New York Yankees: Aaron Boone made horrific mistakes in game three batting order

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

So let’s get this straight, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone not only kept the previously 0-for-9 Edwin Encarnacion in the cleanup spot, but he also featured Brett Gardner right in front of him at No. 3. Gardner is 2-for-9 over the last two losses to the Houston Astros and hasn’t made an impact in any significant way.

The fact is, Gardner could barely even play the field as he crashed into the outfield wall trying to make a warning-track catch. His bat was off, his ability to track fly balls was off, and yet Boone elected to stick with the veteran through thick and thin. Was this a strange sentimental start on behalf of Boone?

Alternatively, Boone could have started speed-demon Cameron Maybin in right field and featured him in the batting order, likely moving him down the list and Gleyber Torres up to the three spot. Torres was the only real threat on Tuesday night against Gerrit Cole, who blanked the Yanks over seven innings despite several concerning innings that nearly resulted in run production.

The Bombers weren’t able to claw away at the Astros and their stellar starting pitchers, though, as Severino allowed two runs early on to dig the Yankees into a hole. The offensive power the New York Yankees featured during the Twins completely turned off due to opposing pitching, but there’s still hope on the horizon.

Based on the struggles of individual players, here’s a revised New York Yankees batting order for game four:

1.) DJ LeMahieu

2.) Aaron Judge

3.) Gleyber Torres

4.) Gary Sanchez

5.) Aaron Hicks

6.) Didi Gregorius

7.) Brett Gardner

8.) Cameron Maybin

9.) Gio Urshela

First off, Edwin Encarnacion has to go — 1-for-13 is despicable, and featuring him in the lineup any longer cannot be justified. Plugging Sanchez into the cleanup spot makes logical sense considering his power, despite his struggles. Since benching him is off the table due to his catching abilities, they can move him up just to take Edwin out.

The reality is, the Yankees need to maximize their effectiveness towards the top portion of the lineup, and stacking it through with high-contact hitters makes the most sense. Generally, the Yanks were in a scoring position more frequently when the top of the batting order was at-bat. Aaron Hicks, the outlier, earned two walks on the day and showed stellar patience against Cole.

Moving him up to the fifth spot in the order gives the Yanks a switch-hitting option that can contribute with discipline behind Sanchez. Also, Brett Gardner has got to GO. His lack of contact is continuous, and his frustration/emotion has taken its toll on his confidence. Unfortunately, the Yanks simply don’t have any other options with Giancarlo Stanton nursing an injured quad.

Putting Maybin in is a necessity for game three.

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone might have to make a difficult decision in batting order

New York Yankees, Edwin Encarnacion

The New York Yankees fell to the Houston Astros Sunday night in heartwrenching fashion. Eleven innings of pure dominance from the Yankees pitching wasn’t enough to secure the win as J.A. Happ allowed a home run in the bottom of the innings to Carlos Correa, the Yankee killer from two years ago in game two of the ALCS.

Despite the quality of pitching for Aaron Boone and his team, the offense was the primary issue, and he might be forced into a difficult decision if the struggles continue for two players in the hitting order.

Boone and the Yankees have established a home run philosophy that generally ignores the strikeout totals and focuses solely on long ball production and the psychological toll it has on the opposing team. A homerun represents power, intimidation, and the change in momentum.

Aaron Judge’s two-run blast in the fourth inning against Justin Verlander was a massive blow to the Houston confidence, but considering the home-game factor, they were able to rally and secure the victory in a must-win game. The decision Boone will have to make is — does he considering switching out Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Gardner for two other options?

Encarnacion finished Sunday 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and Gardner 2-for-5 with two strikeouts. The latter had an impressive at-bat towards the end of the sixth inning to rack up the pitch count on Verlander, and his hard ground ball to second-base that bounced off Jose Altuve’s glove would have scored DJ LeMahieu from second base if it wasn’t for Correa’s impressive throw to home.

Encarnacion is the real question mark, though, as he’s 0-for-9 with six strikeouts over two games, even failing to contribute in any fashion during the New York Yankees 7-0 trouncing over the Astros in game-one.

Who could the New York Yankees replace Encarnacion with?

