Yankees: Selecting the ideal Opening Day lineup
The ideal Yankees lineup: 7-9
Gio Urshela 3B
The battle at third base will be Aaron Boone’s toughest decision on a nightly basis, but I believe the offensive upside of Gio Urshela coupled with his superior defensive ability gives him the edge her over Miguel Andujar. Last season, Urshela took full advantage of his call up, hitting .314 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs in 132 games.
Now the 28-year-old faces healthy competition for that starting job and his performance will have to continue to be impressive in order to keep a hungry Andujar from claiming it. His best chance of doing that is in the seventh spot in the order, where he had 118 at-bats and hit .381 last season.
Urshela did damage out of this spot and his .423 OBP from this spot means the bottom of the order always has a chance at starting off productive innings.
Luke Voit 1B
Luke Voit had a very up and down 2019, which saw him battle injuries and get left off the Yankees postseason roster. He did hit .263 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs, which is by no means a bad season.
27.8% of Voit’s plate appearances ended with a strikeout, a number that must be reduced if Voit wants to have success in the upcoming campaign. The reason that the 29-year-old finds himself in this lineup spot is due to the embarrassment of riches that the Yankees have and the fact that Voit’s power means opposing staffs have no breaks from power bats.
There are other options at first such as Andjujar or Mike Ford, but Voit is the most seasoned first baseman who possesses incredible pop and deserves a chance to be in the lineup.
Brett Gardner LF
Last but not least, the cagey veteran Brett Gardner will round out the Yankees lineup batting ninth. Gardner, who has long been the most underappreciated Yankees player, has a long history of getting the job done. The job of the nine-hole hitter is twofold; firstly you have to drive in runners who are on base and also keep the inning alive for the top of the order.
Last season, the veteran outfielder hit .251 with 28 home runs and 74 RBIs, while also hitting .240 in 104 at-bats at the bottom of the order. Although the numbers do not jump off the page, Gardner’s ability to be a top-notch defender while understanding his role and sliding up and down the lineup makes him integral to New York’s success. With speed and power, Gardner is the perfect candidate to round out the Yankees lineup.
The ideal Yankees lineup: The bench
The Yankees are one of the deepest teams in baseball. Their bench consists of a rookie of the year candidate in Miguel Andujar, who hit .297 in 2018, Tyler Wade, Kyle Higashioka, and Mike Tauchman.
There is more depth in the minors with Clint Frazier, Mike Ford, Thairo Estrada, and Estevan Florial.
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With this amount of depth, the Yankees can plug players in to rest starters and see less of a drop off than most teams in the MLB. However, one through nine, the Yankees ideal lineup, when healthy, is the most formidable in all of baseball.