Who’s the Best Hitter on the Yankees?

In an era predicated on the offensive side of the ball, the New York Yankees have built an offensive juggernaut in hopes of capturing their 28th World Series title.

In 2019 alone, the team had 13 hitters (min. 100 plate appearances) finish with a wRC+ above 100. Of those 13, 11 of them had a 115 or above wRC+. When you look at numbers like that, it’s no wonder that the Yankees had one of the top two offenses in the league, putting themselves within two wins of a World Series date with the Washington Nationals.

But who is the team’s best hitter?

The concept of being the “best” at something is a very loaded one, as there are multiple ways to be a productive member of a lineup. You can be the best hitter in the sense that you lead them in home runs, but you can also be the team’s best hitter based on your quality of contact and expected stats.

However, from the Yankees’ standpoint, there’s a very clear and obvious frontrunner for the best hitter on the team. We will be presenting the case, as well as assessing who the No. 1 hitter is for one of baseball’s most potent offenses.

Note: All numbers are since the beginning of the 2017 season, as three-year sample sizes tend to lead to the most accuracy. Because of this timetable, Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres’s cases will not be included. However, both of them would rank within my top five Yankees hitters.

Gary Sanchez

Sanchez burst onto the scene with an explosive 2016 campaign, posting a slash line of .299/.376/.657 with a wRC+ of 170. Had he managed to have more volume than 53 games (229 plate appearances), he might’ve been able to usurp Detroit’s Michael Fulmer for American League Rookie of the Year.

In reality, he probably should’ve won anyway; nevertheless, he finished second.

But that’s neither here nor there, as we’re basing things off of the past three seasons. Sanchez has struggled with injuries and consistency, never truly replicating the success of his 2016. However, he’s carved out numbers that are quite impressive. In 1,345 plate appearances, the Yankees’ catcher has a wRC+ of 115, a .343 wOBA, an ISO of .257, and an OPS of .815.

Very good, but certainly not the best.

DJ LeMahieu

This one is the most frustrating one of the bunch, as people live with a “what have you done for me lately?” mindset.

If you base it off of 2019, LeMahieu is one of the better hitters in the league. However, we’re basing it off of the last three seasons. When you do that, you see that 2019 is more of an outlier season than many are leading on.

Since 2017, LeMahieu has a wRC+ of 106 (largely skewed due to a 136 rating in 2019), a wOBA of .347, an ISO of .147, and 46.0 weighted runs above average (wRAA). If you look at his entire career, you see those numbers are even worse: 97 wRC+ (below average), a .336 wOBA, a .120 ISO, and just 75.0 wRAA.

People need to understand that sometimes players have random seasons of being elite, but odds are he isn’t capable of repeating the career year he had at 31 years old.

Aaron Hicks

Hicks is quickly becoming one of baseball’s most underrated players, mainly because his name doesn’t bring the same kind of ring as some of his teammates’ do.

However, he’s been a quiet monster, despite injuries, since becoming a Yankee ahead of the 2017 season.

Since then, the outfielder has accumulated 1,197 plate appearances and posted a wRC+ of 123, a wOBA of .353, and a walk rate (14.4 percent) that ranks 12th in the league. He, like LeMahieu, has a below-average wRC+, but he has posted more above-average seasons (101 or above wRC+) than LeMahieu has.

Giancarlo Stanton

You ever hear somebody get called “overrated” so many times that they become underrated? That’s basically Giancarlo Stanton.

Since winning the National League MVP in 2017, all he’s done is be productive when healthy. While the health has remained in question, the production has remained constant.

In 1,469 plate appearances, Stanton has posted a slash line of .274/.361/.566 with a wRC+ of 143, a wOBA of .384, an ISO of .291, and 81.2 wRAA. That is pretty sensational for somebody who has been dubbed “soft,” “overrated,” and “bad” for the previous 18 months by his own fan base.

In terms of true talent, he’s easily the second-best hitter in the Yankees lineup.

So who’s better than him?

The Yankees’ best hitter: Aaron Judge

Say what you want about Judge’s “durability issues,” but there’s no denying the kind of force that No. 99 is when he steps into the batter’s box.

He’s human, so he’s still prone to some incredibly cold streaks, but the fact remains that Judge is one of baseball’s most feared hitters.

Following the same three-year sample size as the rest of the bunch, Judge’s numbers look other-worldly: .279/.401/.572 with a wRC+ of 157 and a wOBA of .405. On top of that, Judge has an ISO of .293, 117.6 wRAA, an OPS of .973, and walk-rate of 16.5 percent.

Yes, he strikes out a lot (30.9 percent since 2017), but he’s still easily New York’s best hitter when looking at true talent. Over that span, Judge ranks first among Yankees in wRC+, wOBA, OPS, and wRAA, as well as second in ISO and walk rate.

The Yankees’ best hitter from a statistical standpoint is very clearly Aaron Judge. While he has had his run-ins with the injured list, the fact remains that there should be nobody else in the Yankees’ lineup that you’d want to face less than No. 99 in pinstripes.

All rise. Here comes the Judge.

Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *