The New York Yankees are aiming to sign two outfielders this off-season, confirmed general manager Brian Cashman earlier this month. Center field and left field holes will certainly be addressed ahead of the crucial 2024 season. Amid a shortage of outfielders, the Yanks shortlisted a few high-end candidates.
Juan Soto, Cody Bellinger, and Shohei Ohtani were some left-handed hitting options that grabbed Yank’s attention. Having said that, out of the above-mentioned options, Bellinger relatively seemed to be a more realistic possibility. However, some problematic analytics came to light that could jeopardize the Yankees’ dream pursuit.
Cody Bellinger’s Low Hard Hit Rate Raise Alarm Bells In Yankees Front Office!
In the midst of the hot stove off-season, an unexpected twist has added a layer of uncertainty to the New York Yankees’ pursuit of star outfielder Cody Bellinger. A worrying statistic has emerged, casting doubt on whether the Yankees will proceed with full vigor in the Bellinger sweepstakes. The statistic in question revolves around Bellinger’s ability to hit the ball hard. As per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Cody’s hard-hit rate was as low as 31.4% in the 2023 season. Apparently, the outfielder’s high batting average covered up for the low hard-hit rate as Bellinger registered a breakout season in 2023. However, the Yanks analytics department picked the issue up ahead of free agency and raised concerns about the same.
Meanwhile, the New York Yankees, historically, have prioritized hitters with extensive capability of hitting the ball hard. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are perfect examples of the Yanks approach. However, after the lost 2023 season, the team is likely to change its approach. Judge earlier said that he wants to have players with high batting average who could draw walks and create scoring opportunities. Basically, a hitter who can execute the basics of hitting on the plate. If the Bombers head towards the same approach, perhaps Cody Bellinger could make the cut. He finished the season with a .307 batting average and 97 RBIs. Ultimately, the decision will hinge on the Yanks’ confidence in Bellinger’s ability to adapt and improve in the face of this statistical challenge. If the front office believes in his capacity to make adjustments and remain a force in all situations, the pursuit may well continue.
Juan Soto A Potential Alternative For Cody Bellinger!
If Cody Bellinger falls short of the New York Yankees requirements, Juan Soto is the next viable option in line. The generational star can offer everything the team needs and perhaps more. Moreover, with the San Diego Padres caught in a whirlwind of financial difficulties, Soto can be the next big name on the trade block. However, AJ Preller, the Padres general manager, is making Yanks’ life miserable.
Preller wants the Padres to contest for the championship in 2024. Since Juan Soto is a key puzzle of their roster, trading him won’t help the cause. Thus, the GM wants to hold on to Soto till the mid-season trade deadline. If so happens, the Yankees’ outfield holes will remain unaddressed in the 2024 MLB season as well.