Yankees slugging outfield prospect Aaron Judge turns 25 next month, he’s played 154 games across two seasons at the Triple-A level, and he’s batted .327/.393/.564 this spring. All of that is to say, he’s ready for the highest level. However, it’s looking like Judge won’t be breaking camp with the big-league club ...
Yankees still thinking about having Aaron Judge begin the season in Triple-A. Girardi: "He needs to play, that's the bottom line."— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 29, 2017
Very likely this would mean that Aaron Hicks would be the Yankees’ starting right fielder to open the season. Hicks certainly has his merits as a fourth outfielder, but he’s put up an OPS+ of 77 across parts of four major-league seasons. That’s not even close to adequate by the standards of regular corner outfielders. Ignore Judge’s spring performance if you prefer -- it’s usually wise to ignore spring performances -- and he still profiles as much more valuable contributor in 2017 than Hicks does.
Perhaps this is much ado about little, and Judge will indeed be summoned to the Bronx very soon. When it comes to putting the best team on the field, though, it’s hard to make a case for Hicks over Judge. The Yankees, though, may have talked themselves into doing just that.