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Yankees ALDS 25-Man Roster: Who’s On and Who’s Off?

Earlier today, and throughout this recent week, the Yankees have been announcing who we should be expecting to take the mound, field, and bench for the best-of-five series ALDS series against the Minnesota Twins.

Today, however, all that speculation ends, as the Yankees have officially announced their ALDS roster. It features 12 pitchers and 13 hitters, of which there are some very noticeable omissions and additions.

Before we get to that, our friends at ViewsFrom314Ft. put together an excellent post yesterday all about the Umpiring Crew that will be in charge of this series, so I highly recommend you check that out as well.

Without further ado, let’s check this roster out!

Ready or not, here we come.#NextManUp — New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 4, 2019

The 12 Pitchers (of the Apocalypse?):

Starting Pitchers: James Paxton (#65), Masahiro Tanaka (#19), Luis Severino (#40), and J.A. Happ (#34)

Bryan Hoch of announced yesterday that the above order of pitchers (minus Happ) will be the Yankees starting pitchers through the first three games of this series against the Twins.

James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino will be the Yankees’ ALDS starters, in that order. — Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 3, 2019

I can only imagine that J.A. Happ is now the emergency starting pitcher on the roster in case of an injury or early exit (knock on wood) from one of these games scheduled starting pitchers.

That being said, I do believe that this is a very solid 3-man rotation to be pushing through a postseason. Each may have their own question marks, but of late my faith in all of them is extremely solid. Paxton has been the highlight in the rotation of the 2nd half, as Jack Curry mentions below:

I’ve been hammering this point for a while. But the Red Sox did Paxton a favor on July 26. They sat fastball, adjusted to the cutter and didn’t look for the curve. They blasted 4 homers. After that, he had to incorporate the curve and went 10-0, 2.25 ERA in the next 10 starts. — Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) October 3, 2019

Jack Curry also went on to say that the leash will be much tighter for Tanaka and Severino in Games 2 and 3 than it will be for Paxton tonight, and he will be aggressive with going to his 8-man, extremely rested bullpen.

Boone’s been adamant about saying he will be aggressive in going to bullpen. Regarding Paxton in Game 1, Boone said he can be the best option for big chunk if he’s pitching well. But Boone also noted that relievers will have 4 days off before opener so he will seize on matchups — Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) October 3, 2019

Speaking of the bullpen, let’s see who we got:

Top-Dogs: Zack Britton (#53), Aroldis Chapman (#54), Chad Green (#57), Tommy Kahnle (#48), and Adam Ottavino (#0)

The Mop-Up Three: Luis Cessa (#85), Jonathan Loaisiga (#43), and Tyler Lyons (#70)

I don’t think it should come as a surprise that the Yankees have an extremely good and dangerous back-end (and middle-end) of their bullpen. This has been the talking point of this team for the past few seasons with how they continuously stash a three (or more) headed hydra in the outfield to enter and finish games.

I would expect their usage to be very similar to that of the regular season, the Yankees starting pitcher will get through 5/6 innings, then we will see a combination of arms to get through the final 3/4 innings of work. It’s not my preferred system of work, but the luxury is that the Yankees do have 5 top-of-the-line relief arms to get this done.

However, the other three arms also instill fear into baseball fans. The only problem is that this is more often than not towards Yankees fans. The three of them aren’t terrible pitchers (2019 ERA’s of 4.11, 4.55, and 6.39 respectively), but I’m sure most Yankees fans will agree it is probably better if we don’t see much of them throughout the playoffs- unless they are coming into a game that the Yankees are winning handsomely.

Honestly, seeing Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga doesn’t completely surprise me, as they needed to fill out their bullpen. But, Tyler Lyons may just be the luckiest man on the roster. I know that injuries to Betances, Sabathia, and Holder prevented them from getting back in time for the postseason, yet players like David Hale (activated on 9/28) and Ben Heller remained available as options to use. I trust the Yankees completely, but Lyons was not a name I would’ve expected at all.


