anthony volpe yankees
Dave Nelson | USA TODAY Sports

The kid has made it.

Anthony Volpe is coming north with the Yankees. And the New Jersey native is expected to be the starting shortstop on Opening Day.

Here’s a look at what the Bombers’ lineup could look like Thursday against the Giants in the Bronx:

No. 1: DJ LeMahieu (3B). The comeback trail continues with the two-time batting champion, who was finally looking like himself again before his toe derailed his season. A long rehab later, the LeMahieu of old is back in his everyday utility role. He’s batting .400 with a 1.001 OPS in spring training too. That makes Josh Donaldson and his paltry .179 mark the odd man out.

No. 2: Aaron Judge (RF). No, the reigning MVP will not be back in the leadoff spot like he was much of last year. Judge largely batted first out of necessity late in 2022 and largely because DJ LeMahieu went down with a toe injury. Now the highest-paid player in baseball, Judge can expect to stay in the No. 2 spot for most if not all of the season.

No. 3: Anthony Rizzo (1B). Judge’s loyal second-in-command should be in line for a great year in 2023. He hit 32 home runs last year, but only hit .224 thanks to the shift. New rules in place mean Rizzo should enjoy something of a comeback season this year. He hasn’t hit a home run in spring training yet, but batting a stout .250 with a pair of doubles are a good sign of what to expect.

No. 4: Giancarlo Stanton (DH). Speaking of comeback seasons, Stanton absolutely needs one after batting a career-worst .211 last year. Like Rizzo, the former MVP still hasn’t hit a home run this spring. He is, however, making regular hard contact and batting a solid .296.

No. 5: Anthony Volpe (SS). Going withthe rookie here instead of at the bottom of the lineup would be an aggressive move on Boone’s part, but Volpe knows how to make good contact and reads the zone well. This guarantees he gets good pitches to hit from the start.

No. 6: Gleyber Torres (2B). Here’s someone else who should benefit from the shift being gone. Torres has always been a natural contact hitter and doesn’t have to overcompensate for power anymore. He should hit to all fields more often this season and batting .308 in a handful of spring training games is an encouraging sign.

No. 7: Jose Trevino (C). We’ll kick off the bottom third of the order with the Gold Glove backstop. Trevino put up overall modest numbers last year, but still set new career highs in home runs and RBI. He also played in a career-high 115 games, so fatigue may also have been a factor. Trevino enters 2023 better prepared for a bigger workload and should be recovered from a sprained wrist by Opening Day.

No. 8: Aaron Hicks (CF). Nobody needs a redemption season more than Hicks, even if he’s batting eighth in this case. Harrison Bader’s oblique injury puts him in center by default and the best the Yankees can hope for is for Hicks’ solid spring to follow him to the Bronx. The power hasn’t shown up, but he’s batting a respectable .290 in Tampa and should see time in left field too.

No. 9: Oswaldo Cabrera (LF). Don’t get too used to seeing Cabrera in left field. Like his teammate LeMahieu, he’ll be used all around the field and provide Boone with plenty of options. More importantly, with the shift banned, most teams’ No. 9 hitters could be secondary leadoff men. That means contact hitters with speed, making the switch-hitting and versatile Cabrera a perfect complement to leadoff man Volpe.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.