The New York Yankees Could Have a Big Problem in the Batting Order

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

With Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, and several above-average hitters featuring in the New York Yankees‘ batting order, it’s hard to imagine they will struggle in 2019.

The Yankees had one of the best lineups in the league in 2018:

Last season, they set home run records (267) and racked up massive amounts of runs despite players like Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, and Brett Gardner struggling at the plate. The inconsistency of some batters didn’t affect the team as much as you’d think – 100 wins can attest to that.

When the playoffs rolled around, the hitting began to fall off, especially in the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. Their logistics team found ways to penetrate the home-run centric ideology behind the Yankees’ order, which allowed them to force strikeouts and ground balls.



The primary issue in the Yankees’ batting order:

The issue in 2019 won’t be centered around the exploitation of their sluggers, but rather the number of right-handed hitters in the lineup. The only left-hitting options are Gardner, who will play a rotational role this season, switch hitter Aaron Hicks, the troublesome Bird, and Tommy John surgery victim Didi Gregorius.

The primary slots in the lineup are all righty’s, which could pose problems down the stretch against teams with aggressive right-handed pitchers. The fact that most pitchers in the MLB are righty presents a problem against one-sided batting orders like the Yankees’. Moving forward, I would expect the Bombers to stick with their current plans and brush aside this fact, but at the end of the day, it could be their biggest weakness, and they will have to find a way to work around it.

Last year, the lineup was over 60% right-handed, which was slightly above the league average of 58%. Manager Aaron Boone stated that he doesn’t care how right-handed his order is, simply due to the fact that a majority of them are world class hitters.

“I’d rather have better players than going out and acquiring someone because he’s a better fit, because he hits from a certain side of the plate,” the Yankee manager said. “I think, considering relative health, we’re going to have a stud lineup we roll out there at you every day.”

 

Most batters have faced righty pitchers more frequently throughout their baseball career, so it doesn’t necessarily have an impact on their efficiency. It will be interesting to see how opposing teams pitch around the Yankees, as there aren’t many weak spots in the order.