanchez C
DJ LeMahieu 1B
Rougned Odor 2B
Clint Frazier LF
Brett Gardner CF
This lineup gives five consecutive above-average hitters, the sixth hitter is poised to get hot again, and the seventh and eighth hitters can always jump on you. Once the Yankees grab a centerfielder this lineup might actually become deadly again.
What Do These Lineup Changes Do?
Judge is an OBP machine, and also is known to jump on the first pitch if it’s a cookie. He sets the table for Stanton, who’s one of the most talented hitters in the sport. Urshela, Torres, and Sanchez haven’t been spectacular at the plate, but they’re above average in wRC+. LeMahieu’s struggles have to give him a boot down for now, but I don’t expect him to stay there for long. Once he heats up you still lead off Judge, but you can throw DJ in the third spot. The seventh and eighth hitters in Odor and Frazier are rather similar this year, and Gardner is just bad. This lineup is the one I want to see the Yankees trot out at least for a game, and you should want to see it too.
One last thing I want to note is that LeMahieu didn’t just stop caring because he got paid. He’s gotten some poor batted-ball luck (.334 xwOBA and .301 wOBA) and he’s walking more than ever. With his defensive prowess, he’ll be worth the money, he just shouldn’t lead off.