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Analysis

Yankees: Who Should Be The Opening Day Center Fielder?

With Aaron Hicks once again not available for Opening Day, who should the Yankees decide to go with as their starting center fielder?

For the second year in a row, the Yankees are looking for a center fielder on Opening Day that isn’t Aaron Hicks. Hicks underwent Tommy John at end of October and it’s expected that the Yankees will be without him for most of the year. Let’s take a look at three options for the center field job.

Brett Gardner

This is the most obvious choice for CF come opening day. The Yankees re-signed Gardner to a one-year deal worth $10.5 mil, with a second-year option worth $10 mil. Gardner is coming off his best offensive season in his career, after a very disappointing 2018.

In 2019, Gardner slashed .251/.325/.503 while hitting a career-high 28 home runs and driving in a career-high 74 RBIs. While I don’t think Gardy is going to repeat this season offensively, it is safe to say that he will continue to play great defense for the Yankees. In 2019, Gardy complied a respectable DRS of 5. Gardy is a safe choice for the job.

Mike Tauchman

This is a very popular choice among Yankees fans. At first, Tauchman was not liked at all as he could not hit to save his life. But after a brief send down to the minors, Tauchman came back a changed man. In 2019, Tauchman slashed .277/.361/.504 while hitting 13 home runs and driving in 47 runs.

Tauchman showed he could handle the bat well and could hit both righties and lefties. But what really makes Tauchman an interesting choice is his amazing defense. While playing all outfield positions in 2019, Tauchman ended the year with a DRS of 16. That is quite amazing as Tauchman only played in 87 games. Tauchman could very well be battling it out with Gardner come spring training.

Clint Frazier

This one probably won’t happen but it is interesting to think about. Frazier has shown that he can handle the bat well at the major league level. In 2019, Frazier slashed .267/.317/.489 while hitting 12 home runs and driving in 38 runs. Frazier will not get the nod in center as his defense is awful but it is interesting to think about how he will be used in 2020

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