The Yankees took care of their biggest lingering question on Sunday afternoon, naming top prospect Anthony Volpe their starting shortstop to begin the 2023 season after just 22 Triple-A games last year.
Volpe is entering rarefied air; he's the youngest Yankee to be starting on Opening Day since his idol, Derek Jeter, took the reins and never gave them back in 1996.
Now that that's settled, the Yankees mostly just need to sort out the order of their likely starters for Opening Day, as well as decide whether or not they're going to run their most reviled player out for the most ceremony-filled game of the regular season.
No, not the one at third base. The other guy.
As the clock ticks on final roster decisions, this Yankees lineup feels most likely, without too much wishful thinking.
Yankees Opening Day lineup: Predictions for March 30
The realistic lineup, while still featuring a little showmanship, is as follows:
DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Aaron Judge, CF
Anthon Rizzo, 1B
Giancarlo Stanton, RF
Gleyber Torres, DH
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Aaron Hicks, LF
Jose Trevino, C
Anthony Volpe, SS
No, I don't think Giancarlo Stanton will play right field again in the Opening Series against the Giants. But yes, I do think the Yankees will press this button for the opener after losing Harrison Bader and talking up Stanton's flexibility the past few weeks.
The only things that don't feel cut and dried about this lineup are:
- Aaron Judge's Position: It's probably center field ... right? But he could also work in left, if the Yankees want to get experimental quickly, or right, if the Yankees want to fulfill Wild Man Oswaldo Cabrera's dream and place him in center to start things off.
- Oswaldo's Inclusion: He'll probably be a super utility player throughout the year, but does he get a ceremonial Opening Day start? Especially since he's a better player than...
- Aaron Hicks: All indications are he'll get plenty of run as he enters the final three years of his seven-year contract (final three!). But will the Yankees start someone on Opening Day who'll fill the crowd with boos if he overruns a fly ball or grounds out with runners in scoring position?
- Will Gleyber Torres Be Benched for the Second Straight Opener?: No ... right? He's earned run this time around. That's why Oswald Peraza was sent down, right? Since Josh Donaldson won't be moved, it'll come down to whether the Yankees want to get DJ LeMahieu on his feet or not right away.
Saturday's Game 2 of the season, with Clarke Schmidt on the mound? Expect a mass shuffling. But, for the opener, this collection of talent feels right.