The New York Yankees will begin their season on March 29. in Toronto against the Blue Jays. This year’s squad will be looking to strike fear in opposing pitchers hearts as they roll out a new look lineup for the 2018 season.
Here is a look at the 2017 lineup the Yankees started with that looks a lot different than this year’s lineup will look.
1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Gary Sanchez C
3. Greg Bird 1B
4. Matt Holliday DH
5. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
6. Starlin Castro 2B
7. Chase Headley 3B
8. Aaron Judge RF
9. Ronald Torreyes SS
There will be quite a few changes made by first year Manager Aaron Boone with the additions of new players as well as breakout stars from last year. At least half of the positions will be filled by different names than were on the 2017 version for a variety of reasons.
Didi Gregorius did not start at shortstop because of an injury, Starlin Castro and Chase Headley were both traded during the offseason, Matt Holliday is a free agent, Jacoby Ellsbury likely doesn’t have a starting position anymore, and NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton moved over to the Bronx from Miami.
This leaves a few holes in the Yankees infield at third base and second base which will be the top spots the team will have to evaluate during Spring Training.
The hottest topics of discussion are whether or not the #1 prospect for the Yankees, INF Gleyber Torres, will be on the Opening Day roster. Torres is recovering from Tommy John surgery after sliding into home plate during a game last June. Andujar who came up last year and had just eight plate appearances, but batted .571 with 4 RBIs, is a leading contender for the Yankees to start at 3B but is not official yet.
The Yankees also signed Danny Espinosa and Jace Peterson to Minor League deals this offseason. The team also have Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade, and Thairo Estrada competing for spots. Torreyes, has played the most games and is the most likely to reach the opening day roster in some capacity.
Now for the fun stuff.
Here is my projected 2018 New York Yankees Opening Day Lineup:
1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton DH
4. Didi Gregorius SS
5. Gary Sanchez C
6. Greg Bird 1B
7. Aaron Hicks CF
8. Ronald Torreyes 2B
9. Miguel Andujar 3B
Here are some of my thoughts behind the predictions.
Gleyber Torres will be the Yankees primary second baseman for the majority of 2018. However, he will not start the season there for two main reasons.
- His injury. GM Brian Cashman has been on record saying that he does not want Torres to be rushed back and wants to make sure that nothing can happen to his star prospect. Cashman even went as far as to prevent Torres from playing winter ball in Venezuela, his home country, this offseason. Clearly, the front office is trying to play it safe.2. His eligibility to become a free agent down the line. The Yankees are going to pull what has recently been known as the Kris Bryant move. This means they will keep Torres down in the minor leagues for 12 days at the beginning of the season in order to delay his free agency six years down the line. If Torres has 12 less days of service time it will not count as a full 182-day season in that regard. Therefore, the Yankees will essentially get an extra year out of him which will be beneficial if he turns out to be the star that they anticipate him being.
Who bats cleanup?
Traditionally the most powerful hitter is the one who pats cleanup, ideally to have more people on base. However, with this new age of baseball, many managers are trying to push their best hitters towards the top of the lineup to get them as many at-bats as possible.
Judge saw a decent amount of time in the second spot in the lineup last year under Girardi and it may be a trend that continues under Aaron Boone. Part of the reason why the Yankees hired Boone was to be a manager who embraced a more analytical approach to the game while also being personable with his young core of players. Boone is likely to mix and match different lineups throughout the season and try different things. Gregorius also spent a lot of time in the fourth spot last season and will be a reliable left-handed bat to break up the righty power hitters of Stanton and Sanchez.
The New York Yankees season begins on March 29. The home opener at Yankee Stadium will be April 2.
For discussion, Follow Daniel McNatt on Twitter @DanielMcNatt96