Sometimes, choosing to make a change in the hitting order is the right move, and switching Edwin out is in the interest of the team. Moving Gary Sanchez up in the four-spot could make sense since the probability of success increases based on Encarnacion’s struggles and the unlikelihood of him turning it around against Gerrit Cole.

Sanchez is a must-start on the team regardless, so moving him up couldn’t hurt. Boone would then, theoretically, insert Aaron Hicks into the lineup at No. 7, giving the Yanks a reliable switch-hitting option later on in the batting order. They could also elect to utilize Cameron Maybin more frequently, considering his consistency as of late and ability to run the bases well.

There are a lot of difficult decisions Boone will have to make during the postseason, but taking Encarnacion out of the lineup must be one of them.

EXTRA:

Encarnacion’s struggles makes the decision to drop Luke Voit that much more questionable. After Voit was dropped, Boone stated:

“He was disappointed,” Boone said. “Understandably, you know? My biggest message to him now is just is as tough a time as it’s been for him of late last coming back from this (sports hernia and he’s) doing all he can to stay as mentally engaged as possible because it can flip on a dime and you’re right in the middle of things tomorrow based on a number of things that could happen, or you’re still very much in play if we’re able to get past this and enter the World Series.”

With Giancarlo Stanton suffering a quad injury, the Yanks could be in trouble, but they have quality support to supplement injuries.

 

 

New York Yankees news, 10/15 – Aaron Boone to make some changes in hitting order

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Good Morning, New York Yankees Fans!

After a severe loss to the Astros on Sunday, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone will need to find a way to inject more offensive power into the batting order. With Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Gardner accounting for five strikeouts on the night, switching out one of those two options might be beneficial for the team.

In all likelihood, moving Gary Sanchez up the order to the No. 4 spot and replacing him with either Cameron Maybin or Aaron Hicks makes the most sense. Encarnacion hasn’t recorded a hit in two games over nine at-bats. Maybin offers great base-running and a consistent bat (as of late), and Hicks is a switch hitter than can pose a problem towards the end of the lineup against opposing pitchers.

Boone has some tough decisions to make, especially in the first home game with Luis Severino starting. If the Yankees ace can go five innings, they will be in good shape handling the rest of the game, but the offense will have fits with Astros star pitcher, Gerrit Cole, who enters the game with a 0.57 ERA over two games this postseason.

Tackling Cole and putting a few runs on the board will be difficult, but there’s a reason they saved him for the first game of the away-stretch. The Yankees, however, could take advantage of Cole’s deficiency this past season. As one of the best pitchers in baseball, Cole struggled a bit in the long ball department, allowing 29 home runs and a career-high 16.9% home run fly ball rate. He allowed ten homers more this year than in 2018, which the Yanks will undoubtedly be looking at when they build their lineup on Tuesday.

That fact alone could be the deciding factor in keeping Encarnacion in the lineup or not — utilizing his power and launch angle against Cole. Beating the Astros pitcher will come down to specific pitches and who is fortunate enough to catch one of his mistakes.

Fangraphs gives a fantastic description of this topic, which I will post below!

Nonetheless–

Your top news of the day:

Jake Mailhot – How Did Eric Sogard Hit a Home Run Off Gerrit Cole?

Mike Axisa – Yankees vs. Astros: Giancarlo Stanton questionable for ALCS Game 3 due to quad injury

George A. King III – Reggie Jackson’s profane rant accidentally reaches Giancarlo Stanton

Tom Verducci – Inside the Surprising Pitching Change That Cost Aaron Boone and the Yankees
Alexander Wilson – New York Yankees: Aaron Boone mistake costs Yankees game 2 of ALCS

New York Yankees: Aaron Hicks over Cameron Maybin?

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The official 2019 New York Yankees ALCS roster has been released. There is still a lingering question that remains in the minds of many: should Aaron Hicks start over Cameron Maybin?

Hicks or Maybin?

To begin, let’s talk about both players and career stats. In 2496 plate appearances, Hicks slashed .236/.328/.401/.729 with a .318 wOBA and a 99 wRC+. In 4117 plate appearances, Maybin slashed .256/.324/.376/.701 with a .309 wOBA and a 94 wRC+. There is a massive difference in plate appearances, but overall Hicks is a better hitter.

