Aaron Judge delivers high praise about Yankees' under-the-radar new hire

New York Yankees Photo Day
New York Yankees Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

If the Yankees had a communication problem to solve entering 2023, they appear to have moved towards a significant fix.

Scratch that -- no "ifs" needed. The Yankees did have a communication problem last year. Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole, the team's two centerpieces on either side of the ball, both agreed that a significant disconnect had festered between the team's analytics department and the way that group's findings were communicated. Regardless of the way the other 24 men on the roster felt, if Judge and Cole are aggrieved ... there's an issue.

As Judge succinctly put things while speaking to The New York Post's Greg Joyce, "He’ll be able to filter through the numbers, filter through stuff of maybe, ‘Hey, we’re getting these numbers,’ or, ‘We’re focused on this because of X, Y and Z’ instead of just looking at something and saying, ‘Hey, we gotta do this,’ or, ‘This needs to be fixed.’"

If the Yankees had someone in place last year who was ordering rather than teaching, the issue is plain. Now, they're relying on a former MIT physicist who Judge called the "smartest guy here" and caught working late at night while he tried to sneak into the facility to take some secret cuts. That'll play.

Yankees peg "smartest guy" to help Aaron Judge, fix analytics

Leanhardt isn't jumping right from the classroom to the weight room; he's been involved in the Yankees organization since 2018, and has worked as a hitting instructor at the lower levels of the minors.

While he won't be tasked with that responsibility at the big-league level, he'll instead serve as one of the most intellectually overqualified middle men in the history of the game -- and he's already received the ringing endorsement from his most important champion.

He earned Judge's trust by showing, not by telling. He was in the facility during Judge's solo hours, putting in the work. Was he playing chess and trying to get caught to prove his dedication? We may never know. But, instead of taking the Yankees back to the '80s, Judge's request to alter their approach to analytics might've landed them an additional (and surprisingly relatable) genius. Shame on everyone who assumed differently.

Perhaps the audit (ducks) ... worked?