Aaron Hicks
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Aaron Boone and the New York Yankees are considering using Aaron Hicks as the team’s leadoff hitter during the 2019 MLB campaign.

Robby Sabo

The New York Yankees are strongly considering using outfielder Aaron Hicks as the team’s leadoff man in 2019.

Per George A. King III of the New York Post, sophomore manager Aaron Boone revealed his specific itch to use the switch-hitter in the number one spot.

“I also like him, because we don’t have a lot of lefties right now, his left-handed bat in the middle, you like him splitting up [right-handed hitting] guys,” Boone said at George M. Steinbrenner Field, where pitchers and catchers officially reported Wednesday. “We will kind of evolve over spring training. My expectation is that we will see a lot of different orders depending on right and left as spring training unfolds and the start of the season unfolds.”

He didn’t fully commit to the move, allowing for much wiggle-room (even deploying the switch-hitter lower in the lineup), but the thought is as real as “Boston sports hate.”

Hicks, 29, performed on a near-stud basis last season. Playing 138 games (581 at-bats), Hicks smacked a career-high 27 home runs to go along with 79 runs batted in and a .248 average at the plate. He also chipped in with 90 runs and 11 stolen bases.

A few things separate Hicks from the rest of the Yankees pack.

First and foremost, he’s a switch living in a righty-dominated lineup. Placing him at the top of the lineup would essentially take away the lineup flexibility used somewhere in the middle of the lineup. Secondly, there really is only one leadoff competitor, Brett Gardner.

New York Yankees

Hicks leading off isn’t a foreign concept. He got the party started a total of 31 times for the Yankees a year ago. The only spot he saw more action was the No. 3 slot (33 times). Number 6 comes in as the third most common Hicks spot (28 times).

In fact, the only two spots Hicks didn’t experience in 2018 were eighth and ninth (in terms of games started). His presence rounds out like this: No. 2: four times, No. 4: 13 times, No. 5: 18 times, No. 7: four times.

With an on-base of .366 in 2018 and .372 in 2017, Hicks may just be the best option for Boone. At the same time, if Hicks does leadoff, where is the flexibility throughout the rest of the lineup? The short porch in right field needs a sudden shift to the other side.

  1. Aaron Hicks (S-CF)
  2. Aaron Judge (R-RF)
  3. Giancarlo Stanton (R-DH)
  4. Gary Sanchez (R-C)
  5. Miguel Andujar (R-3B)
  6. Greg Bird (L-1B)
  7. Gleyber Torres (R-2B)
  8. Tory Tulowitzki (R-SS)
  9. Brett Gardner (L-LF)

Imagine Luke Voit continues his assault on the baseball this spring. Bye-bye to the only middle-of-the-lineup lefty in Greg Bird.

For sheer sanity, Gardner may have to be the de facto guy.

  1. Brett Gardner (L-LF)
  2. Aaron Judge (R-RF)
  3. Giancarlo Stanton (R-DH)
  4. Gary Sanchez (R-C)
  5. Aaron Hicks (S-CF
  6. Miguel Andujar (R-3B)
  7. Greg Bird (L-1B)
  8. Gleyber Torres (R-2B)
  9. Tory Tulowitzki (R-SS)

Either way, Aaron Boone is equipped with a month and a half to figure it out. Based on the way he’s speaking, Aaron Hicksa as the party starter is a very real possibility.

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