Now let’s talk about their 2019 regular season stats. In 255 plate appearances, Hicks slashed .235/.325/.443/.769 with a .325 wOBA and a 102 wRC+. In 269 plate appearances, Maybin slashed .285/.364/.494/.858 with a .362 wOBA and a 127 wRC+. This case is more accurate as Maybin only had 14 more plate appearances than Hicks. However, Maybin was a better hitter this season.

Defensive stats also deserve to be recognized. In 5251.1 innings, Hicks has a 15 DRS, .912 RZR, 19.6 UZR, and a 4.9 UZR/150. In 8552.1 innings, Maybin has a 1 DRS, .907 RZR, 6.2 UZR, and a 1.0 UZR/150. It’s blatantly obvious that Hicks has been the better defender, regardless of the massive difference in innings played.

Just as I did earlier, let’s dive into 2019 regular season numbers. In 499.1 innings, Hicks had a -1 DRS, .893 RZR, 0.6 UZR, and a 0.8 UZR/150. In 588.1 innings, Maybin had a 0 DRS, .879 RZR, -0.2 UZR and a -0.2 UZR/150. In this case, Hicks was still the better defender this season.

When comparing career numbers, Hicks is the better hitter and defender. When comparing numbers from the 2019 regular season, Maybin was the better hitter, but Hicks was the better defender.

Taking an analytical approach, this argument is clearly in Hicks’ favor, but does that mean he deserves to start over Maybin? Not necessarily.

Hicks has been recovering from an elbow injury and hasn’t played since Aug. 3. While Edwin Encarnacion was able to make an immediate impact in the postseason after coming off an oblique injury, to expect Hicks to do the same is pushing the boundaries. Then again, Didi Gregorius was able to snap out of his slump and is slashing .400/.500/.700/1.200 with a .494 wOBA and a 216 wRC+ in the postseason.

There is also the concern that Hicks will be thrust into the batter’s box, expected to figure out his timing immediately against elite pitching in the Houston Astros. Then again, Encarnacion made a significant impact on his first game back and Gregorius was a force to be reckoned with during games 2 and 3. It’s definitely a gamble that could go either way.

However, playing Maybin over Hicks might be the safest option. Maybin can still be used off the bench for speed, as he stole 9 bases, recorded a 0.7 BsR and was in the 87th percentile range for speed in the 2019 regular season. He also has stolen 2 bases this postseason and hasn’t been caught stealing. Maybin also proved to be an above-average hitter in the 2019 regular season.

New York Yankees: An Ideal Starting Lineup for the Post-Season

New York Yankees shortstop, Didi Gregorius.

Aaron Boone, the manager of the New York Yankees, has a fun, but challenging task of creating a lineup for the postseason.

The Yankees currently have the best record in baseball at 95-51, are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and have an 8.5 game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees have one more two-game set against the Rays, at Tropicana Field, near the end of the month (MLB.com).

With the recent news of Hicks possibly needing Tommy John surgery and Tauchman being out the rest of the season, that opens up some spots in the outfield on the postseason roster. Stanton is the candidate to get the starting spot in left once he comes back off the IL. Clint Frazier could see an increase in playing time as well and will most likely make the postseason roster with all of these injuries.

What should the Starting Lineup Look Like in the Post-Season?

Once everyone comes back from injury, an ideal lineup would look like this: Lemahieu (3B), Judge (RF), Sanchez (C), Encarnacion (DH), Stanton (LF), Voit (1B), Torres (2B), Gregorius (SS), and Gardner (CF). Even for the Astros pitching, that would be a tough lineup to get through.  The balanced hitting of Lemahieu and Judge will set up the middle of the order, where all of the power comes from. Then, the sneaky home run leader, Torres, will add value to the bottom-third of the lineup. Gardner, a player that always seems to make something happen, whether it’s drawing a walk or stealing a base, is a perfect nine hitter to set up the top of the lineup.

Some key players off the bench would be: Gio Urshela (3B), for his electric plays on defense and consistent bat, Cameron Maybin (OF), for his veteran presence and ability to everything he asked to do at a high level, and Austin Romine (C), for his ability to lead as a veteran and come up clutch in big moments at the plate. He also seems to bond well with the pitchers and gives them extra confidence the mound.

