The New York Yankees arguably have the deepest lineup in all of baseball. but the question everyone is asking is who should bat second—Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton?
With Spring Training officially underway, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone will get his first chance to look at his team. But how should he construct his powerful lineup? More specifically, who should hit second?
During the 2017 season, the Yanks lineup grew into one of the most dangerous in all of baseball. With the likes of Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and American League Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge, the Bronx Bombers were living up to their classic nickname.
This past December, the rich got a lot richer when the Yankees traded second baseman Starlin Castro and two prospects to the Miami Marlins for the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, Giancarlo Stanton. The addition of Stanton and the hope of a full season with a healthy Greg Bird have made the Yankees lineup that much deeper.
So the big question for Boone is, where will all of these sluggers hit?
In recent years, a big emphasis has been placed on the two hole. The second position in the lineup is now seen as the ideal spot to place a power hitter to give them an extra at-bat late in games.
Boone has already announced that either Judge or Stanton will occupy that slot during the season. While they probably both will see time batting second over the course of 2018, there is a clear choice of the two that should spend the most time there.
It’s Judge. And what gives him the edge here is his eye and ability to take more pitches than most power hitters.
While he led the American League in strikeouts in 2017 with 208, Judge also led the league in walks with 127. Because of this, his on-base percentage last season was an incredible .422.
How many players in baseball history have posted an on-base percentage over .420 with at least 120 walks and 200 strikeouts in a single season? Just one—Judge.
Stanton also took his fair share of pitches in 2017. He finished with 85 walks and a .376 on-base percentage, both of which were the second-best marks of his career.
Judge has the better numbers in terms of getting on base, but it’s Stanton who has the advantage in terms of bringing runs home.
This isn’t taking anything away from Judge who hit .284 with a rookie-record 52 home runs and 114 runs batted in last year.
Stanton, however, put up even better power numbers in 2017 by hitting .281 with 59 home runs while driving in 132 runs. Consider this as well: Stanton spent half of his season in spacious Marlins Park, which isn’t exactly the National League’s equivalent of Yankee Stadium. His power numbers only figure to go up in the Bronx.
With that being said, having Judge in the two hole simply gives the Yankees the most opportunities to score early or late in ball games.
Both men are capable of hitting anywhere in the heart of the order, but having Judge second and Stanton either third or fourth makes all the sense in the world.