clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Looking at the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup

New, comments

The day is finally here, and we will get Judge and Stanton back-to-back in the first inning!

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have officially released their Opening Day lineup for today’s game, and it has Bronx Bombers written all over it. Even without Greg Bird, this lineup is flat-out scary, and should be incredibly fun to watch. Can we fast forward to first pitch already?!

Before that first pitch is thrown, here is the lineup that will be facing J.A. Happ this afternoon. Spoiler alert, it’s mighty scary:

  1. Brett Gardner LF
  2. Aaron Judge RF
  3. Giancarlo Stanton DH
  4. Gary Sanchez C
  5. Aaron Hicks CF
  6. Didi Gregorius SS
  7. Brandon Drury 3B
  8. Neil Walker 2B
  9. Tyler Austin 1B

Of course, the first thing to note is Judge batting second. That effectively ends speculation of the former Rookie of the Year taking on the leadoff role, which Aaron Boone and the Yankees toyed with in spring training. For now, Judge sits in the two hole. Taking a look at who lingers behind him, that’s not the worst thing.

The heart of the order has my heart (and probably Happ’s) pounding. Judge, Stanton and Sanchez against the lefty Happ should be glorious to watch. The one-two punch of Stanton and Judge has had Yankees fans drooling since Stanton was acquired in December, and they will have an opportunity to see it in action right away in the top of the first inning.

Quick note on defense: Judge, who is likely the better defender than Stanton, gets the start in right. The Yankees must have faith that Judge’s shoulder is back to full health and that he doesn’t need to start the year in a DH role. We could still see the duo trade reps in the outfield over the four-game set in Toronto though.

Gardner remains in the leadoff role he had in 2017, despite facing a southpaw. That is likely due to Gardner’s .889 OPS in 30 career at-bats against Happ, which includes a home run and three doubles. Switch-hitting Hicks bats fifth, behind the trio of terror. With Gregorius in the sixth slot, Boone has four-straight righties face Happ.

Austin rounds out the lineup as Greg Bird starts the season on the DL. It was a small sample size last season, but Austin slugged two home runs in 13 at-bats against lefties last season, and owns a 1.154 OPS against southpaws in his brief MLB career.

This Opening Day lineup has everything, from new faces like Walker and Drury to the scariest duo in baseball in Judge and Stanton. There’s not much to be debated. No matter how Boone shuffled the deck, the lineup was going to be among the best in baseball. Looking at it officially on paper, it doesn’t disappoint.