Isiah Kiner-Falefa is set to compete in a new position in the upcoming baseball season.
Despite still being in contention for the shortstop position, Kiner-Falefa will also be tested in the outfield, particularly in center field. With Harrison Bader’s injury sidelining him for six weeks, the Yankees are looking for capable players to take over the center-field position.
Aaron Boone, the Yankees manager, believes Kiner-Falefa would be a natural fit for the position due to his speed and athleticism.
Kiner-Falefa will have his first Grapefruit League action in center field over the weekend.
The Yankees are experimenting with Kiner-Falefa’s role and testing whether he can be a super utilityman.
He will also be tested in the corner outfield, and the Yankees hope he can develop into a player who can be plugged in at any spot.
Though the shortstop battle may be down to Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe, the center-field competition is still open, and there are many possibilities beyond Kiner-Falefa.
One such possibility is Aaron Judge, whom the Yankees acquired last season in part to lighten his load in the field.
However, the Yankees would prefer not to play Judge in center field every day. Estevan Florial, the former top prospect, is also in contention for the position.
He manned center field during a recent game and is the strongest outfield defender after Bader.
Rafael Ortega, who is in the major league camp as a non-roster invite, has impressed with his glove and his bat.
Aaron Hicks, who is competing for the left-field job, is also being considered for center field.
Finally, Oswaldo Cabrera, who is competing with Hicks in left field, is also learning center field and could see regular-season time there.
Boone believes that Kiner-Falefa and Cabrera have the ability to play many positions well, not just in a pinch but potentially throughout the season.