The Tuesday Discussion: The Post Season Infield…
Assuming all of the infielders are healthy heading into the playoffs, what players would comprise your starting infield?
The SSTN writers share their thoughts:
Lincoln Mitchell – Against lefty pitchers, I would go 1b-Voit, 2b-LeMahieu, 3B-Urshela, SS-Torres.
Against righties, I would go 1b-LeMahieu, 2b-Torres, 3b-Urshela, SS-Gregorius.
I would not bat Gregorius 3rd or 4th when he is in the lineup.
Mike Whiteman – My Yankee infield:
1B – DJ 2B – Gleyber SS – Didi 3B – Gio
One way to boost a pitching staff with some question marks is to play solid defense. This is the Yanks’ optimal infield defensive arrangement. Barring injury or a sudden plunge in performance by those listed, I think we see Voit/Encarnacion at DH.
1st base: Voit
2nd Base: Torres
3rd base: Urshela *alternate with LeMahieu
I really had to think about this one because we have a solid infield. The closest thing to compromising the infield would be DJ LeMaheu playing first base. He has shown some weakness in his ability to play that position. Other than that, I love our infield situation!
1b – D.J. LeMahieu
2b – Gleyber Torres
ss – Didi Gregorius
3b – Gio Urshela
DH – Edwin Encarnacion
I”d be tempted to put Gleyber Torres at shortstop in order to get Luke Voit’s bat in the line-up by moving LeMahieu to second base and sitting Didi. In the end, though, I think that defense will be more important than offense in these games and I believe the line-up I have is the best defensively that the Yankees can put out there.
Andy Singer: This is a really tough decision, and injuries make it even tougher. I’m cheating a bit, because I know that we’re supposed to ignore injuries, but the injuries are really important here! To me, the biggest wild card is Edwin Encarnacion. Even if Encarnacion is totally healthy, he hasn’t had at-bats in a significant period of time, and he’ll have to face a formidable test against his likeliest foe, the Minnesota Twins rotation. If Eddy isn’t healthy, Voit can slide into the DH slot, and LeMahieu can play 1B, with Torres, Urshela, and Didi at 2B, 3B, and SS, respectively.
Things are more interesting if Encarnacion is healthy, and at that point, I would use handedness and velocity of the opposing pitcher to determine the starting lineup. Again, I think that the likeliest opponent for the Yankees in the ALDS is the Twins (I don’t see the Yanks catching Houston for the best record in the AL). The Twins can line up Jose Berrios (RHP), Kyle Gibson (RHP), Jake Odorizzi (RHP), and Martin Perez (LHP).
For a game in which Perez is pitching, I like the following lineup: C Sanchez, 1B Voit, 2B LeMahieu, SS Torres, 3B Urshela, DH Encarnacion – all of those hitters mash lefties to the point where even the bump Didi gives the Yankees defensively does not offset the value gained offensively against left handed pitching.
Against Berrios and Odorizzi, my lineup would include: C Sanchez, 1B LeMahieu, 2B Torres, 3B Urshela, SS Didi, DH Voit – I trust a completely healthy LeMahieu to put together strong at-bats against guys with above-average velocity from the right side than Encarnacion coming off of an oblique pull with no hitting against live, in-game MLB pitching in the last month.
Against Kyle Gibson, my lineup would include: C Sanchez, 1B Voit, 2B Torres, 3B LeMahieu, SS Didi, DH Encarnacion – I admit it, I’m a bit worried about Urshela’s slow September. That said, Gibson relies on his secondary offerings more than his fastball to put hitters away, and I like the chances of Encarnacion working at-bats against that type of pitcher, so he gets the nod over Urshela.
Patrick Gunn: My starting infield would be:
DJ LeMahieu at First base
Gleyber Torres at second
Didi Gregorius at shortstop
Gio Urshela at third base.
This was more difficult than I thought, but I think this is the best offensive and defensive combination. Edwin Encarnacion and Luke Voit would be better kept as designated hitters at this point.