New York Yankees disrespected by ESPN lineup projection

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

There’s little evidence the New York Yankees‘ hitting order should be any lower than second in overall projections leading up to the start of the 2020 campaign.

ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle projected the top MLB Lineups this past week, and of course, they covered the eyes of regular fans by hiding the standings behind a paywall where nobody can see the abysmal place of the Yankees. He projected the Bombers as the 9th overall best lineup in 2020, which, to those with a fraction of a brain, would say is nonsense.

This was the list leading up to the New York Yankees:

  1. Astros
  2. Dodgers
  3. Mets
  4. Angels
  5. Cubs
  6. Athletics
  7. Braves
  8. Red Sox
  9. Yankees

Wait, the Mets have a better hitting order than the Yankees, who have one of the most intimidating top-four batters in baseball. Starting with DJ LeMahieu, then Aaron Judge, on to Gleyber Torres, and finishing with Giancarlo Stanton, the four combined for over 100 homers in 2019, and two of the players on the list missed significant time, or barely played at all.

The Yankees have adopted a home-run centric mentality towards their hitters, which has helped in run production and overall efficiency with runners on base. Increasing launch angle by tweaking fundamentals has made hitters like Gio Urshela dangerous in the batter’s box.

Considering the Bombers won 103-games in 2019, it’s fair to assume they will topple that mark in 2020 with the return of a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar. Of course, it’s impossible to guarantee anything, but spending $324 million on Gerrit Cole and returning a relatively healthy group should indicate an uptick in production and efficiency.

The statistical factors that Doolittle considers range from contact to speed — here’s the full list of factors he used to compile the list:

“Each team’s ranking is listed for the following categories: contact (strikeout percentage); patience (walk percentage); power (isolated power, i.e., slugging percentage minus batting average); speed (based on a statistical speed score, not actual measured foot speed via Statcast), and balance (how well a lineup matches up against both lefties and righties). All numbers mentioned in this piece have been converted to a park-neutral context.”

If you’re going to utilize these metrics to determine the strength of the batting order, it should consider many other factors, including timely home-runs with runners on base, and the return of players who missed time in 2019. I believe the Yankees are far better than this list indicates, for apparent reasons.

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