Yankees Offense Despite Improvements Lacks Left Handed Power
Despite making improvements to their offense, the Yankees that begin the 2017 season will be short on left-handed power.
The Yankees lineup, with shortstop Didi Gregorius out for at least the first month, leaves them only with first baseman Greg Bird as the sole lefty slugger in the lineup. The classic Yankee championship teams had been traditionally built on lefty power. So, it’ll be interesting to see how well the righties do in their absence.
That’s not to say that the team doesn’t have any lefty hitters that can fill the void, at least until Didi gets back. But no one is expecting a 20 home run season from Brett Gardner. They expect less from Jacoby Ellsbury. Plus, only an eternal optimist would think that switch-hitting Chase Headley will all of a sudden regain his 2012 form.
The Yankees do have power threats in the lineup. After his 53 game tear last summer, Gary Sanchez remains the biggest, with Matt Holliday right behind him. Starlin Castro showed some pop with 21 home runs last year as well. Aaron Judge, if he can cut down on his strikeouts, is also a huge threat to go deep at any time.
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Outside of Greg Bird, though, there just isn’t much of a threat from the left side. Didi seemed poised for an even bigger year, after belting 20 home runs. If he gets back quick enough, that could still happen. The month of April has the most off days, so there is still time to come back big. We just have to wait, is all.
Whoever gets tabbed to fill Didi’s shoes is going to have a big task in front of him. The past few seasons the Yankees have had trouble scoring runs, and Didi was being counted on as a big part of the lineup.
Now it becomes a situation where the team needs to get off to a hot start so that it isn’t treading water when their shortstop returns.
Yankees Adjust To Their Home Ballpark
All of this could be a moot point, however. Just because the team had much success when they were a left-handed heavy team doesn’t mean they can’t win with a host of right-handed sluggers. It just seems like the way the Stadium is configured; you’d want to take advantage of their ballpark.
The new stadium appears to be kinder on right-handers who pull the ball. Everyone remembers the power alleys in left-center at the old stadium as death valley.
Yankees Sanchez And Bird Form Mutual Admiration Society
But Bird and Sanchez must have seen it, even back in 2014, and thought about playing together in Yankees uniforms. Now those dreams have become reality.
Things are different across the street, and several of the Yankees big bats are adept at going the other way anyhow. As long as they score more than their opponents, though, does it matter what side of the plate they do it from?