Yankees Aaron Judge: Should he bat leadoff?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Aaron Judge
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Aaron Judge /

Imagine you’re a starting pitcher taking the mound against the Yankees in the first inning. Batting leadoff for the Bronx Bombers is the hulking Aaron Judge.  While an unlikely scenario, it’s not out of the question. But should it be?

Before Tuesday’s win against the Rays, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone mentioned something unbelievable to reporters. He told NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Judge batting leadoff.

"“I’d say it’s possible,” Boone said. “I’ve thought of it. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s likely. But something like that I would view as possible. It was considered. Something we’ve talked about.”"

Some analysts, like our editor Mike Calendrillo, disagree entirely with Judge batting first. I also disagree with this idea because, in my opinion, the Yanks have multiple options on their current active roster.

Brett Gardner has been a great leadoff hitter for years. However, the lifetime Yankee slashed a miserable .209/.299/.291 against lefties in 2017. So against southpaws, Judge is an attractive option, but Aaron Hicks is arguably more suitable because of his quicker legs and .363 OBP against LHP.

Some MLB managers are buying into the latest trend and disagreeing with us Yanks Go Yard writers. How dare they! Do they even know anything about baseball? Perhaps they know something we don’t.

Why are power hitters batting first nowadays?

Last year, Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch positioned George Springer in the No. 1 spot, and he immediately flourished. Springer was selected to his first All-Star Game and won the World Series MVP after a five home run performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon has a reputation for implementing innovative baseball strategy. He flirted with the idea of batting slugger Kyle Schwarber in the leadoff spot. Now it appears Ian Happ, who like Judge strikes out a lot, will win the leadoff job even though he also is a power hitter.

If Judge bats first, then it would be apparent that Boone is buying into the new-school leadoff hitter strategy. ESPN’s David Schoenfield analyzed the trend last year, and it’s weird to see how many teams were using this innovative approach.

"On May 1, these players were leadoff hitters in MLB games: Kyle Schwarber, Mike Moustakas, Seth Smith, Carlos Santana, Michael Conforto and George Springer. Among this group are power hitters, two former catchers, three guys who would generously be described as slow, and one guy who is a slow, power-hitting former catcher coming off knee surgery."

Then, Schoenfield later explained that the theory centers around the idea of on-base percentage being the most critical factor for a leadoff hitter. The speedy players who are known for beating out ground balls and stealing bags are no longer the perfect fit for batting first.

What do you think?

In my opinion, this experiment seems like a waste of run-producing opportunities for a team’s best hitters. The philosophy seems overly simplistic, and could only work with teams loaded with talent up and down their lineup like the Houston Astros last year.

Next: Tyler Wade's got a bag full of tricks

But then again, the Yankees have a stacked lineup on paper heading into 2018. What do you baseball fans think? I asked the Twitterverse last week for their opinion on Greg Bird batting third, and now I’ll ask you this: