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  • ebotti0

The Promised Land


Ed Botti

Now that the Yankees have persevered and clinched their first AL East title since 2019 and 20th overall AL East crown, I thought it might be interesting to hear from the best fans in Baseball.


So instead of regurgitating predictions and potential pitfalls, I thought it might be interesting to do an interactive article today.


So, the goal today is to lay out what I think are the most important things that must happen for a Yankee 2022 run to the World Series, and have you, our loyal readers, also provide your insight, opinions and concerns.


Please try to keep it clean!


2022 has a new playoff system. Here is the format.


The top 3 American League seeds are:


1) Houston

2) Yankees

3) Cleveland


The Yankees and Astros will get a “Bye” in the first round.


Both teams kick off their playoff run on Tuesday, October 11.


Right off the bat, my first thought is what will the post season roster look like? Who stays and who goes?


Here are the official rules.


Teams submit a 26-man roster (it was 25, prior to 2020) prior to each round of the postseason comprised of postseason-eligible players. A club may request permission from the Commissioner's Office to replace a player who is injured during the course of a series, but that player is then ineligible for the rest of that round and the subsequent round, if there is one. A pitcher may be replaced only by another pitcher, and a position player only by another position player.


Teams carry extra players throughout the postseason in the event of injuries, and those players, as well as players on the injured list, can be in the dugout during games, within reason.


What we are hearing is that of the three injured position players (DJ LeMahieu, Andrew Benintendi and Matt Carpenter) the most realistic addition to the roster for the first round of the post season would be DJ. The other two are not that far behind.


I am keeping hope alive for Benintendi and Carpenter. But the clock is ticking!


So, as Joaquín Andújar famously said “you can sum it up in one word: youneverknowman”.


There really aren’t that many “BIG” decisions from the position player pool, but there are a few. My biggest move would have taken place already before the calendar turned to September. Just this past Monday in the 10 inning loss to Toronto I counted 3 throws that IKF could not make from shortstop that led to extended innings and ultimately runs. I like IKF, he gets to most balls, but I have said it all season, he does not have a shortstop’s arm. My idea was to have him take over for Marwin Gonzalez as the Utility player and insert Oswald Peraza at shortstop.


That did not happen, and I am not crazy enough to try that now at the doorstep of the postseason.


He has all the tools. I never really understood why they didn’t give him a shot at SS. Why bring him up? As a result, I do not see a spot for him on this roster.


That was their first mistake.


Here is my roster.


Position players (13)

Catcher - José Trevino, Kyle Higashioka First Base: Anthony Rizzo/ DJ LeMahieu

Second Base: Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu

Third Base: Josh Donaldson/ DJ LeMahieu

Shortstop: Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Outfielders: Harrison Bader, Oswaldo Cabrera, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Tim Locastro,

Designated Hitter: Giancarlo Stanton/ DJ LeMahieu

Utility Player: Marwin Gonzalez


Most notable MIA- Aaron Hicks. He has not shown enough for precious playoff innings.


Again, if Benintendi and or Carpenter can play, they make my team.


What are your thoughts?


Batting Order

I am not in favor of Judge hitting leadoff. I like him in RBI situations. I see Cabrera as a leadoff guy. He gets on base and can run. Plus he provides balance as a switch hitter. I would try it out the final week, and if he can do it, I’d go with it. He has had a taste of MLB (132 AB) and he is never overwhelmed.


This past Wednesday night, Boone moved him to the 2 slot. He slashed a base hit and walked in 4 at bats.

Here would be my 2 regular batting orders (assuming DJ is back and depending on match up).

Notice how right handed they are, that is why Benintendi and Carpenter are so critical.


1. Cabrera- LF (SH)

2. DJ –DH (R)

3. Judge- CF (R)

4. Rizzo- 1B (L)

5. Torres – 2B (R)

6. Stanton RF (R)

7. Donaldson - 3B (R)

8. Trevino – C (R)

9. IKF SS (R)


1. Cabrera- LF (SH)

2. DJ –3B (R)

3. Judge- RF (R)

4. Torres – 2B (R)

5. Rizzo- 1B (L)

6. Stanton DH (R)

7. Bader CF (R)

8. Trevino – C (R)

9. IKF SS (R)


What are your thoughts?


Starting Rotation (in Order)


1) Nestor Cortés (L)

2) Gerrit Cole (R)

3) Luis Severino (R)

4) Jameson Taillon (R)


Yes, I have Nestor starting Game 1. I have much more confidence in him than I do for Cole. But let’s be honest, that won’t happen for purely economic reasons. That is their second mistake.

What are your thoughts?


Bullpen (9)


Well this is without a doubt the first time in my life the Yankees head into the playoffs without a closer. And I go back long before Mariano and Wetteland.


I hate second guessing, and I am not about to start doing it today. Clay Holmes’ first half was off the charts great, but he started to show some signs of reverting back to his Pirate days back in July and that has carried forward to today. Could they have made a move at the deadline for a closer not named Scott Effross? Yes, they could have. But Hindsight is 20/20. I can’t blame them for not doing so.


As a result we have no true closer. But, they do have some very good arms that will be used in a match up system.


Here is my Bullpen in no specific order.


