The bottom part is no slouch
I love Didi Gregorius batting sixth in this lineup. Inserting a left-handed stick after three straight righties is a must. One that hits to all fields with precision is a bonus.
Coming off a .287 average, 25 homers, 87 RBI campaign, there’s arguably no better six-hole hitter in the majors. A traditional run-scoring spot, hitting sixth will allow Didi to advance his power surge further, while not worrying so much about his career .266 average (.277 BA in ’17).
If Aaron Hicks were to struggle in the two spot or once again go down with a rash of oblique injuries, moving Gregorius up is an option. I just didn’t want that to be my go-to because I’m not a fan of having back-to-back left-handed hitters up on top — especially when a southpaw is on the hill.
Batting seventh, Greg Bird is the wild card. He has all the style and skill to hit anywhere from three through six, but the consistency in his at-bats is still lacking.
Should Bird flash signs of what he did last spring training or moments of revelation during parts of the postseason, manager Aaron Boone might seriously consider moving him in between Stanton and Sanchez, as a way to further disrupt pitching staffs. But not until then.
Chase Headley comes in at number eight. Following a productive season (.273 BA, 12 HR and 63 RBI) and an even better postseason, albeit in limited appearances (7-for-18, .389 BA in the ALCS), Headley will have a lot to prove going into his final season with the Yankees.
Many, including myself, believe that Headley is merely keeping the hot corner warm for No. 5 prospect Miguel Andujar.
Until Andujar is ready to roll at the big league level, which could come at the first sign of an extended Headley slump, the switch-hitter will add some timely hitting before the lineup turns over.