New York Yankees Fan

It’s on to the playoffs. The Yankees still have a few weeks of baseball to finish up, the way this season has played out we still need to be wary of the injury bug. I am not taking anything for granted, I hope all these guys stay healthy from this point on.

We know a few definites that are a lock for the postseason roster but for a team that should win over 100 games, there are surprisingly a few open spots that are up for grabs. The infield is set, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Sir Didi, Gio Urshela, Edwin Encarnacion, and Luke Voit are all on the postseason roster. We’ll most likely see LeMahieu starting at third base, Sir Didi at shortstop, Torres at second, Luke Voit and Encarnacion splitting 1B/DH duties with Gio Urshela coming in later in the game as a defensive replacement moving LeMahieu to first base and moving most likely Voit to the bench. Luke Voit hasn’t been the beast we’ve seen him be since returning from his sports hernia. He’s had a few hits the past couple of games, so hopefully he is turning it around. It usually takes a few weeks to get back in the groove after a long layoff, let’s hope that is all it is with Voit. However, Edwin Encarnacion has been hot. He grinds out every at bat, a true savage in the box. He’s a guy you want hitting in a big spot in the postseason. I don’t see Encarnacion coming out of the game if Luke Voit isn’t crushing the ball himself. Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine will be the catchers. Eight definite rosters spots.

Aaron Judge will be in right field but you didn’t need me to tell you that. The Aaron Hicks injury ensures Gardy is in centerfield which leaves left field up for grabs. Giancarlo Stanton is days away from returning. As I mentioned before, it usually takes a few weeks for a guy to feel comfortable in the box. Does Giancarlo Stanton have enough time to get into form before the postseason starts? The Yankees can’t send him up there facing guys like Verlander and Cole to have 5 strikeout games in the ALCS. However, with that contract, if he is healthy, he’s on the roster and he is playing. The question then becomes, will the Yankees move Stanton down in the lineup? I would give him every chance to get comfortable in the middle of the lineup these next few weeks, however if he is having poor at bats, they need to be prepared to bat him 7th or 8th when they get into the playoffs. The second concern about Giancarlo is that we don’t know how well he can play left field. If he can’t field and he is struggling, will Cashman have the guts to keep him off the postseason roster?

To be fair to Giancarlo, I really, really, want to see him hit his groove in time to be a force in the postseason. Yankees fans need to lay off this guy, but that is a topic for another day.

The 4th outfielder should be Cameron Maybin but with his wrist acting up, we need to start considering other options. One option is Tyler Wade. He’s fast, athletic, and a much needed lefthanded bat. He’s an ideal pinch runner for close games in the playoffs because he can play all over the infield and outfield, subbing just about anywhere they need him. The other, more intriguing option is Clint Frazier. Clint Frazier is going to be a postseason hero. Why not have it be for the Yankees??? No moment is too big for this guy, he oozes confidence. I am so tired of hearing that he’s “not a New York guy”. Not a New York guy??? A media-inexperienced kid didn’t handle the press well one time so he’s not a New York guy? I’ve been watching the Yankees my entire life, I’ve seen Yankees that weren’t New York guys. I’ve also seen a lot of Yankees that were New York guys. This kid is a New York guy. We’ve seen him do well under pressure. He can handle himself. His fielding woes can improve with hard work, that bat speed though, it’s legendary.

Unfortunately for Clint, Cashman really seems to dislike him so I don’t see him making the postseason roster. Adding Judge, Gardner, and two out of Stanton, Wade, Maybin, and Frazier the Yankees will be carrying 12 position players into the postseason.

Pitching gets a little more complicated. James Paxton has really found his touch his past 8 starts. Big Maple is rolling, does that make him the Game 1 starter? It’s a tough call but I am starting Masahiro Tanaka in Game 1 and Paxton in Game 2. Paxton has been great as of late but Tanaka is postseason proven, he’s the guy I want starting Game 1.

From this point on, it gets even more complicated. I really like the idea of starting CC Sabathia once through the lineup then following with Domingo German. CC is a warrior, he’s a guy I trust to get outs when he is needed to get outs. CC usually comes back from long layoffs with a little more gas in the tank, the rest strengthens his arm. I think he is going to show us something down the stretch, then leave it all on the table in the playoffs to finish out his Hall of Fame career. Follow that up with German for the next two times through the line up before handing it over to the bullpen, that seems like a solid formula. The only concern is that German has to pitch at home. His splits show too much of a drop off when he pitches on the road. He’s been lights out at Yankee Stadium, his lack of playoff experience means the Yankees should be giving him every edge that they can to ensure he puts the team in the best spot to win.

Does J.A. Happ pitch in the playoffs? Please no. I don’t care that he has been pitching better his last 2 or 3 starts, I do not trust the guy. Instead, I am hoping Severino can really come back and give the Yankees one or two trips through the lineup. Even 5 innings from Sevy in the playoffs would be huge. I know I said I didn’t think he was coming back this season (you can read all about it here), I would never, ever be happier to be proven wrong.

That starting rotation formula gives us 5 starting pitchers for 4 games leaving 8 spots for the bullpen. Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle, and Luis Cessa are all locks. Cessa isn’t on par with the other 5 but he’s a long man that isn’t going to be used in high leverage situations. Two bullpen spots up for grabs. Dellin Betances is nearing a return, if he can make it back for the playoffs, it would be another boost to an already loaded bullpen. In the past Dellin has struggled in the playoffs. He’s got a lot to prove and now is a great time to prove it. The final roster spot goes to whoever is pitching the best headed into the playoffs. Ben Heller, Nestor Cortes Jr, and Jonathan Loaisiga are the best chances to grab that final spot. I still think the Yankees should consider bringing up Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, give them a chance to pitch out of the bullpen and possibly utilize one of them in the playoffs considering no one will have faced them before, it’s a potential edge if Aaron Boone thinks one of those kids could handle the pressure.

That’s the options, for the record, my personal picks for the playoff roster is

C – Gary Sanchez
C – Austin Romine
1B – Edwin Encarnacion
1B – Luke Voit
IF – Gleyber Torres
IF – DJ LeMahieu
SS – Sir Didi Gregorius
3B – Gio Urshela
LF – Giancarlo Stanton (if injured, then Clint Frazier)
CF – Brett Gardner
RF – Aaron Judge
OF – Cameron Maybin

SP – Masahiro Tanaka
SP – James Paxton
SP – Luis Severino
SP – Domingo German
SP – CC Sabathia

CL – Aroldis Chapman
RP – Zach Britton
RP – Adam Ottavino
RP – Chad Green
RP – Tommy Kahnle
RP – Dellin Betances
RP – Luis Cessa
RP – Ben Heller

By JMo

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