May 27, 2024

If there’s one accomplishment New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman can claim this offseason, it’s ensuring a much more formidable lineup than the one that ranked 25th in runs scored last season.

This improvement is indisputable, given the presence of standout hitters like Juan Soto, along with the capabilities of left-handed batters Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham.

San Diego Padres Trade for Juan Soto and Josh Bell - The New York Times

Yankees ace Gerritt Cole expresses confidence, particularly with the prospect of Soto and Aaron Judge batting consecutively. Speaking to YES Network’s Jack Curry on January 25, Cole emphasized the challenge opponents will face, stating, “There’s really not, especially in a four-game series, you’re really going to run out of tricks. There’s going to be situations where you just can’t pitch around them anymore. You have to challenge, and they’re going to get you because they’re just going to get theirs… we’re going to ruin a lot of people’s days.”

While this outlook is promising, it acknowledges the importance of health and bounce-back performances—factors that come with uncertainties. Last year, Judge’s injury-related absence (playing in 106 games) underscored the lineup’s reliance on him, resulting in 673 runs for the Yankees. DJ LeMahieu (101 wRC+, 136 games) and Anthony Rizzo (100 wRC+, 99 games) delivered average performances, Giancarlo Stanton (89 wRC+, 101 games) experienced his worst season, and Anthony Volpe (84 wRC+, 149 games) faced struggles in his rookie campaign. While not all hitters are expected to match their past performances in 2024, even modest improvements would greatly benefit the team.

With additions like Verdugo (98 wRC+) and Grisham (91 wRC+), coupled with the return of Jasson Dominguez in the summer, the Yankees have enhanced their lineup depth, reducing the need to heavily rely on players like Oswaldo Cabrera (60 wRC+). Cole underscores the potential strength of the team, stating, “And then especially, if we get production in and around those guys, to just kind of protect, protect that high horsepower engine, it’s going to be tough. I don’t really see a lot of good avenues for you as an opponent.”

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