Righties

Scott Effross

Domingo Germán

Jonathan Loáisiga

Ron Marinaccio

Lou Trivino

Clarke Schmidt

Clay Holmes


Lefties

Lucas Luetge

Wandy Peralta – If healthily


In the hole

I’d like to see what Zach Britton can do over the last week of the season. He had great movement and velocity in his first 2 appearances, but the command was not there (understandably so). He may be running out of time as well.


Most notable MIA - Aroldis Chapman. He hasn’t earned the confidence of his coaches or teammates. I cannot see a set of circumstances that puts him in a high leverage inning. Every playoff inning is high leverage. He did pitch well Wednesday night against the Blue Jays. Maybe he can pick it up in the final week. If so, that would be a big lift.


Frankie Montas- Based on his performance, if healthy, he would not make my team.


What are your thoughts?


So, there you have my 26 man playoff roster. Am I confident?

Not overly confident. Let’s call it cautiously optimistic! The injuries are a major setback.


What are your thoughts?


Can the Yankees offense hit Post Season pitching?


Of course they can. But here is my broken record moment: It all comes down to approach at the plate.


Aaron Judge is the best hitter in Baseball. He has proven that in 2022. But he can’t do it alone. He needs his teammates to contribute and he needs protection. Who needs to step up?


First and foremost Giancarlo Stanton. This past Tuesday night in the division clinching game, he batted 5 times, struck out 4 times and ended the evening hitting .208 for the season. Yes, I know he has 28 home runs. Here are his July through today batting averages:


July - .156

August -.130

September -.151


Over those nearly 3 months (I know he was hurt, again) he has 9 home runs and 22 RBI.


Over his last 30 games he is hitting .132 with 4 home runs and 14 RBI.


No matter how you spin it, that will kill them in October. He needs to pick it up and do it quick.

He is not the only one, for sure. But he is the slugger that can provide protection for Judge.


Keep hope alive because as we have seen, when he is hot he is devastating!


What are your thoughts?


Since the All-Star game Judge is hitting .362 with 27 Home runs. The next highest Yankee average since the All-Star game is Andrew Benintendi at .254. IKF is the only other starter hitting above .250 since the break.


Consider this, the Astros have 3 everyday players hitting above .300 since the break (Altuve, Alvarez and Bregman). Kyle Tucker is hitting .276 over the same span.


Post season baseball is very different from regular season baseball. The opportunities are limited, so when a team has an opportunity they need to cash in. Whether it is a clutch hit, moving runners with productive outs, or taking an extra base if the defense blinks.


In other words, bear down. Play smart. Put pressure on your opponent.


Standing at the plate admiring a long ball needs to end immediately for those Yankees that embellish that nonsense. Just take a look at Tuesday night in Toronto. Vlad Guerrero and Teoscar Hernández’ show boating cost them at least 2 runs, maybe more.


And they wonder why they are 9.5 games behind the Yankees.


Photo Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports


Gleyber Torres will have some very important at bats this post season. He needs to stick with his up the middle approach. It has worked wonders for him in September hitting .333 with 6 Home Runs and 23 RBI.


What are your thoughts?


For the Yankees to go deep in the 2022 playoffs and even make a run at the World Series here are my keys.


1) Cole has to step up and show why they signed him for 9 years at $324 Million. If they advance to the ALCS, he will most likely be charged with beating Verlander. It is high time he steps up. He looked good Wednesday night. Hope he can build on that.


2) Stanton has to make contact and end his love affair with launch angle. I am concerned because I see him missing and behind on good fastballs more so than normal. I’d start playing him in the field more often. What is the risk? If he gets hurt, he was only hitting .132 anyway. He seems to be more engaged when he is playing both sides of the ball. I say go for it. When he is hot, he is almost impossible to get out. He needs to find his Mojo!


3) Boone has to figure out his bullpen hierarchy.


4) Boone needs to stick with his bullpen arms when they are effective, and stop removing them after clean innings.


5) Clay Holmes and Matt Blake have to figure out why his command is off.


6) The offense needs to shift into post season mode and start hitting with the “hit it hard” approach vs. “hit it far” approach.


7) Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo need to have impactful at bats. I think they will.


This team plays championship caliber defense. That is not a concern, for the most part (i.e. IKF's arm).


What are your thoughts?


Dark Horses?


Every team has a couple each year. The guy(s) that step up above and beyond expectations.


My picks for 2022 are:


Jameson Taillon, José Trevino and Oswaldo Cabrera.


Something tells me they will have important moments, and succeed!


What are your thoughts?


I want to wish everyone in Florida a speedy recovery. I have friends and family on the Gulf Coast (my daughter goes to school at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers) and they were simply devastated by this week’s Hurricane. The pictures I have seen are unbelievable.


We went through it in 2012 with Sandy. It was brutal!


Stay strong folks! You will re-build!


A special congratulations goes out to Aaron Judge for hitting home run #61 and keeping the record in the Yankee family.


Photo NJ Advance Media


Finally, congratulations to the Somerset Patriots for winning the Eastern League Championship with a 15-0 rout of the Erie SeaWolves. In the clincher, top prospect Jasson Dominguez when 3-4 with 6 RBI and crushed 2 home runs while righty Randy Vasquez threw 8 no hit innings. The no hitter was completed by a clean 9th inning by Carson Coleman.

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