Also, for the ALDS, Boone should most likely have Paxton start game 1 with his recent success. Tanaka game 2, Severino game 3, and German open up game 4, with Sabathia and/or Happ, right behind Severino or German. Severino will need some time to get back to his full durability audit may not be this season. German has also thrown a lot of innings this year and they should be careful with his arm. This plan would allow The Yankees could be smart to utilize all of their options to keep everyone fresh out of the bullpen.

Using this strategy, Boone can help lead the New York Yankees to their first World Series in a decade.

New York Yankees lose two influential outfielders for remainder of season

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

As if losing Giancarlo Stanton for a significant portion of the regular season wasn’t enough, the New York Yankees will also be without two influential outfielders for the postseason.

Centerfielder Aaron Hicks and utility outfielder Mike Tauchman will miss the remainder of the season with severe injuries. The Yankees can’t seem to go even a week without losing a productive player that can help them during the playoffs, but they will need to supplement the loss with quality nonetheless.

Hicks, who was hitting .235 on the season with 12 homers, went for an opinion on his right flexor strain. The doctor stated that he should give the ailment a few more weeks rest until reevaluating.

Manager Aaron Boone said, “surgery certainly would be on the table. I wouldn’t even call it likely. It’s very much up in the air with how he responds.”

The Yankees starting outfielder hasn’t responded well, which will likely result in him enduring surgery and prematurely ending his season. Finding a replacement for the playoffs got a bit more complicated with Tauchman hitting the IL as well with a strained calf.

With just three outfielders 100% healthy, the Yanks will need to bank on those players to play at a high level. Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Judge are the healthy options, with Cameron Maybin dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. That ailment will linger for the remainder of the season, but he will need to play through it.

Stanton’s return will be hugely impactful in helping the outfield come together as a cohesive unit once more. His power and hitting quality will also be a factor in a potential deep run for the Yanks. The lack of outfield options will give Frazier the chance to make the active roster for the postseason and even earn playing time if injuries strike again.

New York Yankees need their esteemed veteran for the playoffs

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

For only the second time in 12 years, New York Yankees veteran leader and outfielder Brett Gardner has broken the 20 home run mark.

Gardner, known for his speed and slap-shot abilities, has adjusted his launch angle to provide more upward lift increasing home runs. While his batting average is just .245, he has earned 58 RBIs, 11 more than in 2010 where his BA was .277. He only hit five homers that year, which shows how influential the long ball can be in supporting runs and helping compensate for lack of pitching, something the Yankees have dealt with during the 2019 season.

The Yankees will undoubtedly need their “wise man” for the playoffs. In what was thought to be his final season with the Bombers, Gardner has justified his worth and that he is deserving of another year with the only team he has ever played for.

Brett Gardner has been a beast for the New York Yankees:

Brett’s influence comes in more ways than just his home runs totals — his leadership and experience have helped the younger players on the roster develop and mature.

He’s been great. He’s been such a good player between the lines,” manager Aaron Boone said. “For as banged up as we’ve been, he’s been one of the constants. He’s such a grinder. He’s a guy that everyone looks to. The edge that he brings to the ballpark every day rubs off on guys. There’s obviously that leadership element and quality he brings that is so important, but I think it’s really important that we not overlook what a good player he is, and what a good two-way player he’s been.

For the Yanks this season, Gardner has been an integral piece of the offense and defense as players have dropped due to injuries. From Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Tauchman, Aaron Hicks, to Cameron Maybin, Gardner has kept his health, even as the veteran of the group.

Moving forward, the Bombers will need him to continue producing and will likely start him during the playoffs in the field if Stanton is unable. Ideally, he would act as a utility player in the outfield as the intensity elevates during the postseason. He’s a great option to supplement injuries.

 

New York Yankees have difficult decision to make in the outfield

New York Yankees, Cameron Maybin

With the New York Yankees heading into the back end of the regular season, difficult decisions loom for manager Aaron Boone. Specifically, in the outfield, the Yankees are stacked with talent and potential for the playoffs.

Finding the right players, however, is the tricky part. Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Brett Gardner will all be postseason players. Beyond those starting three, the Yankees and Boone need to make several difficult decisions based on who will provide the most value and efficiency at the plate.

Injuries have plagued the team this season, which has forced regular starter Giancarlo Stanton out for a majority of the campaign. He will likely be the designated hitter for the playoffs if he can manage to return in time.

