We are almost at the point where pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. I cannot begin to tell you how excited that makes me and the legions of baseball fans around the globe. Yankees Nation is due to see a number of changes this season compared to seasons past. The projected 2018 Yankees starting lineup will not be the same as seasons past. There is a new name that brings with him the burden of where the pinstripes and the pressure of playing in one of the biggest and most fickle markets in the United States.
The winds of change are here and it is the beginning of the future in New York. Of course, when you look at a projected 2018 Yankees starting lineup, there is also the ever declining health and playability of the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury. It is just reality and proof that Father Time will remain unbeaten and he chooses when to impact a player’s career. Did I make you think he would make the starting lineup? I was just kidding folks.
Let’s take a look at the projected 2018 Yankees starting lineup and break each spot down just a bit. Of course Spring Training play, injury, and any matter of item can shift this projection at any time but for now, I feel good about projecting this as the Opening Day starting lineup.
|1||BRETT GARDNER||LEFT FIELD|
|2||AARON JUDGE||RIGHT FIELD|
|3||GREG BIRD||FIRST BASE|
|4||GIANCARLO STANTON||DESIGNATED HITTER|
|7||AARON HICKS||CENTER FIELD|
|8||MIGUEL ANDUJAR||THIRD BASE|
|9||GLEYBER TORRES||SECOND BASE|
Projected 2018 Yankees Starting Lineup – Brett Gardner Number 1
Is he an ideal choice? No, but he is the ideal choice with the roster the Yankees currently have. He carried one of the best OBPs of any player on the Yankees last year and has the most speed coupled with baserunning acumen in order to create runs. He is a step slower but is still a 30 stolen base threat. The biggest reason to put him on top of the order is his ability to make pitchers work. He is constantly near the top of the league in pitches seen. He will start the season at the top of the Yankee order in his probable last run with the Bronx Bombers.
Projected 2018 Yankees Starting Lineup – Aaron Judge Number 2
An argument could be made for batting Judge as the leadoff man thanks to his incredibly high ability to get on base via hit or walk. Should fans expect a season, in year two, like we got last year? No, of course not. People will say regression but I hate that since he must have something to fall back to in order for a regression to occur. Instead, let’s call it a sophomore slump in which he hits 39 home runs, bats .260 and has an OBP around .400. Now that is fine by me. The sky is the limit for Judge and that is why he will hit in the two hole to start the season.
Projected 2018 Yankees Starting Lineup – Greg Bird Number 3
What? Am I insane? Not really. Let’s not forget the hype about Bird and how much he raked in Spring Training last year. He had a foot injury for most of the regular season but when the doctors finally figured it out and he was worked on, he came back with a stroke intact. In the ALDS and ALCS last year, he hit three home runs, had five RBI, added two doubles, and pulled in a .556 and .500 Slugging Percentage respectfully. Many, including manager Aaron Boone (when still with ESPN) predicted Brid would be the better “hitter” than Judge. Spring Training can change things but this guy can flat out hit.
Projected 2018 Yankees Starting Lineup – Giancarlo Stanton Number 4
In the move that nobody really expected to come true but some created scenarios that could have occurred, Stanton became a Yankee and his bat will lend well to the concept of the Bronx Bombers. He has hit as high as two in the Marlins order but here in New York, he will settle in as the cleanup bat. This should assure a plethora of baserunners for the massive Stanton to drive in throughout the year and puts a buffer between the pop of Judge and Stanton. This ensures he has protection behind him as well. It is an insane lineup that will merely wait for a pitcher to make a mistake and Stanton can really make them pay.
Projected 2018 Yankees Starting Lineup – Gary Sanchez Number 5
It is a little bit hard to imagine that the Yankees will trot out a 33 home run, 90 RBI, .278 average hitting catcher in a 122 games in 2017 into their five hole. Most teams would be hitting him three in their lineups. That just talks to how good the Yankees lineup is capable of being. An added by product (which could make him flip with Gregorius into the six hole) is that there is less pressure in this spot, which might allow him to focus a little more on catching a games and cut down on passed balls and blocking balls in the dirt.