The New York Yankees had used Aaron Judge as a leadoff hitter 34 times in the regular season and are doing so again in the playoffs. Former Yankees All Star Alex Rodriguez is not a fan of the strategy.
During the broadcast on Friday, he called the Yankees’ strategy “ridiculous” and “gimmicky baseball.” He invoked the memories of Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz, stating that those players did not lead off.
New York Yankees doing the right thing with Aaron Judge
Baseball has changed since Rodriguez played. While there was a focus on getting on base, that has gotten even more prevalent over the past few years. Teams want players who can get on base in the leadoff spot, regardless of whether or not they are more of a traditional middle of the order bat.
This was something that started in the mid to late 1980s with the Red Sox and Dwight Evans. While it had fallen out of favor until recently, players such as Judge and Shohei Ohtani have found themselves hitting leadoff regularly.
It is a strategy that makes sense. Judge would get more plate appearances, allowing for a larger opportunity to do damage. If he launches one, the Yankees have an immediate run on the board. Judge also has surprising speed for a player his size, stealing 16 bases in 19 chances. He would have that speed element that Rodriguez would seem to want atop the lineup.
There is also the question of who else the Yankees should put there. Aaron Hicks is terrible. Harrison Bader may be having an impressive start to his postseason with the Yankees, but is also coming off of injury and was not exactly stellar when he came back in September. Isiah Kiner-Falefa? Gleyber Torres? Who, exactly, would be a better option? Rodriguez does not offer a solution – just criticism.
Alex Rodriguez feels that the New York Yankees are making a mistake by having Aaron Judge hit leadoff. He is completely wrong.