Will the New York Yankees will probably stick with a tried and true batting order?
The New York Yankees are dead serious about going for it all in 2021.
DJ LeMahieu was re-signed and Gary Sanchez seems back to his old self. Everyone is in shape and, knock on wood, healthy. The band is fully back together and, if we’re being honest, never quite split up in the first place.
Thus, manager Aaron Boone should have an easy task putting together his Opening Day lineup. The Yankees open the season at home on April 1. They’ll send Gerrit Cole to the mound, while the AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays will likely roll with lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.
How do the New York Yankees build a lineup for a crafty lefty with an even craftier changeup? The answer is actually quite simple.
Not much at all.
1. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
This really needs no explanation. DJ LeMahieu has hit .336 as a Yankee and is the reigning AL batting champ. His ability to use the whole field makes him the perfect leadoff man, and he isn’t particularly prone to striking out.
It sends a simple message to Toronto right from the start: welcome to The Machine.
2. Aaron Judge, RF
The New York Yankees have batted Aaron Judge in the No. 2 spot for years and have no reason to move him. He’ll have dominant home run power regardless of where he hits in the lineup, but this has been his place for years.
Now that Judge seems to finally be healthy (Note to self: pet rabbit’s foot), here’s hoping he can have an MVP-caliber year.
3. Aaron Hicks, CF
Yankees Twitter can explode and holler all it wants. Aaron Hicks is a phenomenal player who is perfect for batting third in the New York Yankees lineup. Even if he isn’t the traditional power hitter expected of the No. 3 hole, Hicks has tremendous value as a hitter.
He only hit .225 in 2020, but led the AL in BB% with a mark of 19.4%. He constantly works great at-bats and isn’t particularly prone to strikeouts. Now that he’s fully recovered from his Tommy John surgery, he could finally add more power and contact expected of a No. 3 hitter.
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
We’ve all seen it in spring training. Giancarlo Stanton is setting himself up for a comeback tour in 2021. He has played a combined 41 games in the past two years and would love nothing more than to put his injury woes behind him.
Thus, so long as he’s healthy, he can look forward to batting cleanup in the Bronx.
5. Luke Voit, 1B
On any other team, Luke Voit would likely bat well above fifth in the order. But such is the depth of the Yankees, and Voit will be best used batting behind Stanton.
Batting behind one of the most feared power hitters in the game and ahead of another good young bat, Voit too could be in line for a big year. He led MLB with 22 homers in 2020, and that was in just 56 games. With a full 162-game slate set for this year, the Force may be strong with Luke Voit.
6. Gleyber Torres, SS
Torres is back, in shape, and ready to pick up where he left off with his breakout 2019 season. He’s also out to prove he can be a good fielder at shortstop with LeMahieu occupying second. Moreover, with power dominating the middle of the order, Torres’ ability to adjust mid-count and hit for contact provides a nice change of pace.
7. Gio Urshela, 3B
The New York Yankees’ ultimate underdog looks no worse for the wear after surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow. Though known mostly for his defense, Urshela has hit .310 as a Yankee and has a knack for clutch hitting. He also knows how to get behind a line drive and make hard contact, and his energy is just what’s needed to kick off the bottom third of the order.
8. Gary Sanchez, C
It’s practically the worst kept secret in MLB that 2021 is not just Gary Sanchez’s last chance with the New York Yankees, but maybe in baseball. The Kraken had a truly awful 2020, but looks back in form so far in spring training.
Boone doesn’t want to destroy Sanchez’s confidence from the start, so batting him eighth should give him some good pitches to hit. If he does well in this spot, then maybe moving him up can be discussed.
9. Clint Frazier, LF
Any other Opening Day, Brett Gardner would probably start in left field as a sign of respect. But with Ryu likely on the mound for Toronto, it’s better to load up with righties and round things out with Frazier. He has both the bat speed and the gap power to be a force no matter where in the order he hits.
So why bat him ninth? Well, it’s like was said above in that this is more about getting Gary Sanchez some good pitches to hit. Frazier is a good hitter in his own right and also has speed on the basepaths. With the lineup turning back over to LeMahieu after him, he closes out what could be an Opening Day Murderers’ Row.
Hopefully, this lineup becomes one the New York Yankees can rely on not just for Opening Day, but for most of the 2021 season.