I know it is probably the most cliché thing you can say about a veteran player that was signed by a team either in transition or towards the end of a rebuild but this is truly what is going on in the Bronx right now with their newly acquired designated hitter Matt Holliday. Holliday was signed to mash from the right side of the plate as a designated hitter, to add some insurance and depth at both the first base and outfield positions and to give the Yankees another big presence in the middle of the order but it seems like he may have been signed for another reason as well. Holliday may have been signed as a mentor for the young Yankees and may have also been signed to be a leader for the team. If he wasn’t signed with that purpose in mind he has taken it upon himself anyway to take the job with open arms, you know like a true Yankee would.
Holliday is specifically working with one of the Yankees top prospects Aaron Judge and he has a lot to potentially bring to the right fielder. About 11 years ago Holliday added a leg kick to his swing that would forever change his career as he immediately became one of the most potent hitters in baseball. From 2006-2012 after adding his leg kick Holliday averaged a .316/.393/.544 triple slash with 28 home runs, 104 RBI and 102 runs scored average per season. Holliday also made six All-Star teams during that seven-year span and will look to do the same for Judge and his career after an abysmal start to his MLB career in 2016.
Holliday has been surrounded by leaders and coaches his entire life so it makes sense that he is now in the position to pass along that knowledge. Holliday’s father, Tom, was the assistant baseball coach at Oklahoma State and Holliday spent time with players like Todd Helton and Albert Pujols as a younger player in his career. Now Holliday looks to be to Judge what Pujols, Helton and his father were to him because Holliday is a leader and is already showing that in his short time with the Yankees.
Judge was seen taking batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner field this week when Holliday walked up to Judge and said something to him. The very next pitch Judge belted over the fence for a home run, which is obviously very encouraging. If Holliday can work with the Yankees presumed everyday right fielder and get that kind of immediate success we could be in for a great season in 2017.