2. Big Boy Outfield
Of course, the easiest way to deemphasize Hicks is right in front of Aaron Boone and the Yankees, considering they have more effective starters at every position, and considering Giancarlo Stanton has been rejuvenated by playing the field on a semi-regular basis.
The Yankees have considered their Big Boy Outfield a novelty over the past few seasons, but using Aaron Judge (or Joey Gallo, please?!) in center, flanked by Stanton and the Italian Stallion, opens up the DH spot for Josh Donaldson/Gleyber Torres, and allows the Yanks to use Donaldson, Torres, and DJ LeMahieu in the same lineup.
This is a win-win-win-win-win, with the only loser being Hicks’ playing time.
Though Torres seemed like a likely odd man out entering 2022 following a downturn in every metric that matters over the full 2021 season (and, in fact, he was benched on Opening Day), Hicks has now been unmasked as the far less dangerous bat. Torres’ hard-hit metrics match the apparent shift in his “clutch” aptitude this year; he’s near the top of the league, as his surface numbers continue to rise.
Hicks? He’s devastatingly in the blue, ranking in the 13th percentile in hard-hit percentage and 9th percentile in expected slugging, among other poor traits.
In essence, the Yankees’ best lineup includes everyone but Hicks, and they have a ready-made solution to employ three or four times per week.