Why: The 33-year-old is off to the best start of his career, with nine homers and an .890 OPS in his first 42 games. He’s not moving out of the spot he’s occupied since the Yankees pushed down Jacoby Ellsbury midway through 2016.
(Adam Hunger | USA Today Sports)
2. Gary Sanchez C
Why: The Yankees remain convinced Sanchez is likely their best all-around hitter. They dropped him in the No. 2 spot to get him as many at-bats as they can. This experiment will continue. Sanchez has spent most of his minor-league career as a No. 3 guy.
(Chris O’Meara | AP)
3. Matt Holliday DH
Why: Holliday has hit in the No. 3 slot in 31 games. On the season, he’s hitting .275 with eight homers and an .870 OPS — looking like a bargain at the one-year, $13-million price for which the Yankees got him. No need to change now.
(Andy Marlin | USA Today Sports)
4. Starlin Castro 2B
Why: Castro is in the midst of his best season, too. Through 44 games, Castro is hitting .328 with seven bombs. His .866 OPS is sixth-best on the Yankees, which shows you just how well things are going. Another good sign: Castro has walked 11 times. He walked just 24 times last season and just 21 times in 2015. He’s set to just about double those totals. He’s hit fourth 23 times this year — a spot its doubtful the Yankees thought he’d be in when they acquired him from the Cubs.
Why: Judge seems more than comfortable hitting in the No. 5 slot, hitting there in 21 of of his 42 games. At the slot, he’s hitting .308 with four of his 14 home runs and a .939 OPS. Repeat after me: If it ain’t broke …
(USA Today Sports)
6. Greg Bird 1B
Why: The Yankees expect Bird to contribute and in a big way when he gets back from the disabled list with a right ankle bruise that limited him to just a .100 average through 19 games. They’ll start with him higher in the order, or at least that’s the guess, to show their faith in him.
Why: Gregorius could hit seventh or eighth, depending on where manager Joe Girardi would rather break up the lefties. Don’t forget, Gardner comes back around in the leadoff spot. The shortstop is having another big season, hitting .330 in 24 games since missing the first month due to a shoulder strain.
(Matt Rourke | AP)
8. Gleyber Torres 3B
Why: The No. 8 spot seems the best place to start Torres, who could shoot up in short order. Girardi did it with Judge and Tyler Austin last year, too, trying to keep the pressure off the hyped youngsters as long as he could. Torres projects to have middle-of-the-order potential. But that the Yankees don’t even really NEED it at the moment seems like a plus.