In what is always an exercise in futility we will look to construct what could be a possible Opening Day Lineup for the New York Yankees. And because the roster can change over quickly from the beginning of this writing to March 28th. We will use only the members of the assumed 12 men offensive roster.
The roster would include (in alphabetical order)
- Miguel Andújar
- Brett Gardner
- Aaron Hicks
- Aaron Judge
- DJ LeMahieu
- Austin Romine
- Gary Sanchez
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Gleyber Torres
- Troy Tulowitzki
- Luke Voit
- Tyler Wade (Tyler Wade added because of positional versatility over Clint Frazier to begin the season.)
Leading Off: Aaron Hicks
The new $70 million man is a versatile player for the New York Yankees. As he is a man that can lead off but also bat near the middle of the order. Having Hicks at the top of this Yankee lineup, however, gives the Yankees someone who works the count. Hicks is the kind of player that sees a lot of pitches throughout his at-bats. And that approach helps the rest of the lineup.
Batting Second: Gleyber Torres
Gleyber is built like the prototypical number two hitter. Torres is the type of hitter that sprays the ball all over the field and has very good bat control. Placing him into the number two slot in the order ahead of the heavy hitters is the ideal spot for the Yankee Second Basemen.
Best Hitter Batting Third: Aaron Judge
There is very little debate amongst critics, fans, and analyst combine that Aaron Judge is the Yankees best player. And as yester-year lineups were constructed the best hitter hit third. Now sabermetrics would say that the best hitter should hit second to get more at-bats throughout the course of the year. But in this Yankees lineup, Aaron Judge hitting third will not be at a lost of at-bats this season. Placing Judge third with Hicks and Gleyber ahead of him will give Aaron more opportunities to drive in even more runs.
Cleaning Up: Giancarlo Stanton
Cleaning up the loaded basepaths in the Bronx will be Big G, Giancarlo Stanton. Let’s just clear up one thing here, by no means did Stanton have a bad 2018 campaign. Period end of story. 38/100 are an incredible season, and anyone expecting another 59 home run campaign was banking on the delusional. Not that Stanton is incapable of producing another season of that caliber. But that kind of season cannot be expected. It is an exceptional season, not a normal season.
Now that we have cleared that up Giancarlo hitting fourth is the best place for him in this lineup. Much like with Aaron Judge, Stanton can drive in a lot of runs in this lineup. Placing Giancarlo in this spot gives him the ability to continue the barrage against the opposing pitchers. Teams will have to choose who they would rather pitch to, Judge or Stanton or the next man and there is no easy choice.
Batting Fifth: Gary Sanchez
The Yankees lineup is very right-handed hitting heavy. But placing the firing squad, that is Judge, Stanton, & Sanchez, in order strikes fear into the opposition. The 2018 season for Sanchez was an abhorrent one. But a season like that can light a fire under a man with the incredible talent that Gary possesses. And by all accounts, its lead to Gary getting himself into even better shape than we saw at the end of last season. A hungry Gary Sanchez with something to prove is a dangerous Gary Sanchez. Well dangerous for the rest of Major League Baseball, that is.
Second Leadoff Batting Sixth: Brett Gardner
This spot in the lineup is where some may differ, but I think it is the ideal spot for Bret Gardner. Following the righty heart of the order having Gardner who is a notoriously pesky hitter at the dish. Brett Gardner in the sixth spot in the order would allow the lineup to turn over before getting to the top of the order. Also having Gardy in the sixth spot would give Brett more incentive to steal bases. Gardner is usually a fixture at first base when batting ahead of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez. Placing Brett ahead of the 7, 8, and 9 batters makes Gardner the guy who gets the lineup going again.
Batting Seventh: Miguel Andújar
With the concept of Gardy being the second leadoff hitter, the second number two hitter is Miguel Andujar. And much like Gleyber Torres, Miguel has excellent bat to ball skills. Having Andujar hitting in the number seven spot give him the ability to hit with men on base. And with the doubles machine that Andujar has shown to be in 2018, he can drive in a ton of RBI’s in 2019.
Batting Eighth: Luke Voit
There is a real battle going on during Spring Training for the first base job. Both Luke Voit and Greg Bird have been playing exceptionally well but only one man can win the job. Luke Voit has the edge going in based on his performance in late 2018. And more importantly, because to this point health has not been a concern with Voit. (Knock on wood.) Therefore, Luke Voit makes the team out of Spring Training and is the starting first baseman.
Now the reason we place Voit in the number eight spot in the lineup is rather simple, the lineup is that deep. And when trying to maximize run production having someone with the raw power that Voit possesses at this spot helps “clean up” what gets left on base. Luke has shown signs of potential underrated greatness. But now the league will have a bigger sample size to work with during the 2019 season. Voit will have the opportunity to show that what Yankee fans saw during August and September 2018 was not a fluke.
Third Leadoff, Batting Ninth: Troy Tulowitzki
So let me begin by saying that I believe in Troy Tulowitzki. When the deal with Tulo was announced I was intrigued by the signing. The fact that the Yankees gave Troy a Full No Trade Clause. A Full No-Trade was given to a man earning the league minimum from the Yankees. This meant that what they saw was impressive enough to warrant such a clause. And it’s been reported for a long time that Troy was enamored with Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees.
Placing Troy in the ninth spot, much like with Voit at the eighth is about the depth of the lineup. Troy Tulowitzki can work the count, forcing more pitches to be thrown. When adding a healthy Tulo to this spot you remove even more pressure from him. This spot in the lineup allows Troy to relax let his natural ability to take over.