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  • Derek McAdam

Predicting the Yankees’ 2024 Opening Day Lineup

Predicting the Yankees’ 2024 Opening Day Lineup

By Derek McAdam

January 17, 2024

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The 2024 MLB regular season is only 70 days away its start, and while there is still plenty of time for additional free agents to sign with teams and trades that can occur, it’s never too early to predict the Opening Day lineups. The New York Yankees are set to start the season on the road with a four-game series against the Houston Astros, so here is my prediction on how the starting lineup will turn out. 


1. Gleyber Torres (2B)


Since DJ LeMahieu has struggled to produce offensively due to injuries over the past couple of seasons in the leadoff spot, Aaron Boone decides to use Torres in the same position to start the season as he was used down the stretch of 2023. Torres was arguably the Yankees’ most consistent hitter last season, so they’re hoping that he can pick up where he left off last season. Getting on base will be vital for this team, and Torres is the right player that can lead off games doing so. 


2. Juan Soto (RF) 


This may be both the player and position that may be subject for debate, but here’s my reasoning for putting Soto in this slot. First, Soto is known for working the pitch count and drawing many walks. Plus, he’s also a solid hitter. Putting him at the No. 2 will make pitchers think twice about having to pitch around him, so they may try and go straight at him, which may result in a mistake being made. 


As for right field, given that the Yankees won’t be playing at Yankee Stadium, I considered putting Soto in left field. However, my guess is that the organization wants him to get accustomed to playing right field as much as possible. 


3. Aaron Judge (CF) 


The reasoning why pitchers may not want to pitch around Soto is because of who is batting right behind him. Judge is an all-around solid hitter who doesn’t just rely on the home run ball, so this is going to be an issue for pitchers. I like Judge in the No. 3 slot since both Torres and Soto are both good at getting on base. In this position, Judge will have plenty of opportunities throughout the season to drive runs in. 


4. Anthony Rizzo (1B) 


After battling concussion symptoms for the majority of last season, Rizzo comes back ready to play and is slotted into the cleanup position. Before his injury on May 28, 2023, Rizzo was hitting .304 for the season. However, he ultimately finished the year with a .244 average before being shut down on Aug. 1 for the remainder of the year. While Rizzo may not have been able to keep the consistency for the entire season, his .304 average serves as inspiration for what could be in the making for the 2024 season, as long as he is fully healthy. 


5. Giancarlo Stanton (DH) 


While many Yankee fans would likely agree that Stanton should be lower on this list (which I can’t necessarily disagree with), he is not going to hit in the bottom of the lineup. The Yankees are hoping that Stanton’s work during the off-season results in better appearances at the plate, but only time will tell if that’s the case. 


6. DJ LeMahieu (3B) 


This is the part of the lineup which really gets dicey, because there can be several arguments made as to where each player may be batting. LeMahieu has not yet proven that he is back to his old form as a leader hitter, but it may be a reality that he never returns to that form. However, the Yankees are also hoping that LeMahieu’s offensive struggles came as a result of his nagging injuries. The 35-year old can still play well in the field, but they’re hoping that his offense can turn around. 


7. Alex Verdugo (LF) 


If I were running the team, Verdugo would be batting higher than where I project he will be for Opening Day. However, I think it is very likely that this is where he will start the season, particularly due to the depth that is ahead of him. Plus, the Yankees may want to have a left-handed batter in the bottom of the lineup, so Verdugo would fill that role perfectly. 


8. Jose Trevino (C) 


Trevino’s last 2023 game came on July 17, after which he underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his wrist that was bothering him since Spring Training. Trevino’s offense took a big step back from 2022, which may have been partially due to the nagging injury. However, it seems as if the injury will be fully healed going into the season. Hopefully, this will lead to a rebound season at the plate for Trevino.


9. Anthony Volpe (SS) 


Here’s my hope for Volpe. He starts in the No. 9 spot to start the season, but slowly works his way up the lineup as the season goes on. If he had a productive off-season and his offense improves early in the season, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s eventually hitting in the leadoff spot yet again. This is not a punishment being put in this position, by any means. I also like Volpe in this spot for when the lineup turns over. If Volpe can get on base, he has speed and can steal bases, which may ultimately result in more runs. 


As with anything, only time will tell if it ends up going in the Yankees’ favor. 


Starting Pitcher: Gerrit Cole


It seems pretty obvious that Cole will be the Yankees’ Opening Day starter, barring any injury, as he has started all four for the Yankees during his tenure in the Bronx. The Yankees want to get the season started off right, and going to the reigning Cy Young Award winner is the perfect option. 

19 Comments


jjw49
Jan 17

In January, your lineup makes sense if Bellinger is signed, the options for lineup versatility improve dramatically!

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fuster
Jan 17

a good, thoughtful proposal for the line-up, and it's no small thing


this is a group of players that might be configured in several ways.


to my mind, the only obviously optimal part is having Soto, Judge, Rizzo bat 2,3 & 4


I'm quite fond of the idea of having DJ bat in the middle of the order and think that Gleyber is probably the safest choice for lead-off


but I wonder if the team will, ultimately, be best served by making Gleyber responsible for a high OBP rather than for power numbers. Gleyber is certainly capable of restraint, but I wonder whether the organization might prefer to see Torres turned loose and swinging away,

it must be borne in…


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sfs1944
Jan 17

Paul would like to do this exercise closer to opening day. While the Yanks have improved there is more work to be done. Judge in CF?, Torres 2nd base?, possible trade, Verdugo L.F. possible trade? Still hoping Yanks obtain Bellinger, LeMahieu 3rd?. Trevino C ? The questions persist. Right at this moment your lineup makes sense. Hoping Hal and Cashman don’t disapoint again and view this as their finished product!

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Jan 17
Replying to

Hi SFS,

I'm sure others will do similar lineups.

To be clear, this is Derek McAdam's article. :)

I agree, the Yankees have more moves to make.

My Best,

Paul

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autmorsautlibertas
Jan 17

Your lineup would be greatly improved with Bellinger behind Judge.

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autmorsautlibertas
Jan 18
Replying to

Thank you for the courteous acknowledgement. Regards.

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Alan B.
Alan B.
Jan 17

My guess at the OD lineup:

3B LeMahieu

CF Judge

RF Soto

DH Stanton

1B Rizzo

2B Torres

LF Verdugo

SS Volpe

C Trevino


I cannot see at this point in time Cashman allowing Stanton to hit lower than 5th, which would be his spot if you flipped Judge & Soto. If it was up to me, Torres would be hitting 4th, with Stanton 6th. To start with. the days that Wells is at C, he hits 8th in my lineup, with Volpe 9th. Days Grisham plays and Stanton sits, everyone moves up one as Grisham hits 9th. When Peraza steps in straight for Volpe or LeMahieu, he goes into their spot in the lineup. Now, when LeMahieu play…

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