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Which Yankees would make a 2018 version of Backyard Baseball?

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As everyone’s favorite childhood game turns 21, we look at which Yankees can play alongside Pablo Sanchez.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An important event took place this week for anyone who grew up in the 90’s. This past Wednesday was the day that your favorite childhood video game was legally allowed to buy a beer. The 21st anniversary of Backyard Baseball meant nostalgia ran rampant on Twitter and Instagram.

Released October 24th, 1997, by Humongous Entertainment, Backyard Baseball was a cartoon computer game that stole years of daylight from every kid with a CD slot and a mouse. Assuming the role of manager, the game allows you to pick from a crowd of fictional players to populate your lineup card. The diverse character list was fun to browse but ultimately, the first pick was always a small, pot-bellied player with a backwards hat named Pablo Sanchez.

Pablo didn’t look like an athlete but with skill ratings like his, looks sure were deceiving. Pablo was a 4/4 hitter, a 4/4 baserunner, a 3/4 pitcher, and a 4/4 fielder. His unassuming manner paired with his larger-than-life play made him a cult hero, known to this day as the greatest of all time. This reputation also meant that Pablo was really the only original, fictional character to be picked when later variations of Backyard Baseball began to include child-like versions of MLB players.

With the release of Backyard Baseball 2001, a crop of young Yankee fans finally got to play with the player they always wanted: Derek Jeter. In 2003, a new version was released, this time also adding Jason Giambi to the list of available Yankees. But, what members of the 2018 Yankees would make the character list if the game was released today? Aaron Judge comes to mind as the first choice, but what if they weren’t chosen solely on popularity? Let’s investigate.

Without further ado: the Backyard Baseball lineup card for the 2018 New York Yankees (based on 2018 performance).

LF Andrew McCutchen
Nickname: Cutch
Birthday: 10/10/86
Cutch is a veteran, through and through. He may not be the flashiest player out there, but consistency is key.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 2/4
Running: 2/4
Pitching: 0/4
Fielding: 2/4

RF Aaron Judge
Nickname: All Rise
Birthday: 4/26/92
Judge is a power hitting, strong-armed star. If hitting bombs is your thing, this is the guy you want.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 4/4
Running: 2/4
Pitching: 2/4
Fielding: 4/4

CF Aaron Hicks
Nickname: A-A-ron
Birthday: 10/2/89
Though he doesn’t have the star power of some of the other players, A-A-ron can do it all. With pitching experience and a cannon for an arm, he can also take the mound. This guy might just be your MVP.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 3/4
Running: 3/4
Pitching: 3/4
Fielding: 4/4

DH Giancarlo Stanton
Nickname: G
Birthday: 11/8/89
Home runs a-plenty but Stanton will also come with a lot of strike outs. Still, a solid glove and some giant home runs make this stud worthy of your pick.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 3/4
Running: 1/4
Pitching: 1/4
Fielding: 3/4

1B Luke Voit
Nickname: Meat
Birthday: 2/13/91
Voit is everyone’s favorite guy. He might not be the most well-rounded player on the field, but he sure is fun.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 3/4
Running: 1/4
Pitching: 0/4
Fielding: 1/4

SS Didi Gregorius
Nickname: Sir Didi
Birthday: 2/18/90
When you want a team leader, look no further than Sir Didi. The smooth fielding, clutch hitting lefty can pretty much make anything look easy.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 3/4
Running: 3/4
Pitching: 2/4
Fielding: 4/4

3B Miguel Andujar
Nickname: Miggy
Birthday: 3/2/95
A youngin with a big bat, Miggy can promise a lot of contact and some speed on the bags. Watch out for those throws to first, though.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 4/4
Running: 2/4
Pitching: 1/4
Fielding: 0/4

C Gary Sanchez
Nickname: The Kraken
Birthday: 12/2/92
The Kraken launches monster home runs and can also throw anyone out on the base paths. Passed balls are a concern, but that arm makes up for it.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 2/4
Running: 0/4
Pitching: 2/4
Fielding: 2/4

2B Gleyber Torres
Nickname: Gleybaby
Birthday: 12/13/96
Though he’s the youngest guy out there, Gleyber doesn’t play like it. He’s quick with the leather and can get you a hit in a tight spot.

Skill Ratings
Batting: 3/4
Running: 1/4
Pitching: 1/4
Fielding: 2/4

These very scientific player bios and skill ratings tell us that Hicks might actually be the best Yankee representative for the game. Of course, the popularity of Judge or Stanton would likely supersede that fact, but because this was strictly looking at position players, Hicks comes with the added benefit that he may be the best pitching option on the team.

Obviously, this has no actual meaning when evaluating the real 2018 Yankees, as no one would build a team around Hicks over Judge. It does, however, highlight the emergence of Hicks as a top talent on the team. His skill was never in question, but his breakout season in 2018—finishing with 4.9 WAR, the second highest on the Yankees behind Judge’s 5.0—shows that he is extremely valuable to the team.

Hicks might not be a real-life Pablo Sanchez (possibly only Mike Trout can live up to that billing), but for the Yankees, he may be as close as you get.