Thankfully, the New York Yankees are on the mend health-wise. It’ll be tough for everybody in the lineup to be 100% come playoff time, but many at least expect everyone to be on the field and able to contribute to the best of their abilities.
Giancarlo Stanton is slowly (very slowly) trying to get back on track. Luis Severino is nearing a return after a Triple-A rehab outing. DJ LeMahieu could be back within the next few days and Anthony Rizzo and Harrison Bader are already here. Hell, even Zack Britton could see the field for the first time since last year!
Though the Yankees’ pitching staff is partially a concern — most notably the bullpen — the lineup is even more so. When New York can’t score runs, they’re truly hapless. When they can’t get clutch hits, it’s one of the worst products to watch.
Time and time again, somehow, it hasn’t been the pitching that’s killed the Yankees in October. It’s been the silent offense that randomly pulls off disappearing acts, no matter how hot they were the day before. Just think of every playoff game over the last five years the Yankees have been in. Outside of getting destroyed by the Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2018 ALDS, there were never any lopsided affairs that went the other way.
That’s why, this time around, with as good of a rotation as they’ve had in recent memory, the Yankees’ offense needs to be at its best if they’re going to get to the World Series and then compete with another offensive powerhouse like the Dodgers, Braves or Mets.
What’s the Yankees ideal playoff roster when October arrives?
Manager Aaron Boone has a lot of ways he can go about this. He’ll have the luxury of switching things up against different pitchers, or if the team isn’t producing to his liking for a certain stretch. But here’s what a consistent starting postseason lineup might look like for the Yankees in about three weeks’ time:
- DJ LeMahieu DH/3B
- Aaron Judge RF
- Anthony Rizzo 1B
- Giancarlo Stanton LF/DH
- Gleyber Torres 2B
- Josh Donaldson 3B/DH
- Harrison Bader CF
- Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS
- Jose Trevino C
- Gerrit Cole SP
Boone has a ton of versatility on this roster with LeMahieu (1B, 2B, 3B), IKF (2B, SS, 3B), Judge (RF, CF), Marwin Gonzalez (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF) and Oswaldo Cabrera (2B, SS, 3B, RF) that he can make other variations work. For now, we’ll go with Stanton in left field, Donaldson at third and DJ at DH because of how his foot has limited him.
Sadly, Matt Carpenter and Andrew Benintendi either won’t be making their way back or may not be able to make that significant of an impact due to their injuries. If one of them does, perhaps we revisit this and toss Stanton at DH, Benintendi in the outfield and LeMahieu at third, Donaldson on the bench or Stanton in left field, Carpenter at DH/third, LeMahieu at third/DH, and Donaldson on the bench.
Right now, though, this is the best the Yankees can do with the injury timelines at their disposal. You’d like to have more help, but this is certainly enough, assuming everyone can adequately produce and not completely fall apart when the spotlight takes hold.