I know Gardner has a higher OBP and more speed on the bases, but I believe Didi is the better hitter and his OBP will improve exponentially if he's hitting in front of Judge, Stanton, Sanchez and Bird.
Lets be honest, nobody is pitching too carefully to Didi with those mashers looming behind him, so he'll see tons of fastballs in the strike zone. That won't mean more walks, but IMO it will mean a much higher batting average, more extra base hits, and much like Rickey Henderson back in the day, he'll leadoff a number of games with HR's which rattles opposing pitchers early.
I also don't think it matters that Gardner can steal more bases, because you'd have to be nuts to try and steal bags with that murderers row coming up following the leadoff hitter. So his base stealing prowess, which is slipping anyway, is a non factor.
So those are my reasons for leading off Didi, the better hitter in my view, getting him the extra AB's, and throwing all of our best hitters at opposing pitchers in a row, with no room to exhale. I also like Gardner hitting 9th to give us back-to-back lefties with Didi and I like his speed in the 9 hole too.
Lastly, I think Andujar makes it to opening day, but Torres will require more seasoning. After all, Torres has only played a grand total of 55 Games above Single A. IMO he needs more seasoning at AAA to start the year. So I have Andujar starting the season at 3B and Drury scooting over to 2B. Oh and I don't care about breaking up the righty mashers, so I'm hitting Judge, Stanton and the Kraken all in a row. Some people want to slip Bird in-between. I'm not one of them.
- SS Didi Gregorius
- RF/LF/DH Aaron Judge
- RF/LF/DH Giancarlo Stanton
- C Gary Sanchez
- 1B Greg Bird
- CF Aaron Hicks
- 3B Miguel Andujar
- 2B Brandon Drury
- LF/DH Brett Gardner