With a very right-handed heavy lineup heading into next season, the Yankees should acquire some hitting from the left-side of the plate.
The New York Yankees have a lot of right-handed hitters in their lineup, something that concerns many Yankee fans. While yes you should always just start the most productive bats in a situation regardless of handedness, does it not feel like that short porch should be used? The Yankees can figure out a way to get some lefties to fill out spots in the infield and outfield rotations. While there aren’t any superstars on the market who are left-handed hitters, they still can get some talent. This team isn’t in need of stars, they need some cogs to maintain a well-oiled machine. These 3 players fit the left-handed holes on the New York Yankees roster.
Mitch Moreland 1B/DH
Mike Ford was supposed to give Luke Voit a challenge for the 1B spot, safe to say he didn’t. Luke Voit’s 2020 was enough to make him the clear-cut best first baseman on the roster. The Yankees could be in the market for a backup at 1B to be a left-handed power bat off of the bench. Mitch Moreland provides that sort of spark for the Yankees, but he’s not a conventional power guy. Unlike most power hitters, Mitch Moreland strikes out at a slightly below league average clip. He is a power hitter with great plate discipline as shown with a 10.5% BB% since 2018. Offensively he’s not going to knock your socks off but he’s still pretty good for a bench bat:
Considering that we need depth in the 1B/DH position (as shown with Mike Ford in the ALDS), we could get a bargain deal for a guy who’s going to pull flyballs over that short RF porch. His defense is also criminally underrated, with 3 OAA at first since 2018. A good glove and solid bat off of the bench is a solid player to buy into. He’s also pretty familiar with the AL East, with 3 and a half seasons in Boston. At $5-$6 million, I’d look into negotiating with Mitch Moreland.
Michael Brantley OF
This is just an obvious one for the Yankees, this is one of the better hitters in baseball, and he’s an instant fit. The only issue here is what to do with Clint Frazier, but that’s assuming they know. He’s a poor defender in the outfield, but his bat is why you push for him. Since 2018 he’s been able to post a 129 wRC+, .358 xwOBA, .363 wOBA, and .368 OBP. His numbers could also see a boost as Yankee Stadium is one of the most left handed friendly parks in terms of wOBA adjustments for hitters. It’s more favorable than even Houston, which would allow for Brantley to maintain his performance here. For 2 years at $34 million with an option for a 3rd year, this is a no brainer. He’d be an amazing left-handed bat ripe for the New York Yankees picking.
Tommy La Stella UTL
For me, Tommy LaStella is similar to a left handed DJ LeMahieu. Both have a very high contact percentage, are utility infielders, and both would be bargains at their prices. The Yankees could definitely see LaStella play around 100 games in the infield rotation if they selected him. His defense is shaky, as his defense at 2B and 3B is very volatile, but he can play multiple positions (including some 1B) at an average clip. The Yankees would also get an above average hitter, with a .339 wOBA and .340 xwOBA since 2018. Is he necessarily a flashy player? No, but he’s one of those players who would thrive as a 5th infielder of sorts for that infield rotation. His versatility and plus bat provides a lot for the Yankees to desire. At around 12 million for 2 years, you could be netting a very valuable role player.
The Importance of Versatility in the Lineup
The Yankees obviously shouldn’t just sign these three players because that’s a waste of assets, but versatility matters. Being able to mix and match players in the lineup for rest or for matchups is very important. The 2019 Nationals, 2020 Rays, and 2020 Dodgers are a model of what a lineup should be. Versatile, flexible, and optimized to face the pitcher on the mound. If the Yankees want to improve their lineup next season, a great way to do so is by adding some versatile left-handers to their lineup.
There are many routes the New York Yankees can go, but the left-handed hitting can definitely be a way to improve it.