This post was inspired by a post on Call to the Pen about the All-Time Lists: Greatest 25 Man Roster in MLB History. So it got me thinking about who my own personal Favorite New York Yankees 25 Man Roster would be. So this list had to have some qualifiers as I wanted it to be players that I have seen play. So the time frame that I can recall seeing is 1994 through the present so only players that played in that time frame will be eligible for my list. Also this list isn’t necessarily about who accrued the most homeruns or rbi’s or who had the highest batting average. It is merely a list of the players I enjoyed watching and rooting for. It is a completely subjective list and I urge you to make your own list and see the fun/difficulty of putting list like this together. This list is a little more fun that difficult but I will also be having my Favorite 25 Man Roster which was much more difficult to cultivate because of the amount of great players throughout the years. So here is my Favorite Yankees 25 Man Roster List.
So we’re gonna start around the infield first and the guy most involved in everything the catcher.
CATCHERS: JORGE POSADA & GARY SANCHEZ
Jorge and Gary are very similar in that they were known for their offensive games before their catching ability. However, both guys were more than capable defenders. Sado had 275 homeruns as a catcher for the Yankees and in just 177 games at the catching position Sanchez has 53. Both guys play with a fire and passion that comes from the latin blood coursing through their veins.
FIRST BASE: MART TEIXEIRA & TINO MARTINEZ
Teixeira and Martinez were crucial parts for the Yankees in winning the World Series (Teixeira 09, Martinez 96, 98, 99, 00). Both guys played great at first base and were hitting in the middle of the order.
SECOND BASE: ROBINSON CANO
Cano Don’t Cha Know has to be the second baseman for this Yankee squad. The sweet left handed swing built for Yankee Stadium, the rocket right arm. Cano makes this look smooth in pinstripes.
THIRD BASE: ALEX RODRIGUEZ & WADE BOGGS
Two of the best at what they did. Boggs one of the best pure hitters I ever had the pleasure to watch. Wade seemingly had the ability to place the ball wherever he saw fit. And Alex Rodriguez was my favorite player of all time and was one of the greatest. players ever. Rodriguez ended up with 696 homeruns and of those 351 came in a Yankee uniform.
SHORTSTOP: DEREK JETER & DIDI GREGORIUS
Obviously, the Captain and one of the greatest Yankee players in the history of the franchise will be the starting Shortstop. Not much more is needed to be said about the Captain, his greatness and resume speaks for itself. Didi had a tough task in 2014 in coming in after the Captain and asked to manage a position that had been locked down for 20 years. However, Didi has developed into a star in the Bronx. From clutch 3 run homeruns to his post game emoji filled tweets recapping the events of the evening Didi has quickly endeared himself to all Yankees fans. On to the outfield.
LEFT FIELD: BRETT GARDNER
Gardy makes the party. Brett Gardner has been an underrated player throughout his tenure with the Yanks. A perennial gold glove caliber left fielder Gardner continues to get better offensively every season. And his hustle in the field and on the bases along with his peskiness at the plate just spoiling all kinds of pitches make him beloved by Yankee fans. (Gardy’s 12 pitch AB in the 2017 ALDS
CENTER FIELD: BERNIE WILLIAMS
Bern Baby Bern, Bernie Williams was one of the greatest Yankees ever. His post season statistics are something to behold and his regular season numbers weren’t to shabby either. The switch hitter who belongs in Cooperstown, will definitely be enshrined on my list as my center fielder.
RIGHT FIELD: PAUL O’NEILL, AARON JUDGE & NICK SWISHER
The Warrior, The Judge and Swishalicious. these three men all bring something different to the proverbial table on this hypothetical 25 man roster. Power, poise and pure unbridled passion for the game of baseball. Get ready for a fun offensive season from this bunch.
