With Alfonso Soriano now a member of the New York Yankees, what spot is the best for him in the lineup? The quick answer is behind Robinson Cano, providing long over-due protection for Cano and giving the offense a chance to take off. But does a look at Soriano’s stats suggest that the quick answer is the right one?
Soriano is batting .273 against left-handed pitchers this season. He has six home runs and thirteen RBI. Against right handed pitchers he is batting .245 with eleven home runs and 38 RBI.
So, at first glance, it appears that Soriano’ power is coming primarily against right handers. Add to this the fact that he has 15 doubles and a triple against right handers, with only nine doubles and no triples against left-handers, and the case seems to be closed. So the Yankees should only bat him behind Cano against right-handers, right?
Not so fast. The key is that Soriano has 241 at bats against right handers this season and only 121 against lefties. Double the numbers against lefties and you find that he has done just as well against them.
The only real difference would come in the RBI category. But that is the category that is most dependant on opportunity. With Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Cano in front of him, Soriano can expect plenty of chances in these final two months. Especially if Ichiro finishes the way he did last year and Cano mounts his contract drive.
Most of all, Soriano provides a “threat” that other Yankees have not provided batting behind Cano this year. Now, if Curtis Granderson could return and is able to produce big enough numbers to command the same respect, than the Yankees could consider him for the spot. In my view, Soriano is still the better choice because Granderson strikes out so much.
In any case, it is great to have Soriano back. He can instill some life into an offense that has sputtered often, and even fizzled out altogether at times. It is great that he has a chance to finish his career where it began. Let’s look at this as a new beginning-the first day of the rest of the Yankees’ season.