The 13 BIG Hitters:

The Catchers: Austin Romine (#28) and Gary Sanchez (#24)

It is a good thing that Gary Sanchez is back, again, for the postseason. However, the Yankees need to careful with him with both his placements in the line-up and his health over (hopefully) the next few weeks. You can’t play your catcher every single game, and the Yankees have enough solid bats that if Sanchez isn’t behind the plate, I think he should just be sitting on the bench. Losing him at this point would be losing one of the biggest positional strengths the Yankees hold over almost every other team in World Series contention.

Romine is a perfect back-up catcher. He’s been fantastic this year with playing as the back-up and as the temporary starter, and I have complete faith in him to produce during the games that Sanchez will be resting.

This is when it all counts. This is when it matters. #NextManUp — New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 4, 2019

The Infielders: Edwin Encarnacion (#30), Didi Gregorius (#18), DJ LeMahieu (#26), Gleyber Torres (#25), Gio Urshela (#29), Luke Voit (#45), and Tyler Wade (#14)

The Yankees line-up tonight features a very smart alignment for prioritizing the best defense and offense combo possible. There is a serious battle for who will be the normal 1st baseman, and it seems as though it could be DJ LeMahieu throughout the postseason. Personally, I’m a big fan of this.

That opens up 2nd base for Gleyber Torres, SS for Didi Gregorius, and 3B for Gio Urshela, all of whom should be starting where they are. A debate could be made for Gleyber at shortstop, DJ LeMahieu at second, and Edwin Encarnacion or Luke Voit at first, but I don’t think it would be as good.

Maximizing defense efficiency through the playoffs has proven time and again to be the smart strategy. Yes, Didi Gregorius has been underwhelming at the plate this season, but I’d prefer his defense at shortstop over Gleyber Torres, whose bat is a necessary staple from here on out. Gio Urshela has been an out-of-nowhere hero for this team in 2019 and has easily cemented his role in the line-up.

Using a mixture of Edwin Encarnacion or Luke Voit at DH also keeps a serious threat on the bench when the situation finds itself, which also allows for the Yankees to be sneaky with moving either DJ LeMahieu or Tyler Wade around the infield in order to keep that defensive boost.

The Outfield: Brett Gardner (#11), Aaron Judge (#99), Cameron Maybin (#38), and Giancarlo Stanton (#27)

Again, no major surprises here. Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton will be holding down the outfield as a trio throughout the playoffs. They can, and will produce, and there is no better alignment possible for the Yankees.

Honestly, there isn’t much else to say about the outfield. It would have been interesting to see if Aaron Hicks was healthy enough to make a case for himself, or how they would’ve dealt with Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier, but weirdly enough it seems to have worked itself out.

Going into the season, it wouldn’t have been what I would’ve hoped for. Yet, given their 2019 seasons- and for Stanton, being Stanton- I have my faith in what these three will do.


Who are the Notable Omissions?

Most of the omissions obviously came from injury, which prevented some players from being able to get healthy or back into playing shape for the 2019 World Series run.

This includes guys like the previously mentioned hitters like Aaron Hicks and Mike Tauchman as well as pitchers like Dellin Betances, David Hale, and Jonathan Holder.

However, it is truly saddening to see #52, not on the roster.

It makes all the baseball sense in the world. The New York (football) Giants dealt with a similar thing with Eli Manning, and it ended up hurting the team. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t sad.

Through all of this though, it makes me respect CC Sabathia even more with how he handled not making the roster. (Due, in large part as well to his knee and recent shoulder problems as well)

CC Sabathia: “Not being able to participate in the playoffs is rough, but I don’t want to put the team in jeopardy. I want the best opportunity for this team to win a championship. I feel like we have a good opportunity, so I don’t want to be selfish.” — Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 3, 2019

I like this team, I like this roster, and I like the Game 1 Lineup. I think they can make a serious push for the World Series.

Especially with the motivation coming from veteran players like CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner, I think there is an element of heart that this team could ride towards #28. It’s unquantifiable, but I’m starting to feel it in the air as we have a few short hours to go before game time.


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