Didi Gregorius and Luke Voit have been question marks regarding whether or not they will start in the postseason. Some people believe Gregorius must start because of his clutch moments in the 2017 and 2018 fall classics, while others believe he needs to be benched because of his lackluster offensive and defensive numbers. As for Voit, some people believe he must start because of his 2019 offensive numbers, while others believe he needs to be benched because of his ice-cold slump through the month of September.
What would benefit the team as an organization? What is the best solution to help the New York Yankees win the Commissioner’s Trophy in October? Let’s begin with Gregorius and his possible role in the postseason. Keep in mind that this article is opinionated and doesn’t correlate to the decisions that the organization will draw up.
Although Gregorius has produced an endless amount of memorable moments in his career, he has been mediocre this season. In 344 plate appearances, he slashed .238/.276/.441/.717 with a .297 wOBA and an 84 wRC+. He also has an extremely low 4.9 BB%. Not even the inflated stats from the Minnesota Twins series’ and the number of grand slams Gregorius has cashed in help his case. As far as defense is concerned, he isn’t much better. In 688.1 innings, he recorded a -5 DRS, 0.5 UZR, and a 0.6 UZR/150
An average hitter in the 2019 season slashed .252/.323/.435/.758 with a .320 wOBA and a 97 wRC+. This means that Gregorius is below average in AVG, OBP, OPS, wOBA, wRC+ and BB%. In the month of September, he slashed .190/.247/.380/.627 with a .259 wOBA and a 58 wRC+. He hasn’t produced the best at-bats and has struggled with plate discipline, hence why his BB% is low. On a positive note, he isn’t striking out much and is above average with a 15.4 K%.
Shifting over to the defense. An average shortstop in the 2019 season recorded a 0 DRS, 2.8 UZR, and a 0.1 UZR/150. Gregorius is below average in terms of DRS and UZR. Although his 0.5 UZR isn’t atrocious by any means, it’s not a great stat either. However, he is slightly above average in terms of UZR/150.
It’s blatantly obvious that Gregorius should not start in the postseason. While I do believe that team chemistry exists, he hasn’t produced much this season and that’s a problem. Fans should be more concerned with the best possible lineup overplaying the favorite card. Gregorius hasn’t played well this season, so why would he magically begin on a hot streak in October?
No player transforms into a better hitter and becomes more clutch just because it’s playoff season. If you’re a “clutch” player, you will show up when it matters, regardless if it’s April, July or October. The Yanks’ have much better hitters on the team that can be shifted into positions where they thrive. More on the lineup as a whole later.
As far as Voit is concerned, he has been much more productive with the bat. In 510 plate appearances, he slashed .263/.378/.464/.842 with a .360 wOBA and a 126 wRC+. He also recorded a 13.9 BB%, which is well above average and correlates to his high OBP. Among hitters with over 500 plate appearances in the AL, Voit is 10th in OBP and 6th in BB%.
The only concerning issue Voit has is his 27.8 K%, which is the 4th highest in the AL. On many occasions, he goes down looking without swinging on pitches that are clearly in the strike zone. Another concerning issue is the massive slump he has endured lately. Through the month of September, he slashed .194/.326/.347/.670 with a .299 wOBA and an 85 wRC+. In 72 at-bats, he only racked up 14 hits with 23 strikeouts. Even worse, by the end of Sept. 28, he went 1-for-32 with 13 strikeouts.
Defensively, Voit is a below-average defender. An average 1st baseman in the 2019 season recorded a 5 DRS, 1.5 UZR and a 0.0 UZR/150. In 706.1 innings, Voit recorded an ugly -6 DRS, -4.1 UZR and a -12.4 UZR/150
Unlike Gregorius, who is a below-average hitter and defender, Voit is an above-average hitter and a below-average defender. Voit definitely has the inferior defensive numbers but has a significantly better bat than Gregorius. 1st base is also not as physically demanding as a shortstop and is a much more flexible position to work around.
Overall, Voit has a better opportunity of making the postseason roster than Gregorius. With the current situation for both players, the ideal postseason roster might consist of:
- DJ LeMahieu – 2B
- Aaron Judge – RF
- Gleyber Torres – SS
- Giancarlo Stanton – LF
- Brett Gardner – CF
- Gary Sanchez – C
- Edwin Encarnacion – DH
- Gio Urshela – 3B
- Mike Ford – 1B
Yes, Mike Ford is on the lineup. I have a tremendous amount of faith in him and with the current pace Voit is on, this roster would be the most beneficial. Shift DJ to 2B and Torres to SS to compensate for Gregorius. Shift Ford to 1B and Encarnacion to DH. This is for precautionary reasons since Encarnacion is recovering from an oblique injury.
As I stated in the beginning, this is an opinionated article. If Gregorius and Voit happen to land on the postseason roster and demolish the league, I’ll gladly accept I was in the wrong. Until then, it’s all about winning championships overplaying the favorite card.