The Yankees and Aaron Boone have toyed around with a number of different lineup combinations for the upcoming 2018 season to see what will work. With the announcement of Greg Bird having to undergo surgery, how should the Yankees compile their lineup? With J.A. Happ getting the nod for the first of 162, here is what I see as the ideal lineup:
- Brett Gardner, LF
151 G .264/.350/.428 21 HR 63 RBI .778 OPS 3.8 (f)WAR
The Yankees table-setter. Gardy is the lifeblood of the team and a leader in the clubhouse. He is the ideal leadoff hitter for the Yankees because of his high on-base percentage coupled with his speed. Look for him to lead off a majority of the time.
2. Aaron Judge, RF
155 G .284/.422/.627 52 HR 114 RBI 1.049 OPS 8.2 (f)WAR
Aaron was extremely effective in the number 2 spot in the lineup thanks to his high on-base percentage. Some people see Judge as a possible leadoff hitter, but I think his power hitting capabilities keep him in at least the two spot.
3. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
159 G .281/.376/.631 59 HR 132 RBI 1.007 OPS 6.9 (f)WAR
Many people think the Yankees should split up the two gargantuan human beings, but with the absence of Greg Bird due to injury, I think this is a no-brainer. Hitting these two back-to-back with a lefty on the mound is an outstanding idea.
4. Gary Sanchez, C
122 G .278/.345/.531 33 HR 90 RBI .876 OPS 4.4 (f)WAR
It’s Opening Day, and the Yankees are facing a left handed pitcher, it just makes sense. Sanchez is seemingly becoming underrated in the Yankees lineup because of Judge and Stanton, but the fact remains that he is an exceptional hitter. Putting him cleanup is a great idea.
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
136 G .287/.318/.478 25 HR 87 RBI .796 OPS 3.9 (f)WAR
Didi has made massive strides in the batters box and improved extremely over the last few seasons. Gregorius was a great cleanup hitter for the Yankees last season, and with the Bird injury he will more than likely get some time logged in that slot. But for Opening Day he should hit in the 5th spot.
6. Aaron Hicks, CF
88 G .266/.372/.475 15 HR 52 RBI .847 OPS 3.3 (f)WAR
Aaron Hicks showed he can be an effective major leaguer when healthy last season, and will look to build off of that in 2018. Being a switch-hitter helps him to slot in nicely here.
7. Brandon Drury, 3B
135 G .267/.317/.447 13 HR 63 RBI .764 OPS 1.2 (f)WAR
The Yankees traded for Drury at the start of Spring Training and really seem to like his skillset. Drury has showed some pop in the majors and will make for a fair 7 hitter.
8. Neil Walker, 1B
111 G .265/.362/.439 14 HR 49 RBI .801 OPS 2.1 (f)WAR
Neil Walker is a very seasoned veteran who the Yankees got at a very cheap price to play somewhat of a utility role. Walker has enjoyed a bunch of success at the big league level and will serve as a top of the order bat in the 8th spot.
9. Tyler Wade, 2B
(AAA) 85 G .310/.382/.460 7 HR 31 RBI .842 OPS
Coming into camp, Wade was not on many peoples radar to win over the starting second base position but he went out and earned it. Tyler Wade worked on his swing in the offseason with Albert Pujols and was able to improve his mechanics, earning himself an Opening Day nod. His speed and quick hands make him a very good person to flip the lineup at number 9.