Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yankees Lineup With Granderson

Yesterday was basically the whole season for the New York Yankees in a nutshell. They finally got Curtis Granderson back from the disabled list, but lost Travis Hafner due to a sore shoulder. So, they did not gain a whole lot there. Then, they were down 3-0 to King Felix and the Mariners, before clutch hits by Robinsonn Cano and Travsi Hafner got them a 4-3 lead that Mariano Rivera saved in the ninth inning. This formula has gotten them the most wins (25) in MLB and the best overall record (25-14) in the AL. They have never gotten healthy this year, but their pitching has been outstanding, and they have managed to hit just enough.

There was great anticipation yesterday as to where Granderson would bat in the lineup and who among Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells would sit. With Hafner hurt that got delayed a few days, but it is still definitely worth pondering.

It seems pretty obvious that with Granderson returning Suzuki’s playing time should be cut dramatically. Wells has earned the right to play every day and Gardner’s defense is very valuable in centerfield, although I am still not a big fan of his at the plate. Suzuki has been terrible at the plate this year, as he has hit .246/.289/.341/.630 (63 wRC+) in 137 at bats. For comparisons sake, Chris Stewart had a 65 wRC+ last season, so Suzuki is hitting at a backup catcher’s level in right field this season.

This is not terribly surprising, as Suzuki has been in a steep decline for many years now. Even in his prime Suzuki never took walks for hit for power, so if he is not hitting at least .280 he provides little offensive value. The Yankee’s upper hierarchy signed him to a two-year contract most likely because they wanted the added revenue if Suzuki reached 3,000 hits in a Yankees uniform. Hopefully, nonsense like that, and Suzuki’s stature as a Hall of Fame player, does not stop Joe Girardi from putting him in his rightful place on the bench and as the team’s fourth outfielder.

Last night, Girardi chose to leave Cano 2nd and bat Granderson 4th. It is unconventional to hit your best player second, but lone behold Cano was up with the game on the line in the seventh inning. Now, that you could obviously write that off as just a coincidence, but getting Cano the most plate appearances possible is not the worst thing in the world. Ideally I would like Granderson 2nd and Cano 3rd because Granderson is a great fastball hitter and he would see tons of them hitting in front of Cano. However, the problem with that is with Gardner leading off you have three lefties in a row at the top of the lineup, so you can see why this is a very tough lineup to juggle.

With David Adams potentially coming up today you have three guys for two spots in Adams, Chris Nelson and Jayson Nix if Ben Francisco gets cut rather than Nelson. With the way Adams is hitting at Triple A (.316/.407/.490/.897) he deserves a chance to start at third base everyday, which leaves Nelson and Nix to battle it out at shortstop. There really is not big difference between the two. but I think Nelson brings a little more to the table than Nix. Nelson is hitting .296 over his last seven games for the Yankees and adds a lot more speed than Nix. Nix has struck out way to many times for a non-power hitter and only has .626 OPS this season. I am not saying Nelson is a whole lot better, but I would rather see him play

So, here are what my lineups would be, assuming Hafner is healthy.

Vs. Righties

1. Gardner CF

2. Granderson RF

3. Cano 2B

4. Wells LF

5. Hafner DH

6. Adams 3B

7. Overbay 1B

8. Nelson SS

9. Stewart C

Vs. Lefties

1. Gardner CF

2. Wells DH

3. Granderson RF

4. Cano 2B

5. Adams 3B

6. Suzuki LF

7. Nelson SS

8. Overbay 1B

9. Stewart C

I put Ichiro in against lefties because his platoon splits are actually a lot better vs. lefties this season and more because the Yankees really don’t have anybody else. Getting Youkilis back against lefties would be a big helps.  What would your Yankees lineup be? Discuss it in the comments.


  1. Granderson should never be in the three-hole lol.

    I mean never.

    That spot should be your best pure hitter who provides a combination of average & power.

    I also would take a long look at other team's pen before I stacked so many lefties in a row in the RHP lineup. Most starters are gone in the 6th versus Yanks, some sooner. A pen like Seattle's has 3 lefties in it and you'd be putting yourself behind the eight ball.

  2. DJ - What you say makes sense in a traditional view. Often you should build your lineup around your best hitter in the #3 spot. But rather than try to slot guys into specific spots i think it's most important to see which hitters make sense in relation to the hitters around them. like you say, bunching your lefties, etc.

    Yanks have had success with Cano in the #2 hole but I don't think that is the best spot for him because it hurts Gardner's ability to run. Brett likes to see the pitcher a little before he runs....he's not the type to take off on the 1st or 2nd pitch too often. That doesn't bode well with Cano at the plate who likes to be agressive. Granderson is fairly patient and has had success hitting 2nd in the past however, bunching 3 lefties in a row may not be wise.

    Ideally, i would love to see Adams seize the opportunity and be put in the #2 hole but I'm sure Joe won't do that right away.

  3. Right now, you can basically use the same lineup vs LHP & RHP:


    When Hafner returns, slot him 5th vs RHP and move everyone down and rest one of the 4 OFs every night, mostly Ichiro.

  4. DJ - Good point about looking at the other team's pen. That goes both ways too. For example, a team may have multiple LHPs in their pen but if you like the matchups you can bait the other manager into going with those lefties. Like last night, I was ESTATIC to see Seattle bring in their Lefty because it meant getting Felix out of the game.....and sure enough the yanks rallied for 3 runs. That obviously won't happen often but just another thing to consider.

  5. fishjam, can we see Adams play a major league game before we put him in the 2nd spot.

  6. I don't think its a big deal hitting him 2nd as oppossed to 5th or 6th. 2nd in the yankee lineup is the best spot to have Gardner on base a lot and Cano behind you.... you'll see a lot of Fastballs and get challenged a lot.

    Only reason why I say Adams would be good is because they need a right bat to break up all the lefties. your options right now are Wells, Adams, Nix or Stewart. Wells is basically your cleanup hitter and IMO the best hitter on the team to put behind Cano so would you rather see Nix or Stewart over Adams?

  7. The Yankees stacked lefties in the first 3 spots recently. Depends on matchups

  8. fishjam, I'd rather see Grandy hitting 2nd once he gets a few at bats. Adams should start out hitting near the bottom of the order. The veterans don't like to see rookies come up and hit near the top until they have proven themselves.

  9. Iit will obviously take Granderson a while to get comfortable and get his timing but it will be interesting to see how he performs this year. He's a guy who could go either way....he has shown us long stretches of being a low-average, strike out machine with HR or nothing results AND has also shown us a nearly year and a half strectch of MVP-like production from Sept 2010 thru May 2012. So, which player is he? Unfortunately, since June of last year he's looked like the guy he was for much of the 2010 season.

    If he's that guy, he can't hit 2nd on this team. He hit .216/.299/.460 with 134 Ks in 107 games from June to the end of the season. His only good stat was his 26 HRs which makes him more conducive to hitting down in the order. You can't put a guy who hits .216 with an OBP% below .300 in front of your best hitter - Cano. You want guys on base when Robbie comes up.

    Obviously Jeter is the ideal 2-man on this team but who knows when/if he'll be back. When Youkilis gets back, they could use him or Wells to hit 2nd. One can bat in front of Cano and one can bat behind him.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)