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Yankees Mailbag: The leadoff hitter, Hoy Jun Park, and outfielder stocks

Check out the answers to this week’s mailbag right here.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Good morning everyone, let’s open up the mailbag for more of your Yankees questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

#UseTheOpener!!! asks: At what point should the Yankees seriously consider moving DJ LeMahieu out of the leadoff spot?

Realistically, there’s no player currently on the team that Boone would consider a leadoff hitter that is also performing well enough to warrant shaking things up in the lineup that much. Statistically speaking though, the player most deserving of the leadoff spot at the moment is Aaron Judge.

Putting Judge in the one hole might be not be the most optimal use of his power, but if we’re being honest the lineup hasn’t been putting many batters on base for his at-bats anyway. Having a guy with a .392 OBP starting the game off is about as good as you could ask for, and would be a 61 point improvement over what LeMahieu is bringing this season. It would also maximize the amount of at-bats that Judge and Stanton, the two best hitters in the lineup, would be getting, and is something that I would advocate for.

It’s pretty unlikely that LeMahieu suddenly jumps back to his 2020 form, at least for this season, so if I was contemplating this move I would go with it ASAP. Is that going to happen? More than likely, no. Even if LeMahieu won’t reach the peak he played at last year, the team has faith that he will rebound somewhat — and if that means getting closer to his 2019 numbers, Boone and company would take it and keep him at the top.

CANL asks: How close to MLB ready is Hoy Jun Park?

It’s possible that Park could see a window for his MLB debut this year, but the more likely answer for an ETA is 2022. Park started out this season with Double-A Somerset and didn’t accomplish much during his short stint there, but he was called up to Triple-A Scranton in the middle of May. Park’s bat has heated up since that promotion, slashing .356/.486/.695 with five home runs and 14 RBI, though that’s a sample size of just 17 games.

Park is hitting well above his weight currently — he’s got a career .725 OPS in the minors — but even if he’s due for some regression, he’s showing promising signs for the RailRiders. His versatility as a middle infielder is a bonus as well, and the Yankees are certainly thin on depth at just about every position right now, so it’s feasible that he gets a shot at being a utility player on the bench. The question is where he will be in the future — do the Yankees commit a 40-man roster spot for him, or let him test minor league free agency?

Philly Mike asks: How much has Andújar improved his stock since the season began? And on the other hand, how much stock has Frazier lost with his disappointing sophomore slump?

Andújar has been the biggest positive surprise from the lineup, inserting himself back in the conversation after drifting in no-man’s land for nearly all of the last two years. He still has a lot of work to do defensively, to say the least, and the fact that he’s getting consistent time in left was more a testament to the Yankees’ injuries and ineffectiveness than him barging through the door — but he’s making progress now that he’s here.

While Andújar’s stock has risen considerably, Clint Frazier’s has unfortunately fallen on hard times. If I were to compare the two, I’d say Andújar has climbed more than Frazier has fallen, but that’s because I legitimately did not think Andújar was ever going to get playing time at the start of this year. Frazier is still with the big league team despite his slump, but that is also thanks to the aforementioned depth problems.

His future as an everyday starter for the Yankees is in jeopardy of disappearing almost as fast as he earned it last year, but he’s still got roughly 100 games left to turn things around. Frazier has been one of the most consistent Yankees at looking for adjustments, constantly tinkering his stance in the box, and regardless of whether that’s helping or hurting him this year it shows that he knows something isn’t right with him. I don’t think he’ll make the leap that he showed signs of making last year in that time frame, but like so many of the hitters in this lineup I have a hard time believing that he’s the .616 OPS player that he’s been so far.