Who Will Play Right Field for the Yankees In 2017?


With Brett Gardner in left and Jacoby Ellsbury in center, who will patrol right field for the New York Yankees during the 2017 season?

One of the Yankees biggest questions for the upcoming 2017 season is who is going to play right field? The position belonged to Carlos Beltran until he was ultimately traded to Texas, and Aaron Hicks took over, playing a majority of games until Aaron Judge was called up. Hicks and Judge would split time after his call up. Beltran played 58 games in right last year, with Hicks registering 52 and Judge playing 24.

For the most part, the position is up for grabs between Judge, Hicks, Mason Williams, Rob Refsnyder, and Tyler Austin, according to the Yankees official depth chart. Judge, Hicks, and Refsnyder look like the three realistic contenders for the position, being that Williams and Austin have a combined six career games in right field. So who will ultimately win the position? Here is the case for each of these players.

Yankees Right Field Possibility #1: Aaron Judge

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Aaron Judge: Aaron Judge has been one of the most talked about prospect in the Yankees system for the past few years. He immediately lived up to the hype, homering in his first career at-bat. But ever since that moment, his Major League career has been slow. It is hard to judge, no pun intended, a player on 27 games, the total Judge played in last year. In 84 at bats, Judge put together a .179/.263/.367 slash line, with four home runs and 10 RBI. Judge also struck out 42 times, exactly half of his career at-bats. Strikeouts have been something that Judge has always struggled with, and if he can fix this problem and find that power swing he possesses, he can be dangerous.

Yankees Right Field Possibility #2: Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks: Hicks saw the most playing time of his career during 2016, appearing in 123 games for the Yankees. Hicks became the primary right fielder after Beltran’s departure and didn’t produce. Hicks’ slash line of .217/.281/.299 was disappointing, to say the least. Hicks hit eight home runs and drove in 31 runs, not living up to the monster numbers that Beltran was putting up at the time. Hicks, more known for his speed and aggression on the base paths, only scored 32 runs and stole one three bases. If Hicks wants the starting job for 2017, he needs to start hitting the ball more and delivering in the batter’s box.

Yankees Right Field Possibility #3: Rob Refsnyder

Rob Refsnyder: Refsnyder has been a utility man for the Yankees during his career, playing first, second, third, left, and right field. Refsnyder played 23 games in right during 2016, starting in 14 of them. In 58 games with the Yankees last year, Refsnyder hit .250/.328/.309, failing to hit a home run but driving in 12 runs. Numbers wise, Refsnyder has been better that Judge and Hicks, but nothing spectacular. Refsnyder has been one of the more reliable players for the Yankees, and locking him down to one position could limit Joe Girardi’s options at other positions. Refsnyder might play right during the season, but you won’t find him being a regular there.

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So who will be the Yankees right fielder come Opening Day? Aaron Judge is likely the guy who will be out there, but depending on his production, he might not last. Judge will finally get his shot to be an everyday starred for the New York Yankees, but will need to produce or Girardi will move on to the next guy. Hicks and Refsnyder will see time in right field, but on April 2nd, Aaron Judge should be the right fielder.