DESIGNATED HITTER: HIDEKI MATSUI
A Thrilla by Godzilla, or John Sterling’s homerun call for Matsui was something heard many a times. Matsui helped bring the World Series title back to the Bronx, back to the Canyon of Heroes with his game 6 performance in the 2009 World Series. So with many fond memories Godzilla destroys Tokyo and my DH spot.
The lineup isn’t all we have however, where only in the game of baseball where the defense has the ball. We need our pitching staff to take hold and dominate so here are my starting pitchers.
ACE #1: ANDY PETTITTE
Let’s be clear these guys are all aces so they aren’t in any particular order. Now the “Pickoff King” Andy Pettitte has been the best Yankee pitcher in the post season and with this team no chance we aren’t in the post season every year.
ACE #2: LUIS SEVERINO
The fire and passion that spawns from within Sevvy is amazing to see. 100 mph fastball and a devastating slider and in 2017 Sevvy reintroduced the world to his changeup that was helped refined by former Yankee nemesis Pedro Martinez. Now after finishing 3rd in the 2017 Cy Young voting Sevvy looks to carry the new Yankee Dynasty to it’s first World Series Championship victory of many.
ACE #3: DAVID CONE
Coney authored a “Perfect Game” and no is a saber-metric guru and will use his advanced knowledge to help this team get batters out.
ACE #4: CC SABATHIA
CC went from flame thrower to crafty lefty and has continued to produce at a high level from the Yankees. From his mentorship with Andy Pettitte to now being a mentor himself CC has the pedigree to help this team to a championship.
ACE #5: MIKE MUSSINA
The Real Moose (No offense to Moustakas) Mike Mussina had an amazing run with the Yankees. Pitching during the “Steroid Era” wasn’t easy yet Mussina did so at a very high level. Moose was able to paint corners change speeds and otherwise befuddle hitters. Mussina deserves to be in the Hall of Fame (but I already covered that in my post “A Ballad of Truth, Opinion and Controversy: My Unofficial Hall of Fame Ballot”).
Now on to the bullpen. The usage of relievers has changed over the years especially over the last few years so my bullpen will play host to the more modern relievers. Again in no particular order my relief aces are…
RELIEF ACE #1: DAVID ROBERTSON
The Harry Houdini of escaping from bases loaded. David Robertson has had a knack for leave men stranded on base. Robertson is tied with the greatest closer of all time Mariano Rivera with a Left on Base Percentage (LOB%) of 81.2% (minimum 300 innings pitched (IP) with Yankees). Robertson can get you out of a potential jam and thus he’s’ in my bullpen.
RELIEF ACE #2: ANDREW MILLER
Though Miller’s time with the Yankees was short lived he was absolutely dominate and filthy. Miller manage a 1.74 ERA and a ridiculous 14.89 K/9. Miller only pitched 107 innings for the Yankees but he definitely left an impression and therefore makes the bullpen.
RELIEF ACE #3 DELLIN BETANCES
Betances has had a roller coaster career, a once failed starter found a new home in the bullpen. And has found success there, though also some setbacks. However, there is no denying the undeniable talent that resides in the right arm that Betances wields. Betances has over 300 innings pitched for the Yankees and has a K/9 of 14.47 and an overall ERA of 2.31. Betances has also had his share of Houdini like moments with a LOB% of 79.8 which would place Betances on behind Mo and Robertson (minimum 300 IP).
RELIEF ACE #4: AROLDIS CHAPMAN
The Cuban Missile with the left arm that breathes fire. Mr 105 Aroldis Chapman always fines himself a top the fastest pitches of the year category each and every season. Chapman has been pretty effective fo the Yankees and will look to dominate and intimidate coming out of the pen for this team as well.
CLOSER: MARIANO RIVERA
Enter Sandman, of course on one else could occupy the position of closer on this team “save” (pun intended) for the man who did it better than anyone else in history. Mariano Rivera is the closer for my favorite Yankees 25 man roster. In case you weren’t sold on Mo (You must have never watched baseball) more men have walked on the moon (12) than have scored on Mariano in the post season (11).