As a whole, the outfield has been as productive this season as last, when it was one of the majors’ best. With a .835 OPS of 2019 compared to .812 last year, the unit is not only productive at the plate but also defensively.

Adding the likes of Cameron Maybin and Mike Tauchman have allowed the Yankees to experiment with different combinations of players and avoid significant fatigue to their primary starters. Maybin and Tauchman have a combined .853 OPS and 3.5 wins above replacement in 504 plate appearances.

Boone will have a difficult decision to make when it comes to choosing between the two journeyman players. The former is a better base runner and is just as talented on the defensive side of the ball, but Tauchman is a lefty and provides the lineup with a bit more diversity.

Throw in the likes of Clint Frazier, and Boone might not be sleeping much for the next several weeks. Frazier, who is had a tough time staying at the major league level with attitude issues, still has offensive value despite his defensive woes.

Gardner will likely retain his spot for the postseason given his veteran leadership and ability to come in clutch. Hicks, who has been dealing with injuries throughout the season is the primary centerfielder and will also earn a spot.

The final outfield spot will likely come down to Maybin and Tauchman — I favor Cameron simply because he offers more in every facet of the game than Mike. Stanton will be the obvious choice to hold over the left-field position if he can play defense, but he is looking like the penciled in designated hitter once he returns.

New York Yankees to pull up Clint Frazier for playoff run?

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees banished outfielder Clint Frazier to the minor-league system after a string of aggressive responses towards beat reports and a flurry of defensive mishaps.

If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that the Yankees don’t tolerate drama or negativity from their players, and Frazier wound up being the example of that truth. Spending the last few months with the Scranton Wiles-Barre Railriders, the young offensive maestro has sat idly by waiting for his opportunity at the top level once again.

The question is:

Will the New York Yankees bring up Clint Frazier for the playoffs?

While his negativity towards his defensive struggles got him reassigned to the minors, he still has plenty of value to offer. His bat is one of the quickest in the league and can produce when called upon. However, he was replaced by both Cameron Maybin and Mike Tauchman, two journeyman players that have failed to make significant impacts throughout their careers.

The Yankees have managed to extract immense value from career-average players this season, and it has made Frazier a non-factor and justified their decision to imprison him at a lower level.

Over 53 games with the Bombers this season, Frazier has hit .283 with 11 homers, and 34 RBIs and an .843 OPS. Manager Aaron Boone stated that Frazier would likely be called up for a playoff push before the September 1 deadline.

“I think Frazier will probably be here, yeah,” manager Aaron Boone said.

While he’s not likely to earn much playing time, having his bat readily available is appropriate. Factoring in the injuries and fatigue, he’s a reliable option when it comes to plug-and-play players.  Most figured that Frazier would have been traded before the traded deadline on July 31, but the fact that he stayed with the team says two things. Either general manager Brian Cashman couldn’t find a suitor for him, or the team feels he can be an essential piece for the future.

Nonetheless, he will likely be a part of Yankees active roster in just a few days.

 

New York Yankees: Cameron Maybin Continues Solid Play

New York Yankees, Cameron Maybin

New York Yankees outfielder Cameron Maybin deserves more credit for his play in 2019. He came in to fill gaps created by injuries, then got injured himself before returning about a month ago.

Maybin is by no means a star, but he has been very solid overall. He is very fast, meaning he can steal bags and cover a lot of ground in the outfield. His speed makes his defense good.

Entering Wednesday’s game, he’s batting .308 in 60 games for the Yankees, well above his .257 career average. Prior to this season, he was no more than an average outfielder for an average team.

He started the year in AAA with the Cleveland Indians, so he must of really tweaked a lot of his swing.

Maybin also has eight home runs, but four of them were in consecutive games. He has 26 runs batted in, and an OBP near .400.

Over the last few weeks, Maybin’s average has dropped a bit, but that is likely the cause of inconsistent at-bats. He was his absolute best when he was playing every day, but isn’t as sharp only playing a few days a week.

It would be great if the Yankees could hold on to him for a few more years. I love Gardner, but it’s time for the Yankees to part ways with him. Imagine a five man outfield of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Maybin, and Mike Tauchman. Having all five of those guys healthy and on your roster would definitely win a lot of ball games for the Yankees.