Saturday, March 19, 2016

Brett Gardner & the Yankees 2016 Starting Lineup

The New York Yankees finally got their first glimpse of Brett Gardner this spring on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays and while the Yankees left fielder went hitless he said he felt good after the game. What he did in that game is not the biggest story to come out of it though, in my opinion anyway, but what was more important was the lineup for that game and what it could potentially mean for the upcoming season. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with Gardner hitting second followed by Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Brian McCann had the day off while Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro hit at the bottom of the order. Was this just a mid-March lineup or is this a preview of what’s to come this season?

Let’s assume Brian McCann hits sixth followed by Headley, Castro and Gregorius in that order that would give the Yankees a pretty deep lineup and a headache for opposing managers. The Yankees will once again stack their lefty leadoff hitters at the top of the lineup before putting two switch hitters, a right-handed bat, a left-handed bat, another switch hitter, a righty and a lefty. How does one matchup their bullpen in the later innings against a lineup that alternates like that?

The lineup will likely move around a bit against left-handed pitching as well with Castro possibly hitting second, one of Gardner or Ellsbury sitting and Aaron Hicks getting his turn in the rotation of the outfield. Gary Sanchez may also get at bats against lefties for Brian McCann while Robert Refsnyder could presumably also play second base while Castro plays shortstop for lefty-hitting Gregorius. The mixing and matching this season, assuming health and effectiveness, are unlimited for a manager that loves playing the numbers and mixing and matching.

The team may hit too many damn home runs and they may simply sit back and wait for the three run home run while refusing to hit against the shift but they should not run into the buzz saw that they did last season against left-handed hitters. 

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