New York Yankees Fan

The wait is over, the postseason is finally here which means the pressure is on. The Yankees battled through injury after injury during the regular season with their next man up mentality. Despite winning 103 games and being the #2 seed in the AL, the Yankees have a lot of questions as they move on to the ALDS. 

The first question is how to structure the roster. The first debate on the roster is whether to carry 12 or 13 pitchers. Here’s how I would set up the roster.

Position Players

C – Gary Sanchez

C – Austin Romine

1B – Edwin Encarnacion

2B – Gleyber Torres

SS – Didi Gregorious

3B – Gio Urshela

IF – DJ LeMahieu

LF – Giancarlo Stanton

CF – Brett Gardner

RF – Aaron Judge

OF – Cameron Maybin

UT/PR – Tyler Wade

On the bubble – Luke Voit/Mike Ford

Sanchez and Encarnacion are both coming back from IL stints. Gleyber has been in a slump the past few weeks. Sir Didi has been in a slump for even longer than that. The playoffs are a reset. Everyone gets a fresh start and we have to have faith in these guys.

Didi Gregorious is one that really needs to get out of his slump. He wants to stay in NY and we want him to stay in NY but a playoff slump will guarantee he doesn’t get the big contract from the Yankees that he wants. Come on Didi, we’re all pulling for you.

One more side note on Didi. Is there a chance he isn’t fully healed from his Tommy John surgery? Six months of recovery is such a short period of time. Gleyber Torres had the same surgery at a younger age and it took him a year to come back,

Stanton has been hitting the ball well and having good at bats these past 2 weeks. Giancarlo catching fire and going on a tear would be a boost for the lineup. That contract is always going to come with pressure but that doesn’t mean fans need to treat him like he’s A-Rod. Supporting this guy could be the extra confidence he needs.

Judge, LeMahieu, Gio, and Gardner have been consistently good down the stretch. Judge and Gardy especially have a lot to prove this postseason. All four of these guys have the mental makeup to come up big. I’m looking forward to seeing some clutch hits.

Coming off the bench the Yankees have to carry both Cameron Maybin and Tyler Wade. Maybin is a defensive replacement for Stanton if the Yankees are leading. Wade could be that defensive replacement for Stanton but he is better suited as a pinch runner who can then slot in anywhere in the field. Playoff games are always tight games, having Wade as a guy that can get around the bases in a close game is imperative. 

That leaves Luke Voit and Mike Ford as potentially taking the last roster spot for a position player. This is tough and I’ve gone back and forth on it so many times. These guys are both savages. Voit has been struggling but it’s been a lot of bad luck, he’ll smoke balls but right at a fielder. Paul O’neill spoke about his struggles on a  broadcast recently. When a guy is hitting the ball well but having bad luck he tends to start changing his swing. The big thing for Voit right now is to be in the cages going back to basics. He has such great bat speed that he can swing late on a ball and power it to right field. When Voit able to go the other way with the ball, he tends to go on tears. If Aaron Boone and Marcus Thames like what they are seeing with Voit, then he can be a huge asset in the playoffs.

Mike Ford has been really good these past few weeks. He has great at bats. He has a great feel for the strike zone and makes pitchers throw more pitches. On most teams he would be a lock for the postseason roster, unfortunately for him, not on this team. Between Encarnacion, Voit, and Ford, Ford is the worst fielder of the three which is too dangerous for tight playoff games. He’s been hot the past few weeks but the playoffs are different. Luke Voit was red hot going into the 2018 playoffs and he cooled down in the ALDS. Ford’s lack of playoff at bats is another deciding factor.

I would alter the line up on a day to day basis but I see the starters being

C – Sanchez

1B – Voit

2B – Torres

SS – Gregorious

3B – LeMahieu

LF – Stanton

CF – Gardner

RF – Judge

DH – Encarnacion

I would then use Urshela as a defensive replacement, moving LeMahieu to first. If Voit’s slump continues, Urshela starts at 3B and LeMahieu at 1B. Encarnacion is the DH because I don’t want his bat out of the line up at all and let’s not risk him reinjuring his oblique playing the field. 

Pitchers

Game 1 Starting Pitcher is Masahiro Tanaka. James Paxton has been dominant but he doesn’t have the postseason experience that Tanaka has. I have confidence in Tanaka for Game 1, he can handle the pressure of a Game 1. He pitches better at home so I want him starting at Yankee Stadium. 

Game 2 Starting Pitcher should be Luis Severino. He’s another guy we want pitching at home. He had a rough 1st inning in Texas a few days ago (read about that experience here)  but otherwise has looked good. He pitches better at home so Game 2 puts him in the best position to have success.

Game 3 Starting Pitcher should be Big Maple, James Paxton. Minnesota is a bigger ballpark so let’s give Paxton some breathing room in his first postseason start. A couple of more days to rest his sore glute would be beneficial. He was great down the stretch so let’s hope it carries into the playoffs.

If there is a Game 4, I consider starting J. Happ which is crazy to think but he hasn’t been awful his last few starts. Game 4 would also be in Minnesota so he’ll be pitching in a more pitcher friendly ballpark. Yankees seemed to have more success using an opener earlier in the season than as of late so why not give Happ a shot. He could potentially give them 4 or 5 innings. If he gets in trouble early, pull him and go with a bullpen game anyway. He’s got a huge contract so let him go out there and earn his money.

The bullpen is going to be the backbone of this team. Chapman, Britton, Ottavino, Kahnle, and Green have been everything we hoped they would be. Cessa is the long man. CC Sabathia is going to be huge for the Yankees in the playoffs. He’s a warrior, he’s going to leave it all on the table, pitching whenever they need him. CC is going to get us some big outs. Ben Heller gets the final bullpen spot, he’s come back and had some good outings in September. 

By JMo

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