There has been much debate as to what lineup the Yankees should be putting out on Opening Day, but we created our ideal lineup for the Bronx Bombers.
Over the last few weeks, the idea of constructing a lineup has been met with much debate. Where should your best hitter be placed ? Third? As was the case for hundreds of years, or maybe second? As the new wave of analytics suggest. Ultimately, every team and the subsequent manager have an idea of where to place the best hitter on the team and the 2018 New York Yankees will be no different.
In the book “The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball” by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman and Andrew Dolphin they break down the average number of times each position in the lineup comes up to the plate as well as what percent of the time they have men on base. Obviously there is a trade off, based on placement, in terms of more plate appearances or the potential of more runners on base ahead of them. Using these principals the ideal placement for the best hitter is the second spot in the lineup.
Then the decision becomes determining who is the teams best hitter for the stacked offense in the Bronx? In deciding who is the Yankees best hitter one must use a combination of the “Eye Test” and statistical analysis. Both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were both placed in the “two hole” during the 2017 seasons for the Yankees and Miami Marlins respectively. Judge and Stanton were the most feared hitter in all of baseball last season, both men hit over 50 homeruns. Yes 50 homeruns, both men played MVP caliber seasons (Stanton won the NL MVP, Judge was 2nd in AL MVP voting). So choosing between these two could be decided by a coin flip. However, with Stanton coming in to the American League and facing new pitchers and adjusting to new circumstances in spending a lot of time as the Designated Hitter, we will choose Aaron Judge.
Placing Judge in the 2 hole allows us to fill in the rest of this power packed lineup with on base guys ahead of him and more fire power behind him.
Now we build the ideal Opening Day lineup.
1. LF Brett Gardner.
Yankees fans, does Brett Gardner know what a walk off is like?? … Well, of course he does! 😎 pic.twitter.com/AUzhI2zlu1
— Matt Castrovinci (@yankeesfan8989) March 18, 2018
Gardner had a career year in 2017 in the power department knocking out 21 homeruns. Gardy is a patient batter that looks for his pitch and is pesky until he gets it. If you don’t believe it just take a look at his at bat in game 5 of the ALDS.
2. RF Aaron Judge.
Opening Day cannot come soon enough. #AllRise pic.twitter.com/uHjoS013aR
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 22, 2018
Now we’ve already covered why you have a guy who hit 52 homeruns in 2017 hitting in the two spot as opposed to lower in the order but the quick answer is very simple. Judge has a tremendous eye at the plate. Sure he will strike out a lot so will every other guy who has 50+ homerun power. However, Judge also has an uncanny ability to draw a walk, made clear by walking a rookie record 127 times in 2017.
3. DH Giancarlo Stanton.
.@Giancarlo818 making it look easy 😏 pic.twitter.com/hVh9kHKb2q
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 24, 2018
Placing Judge and Stanton back to back gives the Yankees the best opportunity to jump on the board early in games. As Judge and Stanton are going to be pitched similarly based on their physical similarities. Stanton much like Judge has 50+ homerun power potential as he displayed with his 59 homerun performance in 2017. Now playing in the friendlier confines of Yankee Stadium and witnessing the approach Stanton’s had this Spring, it’s possible we may see that number increase.
4. 1B Greg Bird.
New year, same Greg Bird. #Yankees pic.twitter.com/CkgfqFyFWI
— Patrick Hennessy (@TrueHennessy) March 18, 2018
Now this is hoping for the best in regards to Greg Bird’s potential right foot injury. A healthy Greg Bird is best suited in between two of the three big right handed bats. Batting in this position for a full season we could see a potential 40 homerun season.
5. C Gary Sanchez.
Gary Sanchez HOME RUN … Get used to this, Yankees fans.
LIVE stream: https://t.co/3av2GlcEUD pic.twitter.com/1IbuVBbmPA
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 18, 2018
Sanchez has the opportunity to be the best hitter in this lineup and hitting below Judge, Stanton and Bird he has the potential to drive in 130 RBIs this season on route to a quiet MVP caliber type season. Judge, Stanton, Bird and Sanchez have the type of ability that (if healthy) they can hit nearly 200 homeruns as a quartet.
6. SS Didi Gregorius.
Didi Gregorius went yard today for the second time this spring for #Yankees: pic.twitter.com/QnjywHQH1a
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) March 11, 2018
Didi has turned into one of the most reliable players in all of Major League Baseball. Once considered a “platoon” player Didi has cemented himself in as an everyday all-star caliber shortstop. Last season, Didi hit 25 homeruns in an injury shortened year. This season in this lineup we can potential see that number go even higher as well as seeing his RBI total grow as well.
7. 3B Brandon Drury.
Two-out double for Brandon Drury, as #Yankees don't get any runs in first inning against the #RedSox: pic.twitter.com/FtaULj4cM3
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) March 3, 2018
Brandon Drury, the prized acquisition of General Manager Brian Cashman. Drury was a coveted piece by Cash and before the start of Spring Training Brian was able to secure him in a late three team trade. This move made many people reminiscent of the deal that brought the Yankees aforementioned Didi Gregorius. Brandon’s former Manager Torey Lovullo was quoted in saying that Drury could have 30 in the Yankees lineup this season.
8. CF Aaron Hicks
Aaron Hicks launches a homer to right. #Yankees get on the board first today. pic.twitter.com/sxmXPg8o0t
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) March 3, 2018
Aaron Hicks on another team would be batting a lot higher in the order and that just goes to show how deep this lineup is. Hicks much like Bird needs a healthy season to truly match his potential. Hicks is another man in this lineup that can have a 30 homerun type season.
9. 2B Tyler Wade.
Tyler Wade belts a ball into the wind, settling for a sac fly. #Yankees pic.twitter.com/eQiZcrLoSb
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) March 4, 2018
Wade has played like a man possessed this Spring and has truly earned his spot on this roster. Tyler has a spectacular glove and that’s always been known, but this past off-season he revamped his swing in working with future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Those changes have let Wade’s quick hands do the work for him. With having Wade in this spot in the lineup he and Gardner can get on base for the big boppers.
This lineup is going to score a lot of runs and hit a lot of homeruns. Having these guys in these positions this Thursday, March 29, and going forward in this season will give this team best possibility to achieve the ultimate goal which is winning the World Series. This lineup will be given the best opportunity to get that Opening Day victory for our ace Luis Severino.