Despite Thursday’s win, the Yankees have not gotten off to the best start in 2019. It’s far too early to worry about whether the team is actually mediocre or not, but they haven’t been the most fun to watch thus far.
A large part of the struggles are due to injuries. The guys that hit in the third and fifth spots in the lineup on Opening Day, Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar, have gone down early in the season. They were joined not long after that by Troy Tulowitzki, who was already on the roster as a replacement for Didi Gregorius, who is out until sometime in the summer. That’s not to mention Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Aaron Hicks, and Dellin Betances, all of whom are also missing time to start the season. Jacoby Ellsbury is also allegedly still in the organization.
That’s a lot of people who have missed time. As the injuries have piled up, the Yankees have had to use some lineups that, just a couple weeks ago, no one would have dreamed they’d use. The weirdest and worst of them was from Tuesday’s game against the Tigers.
Mike Tauchman, who was acquired less than a week before the season started, is not only in the lineup, but hitting sixth. It is a C- lineup created from an injury ravaged roster.
Watching that lineup meekly lose 3-1 to a not great Tigers team got us here at Pinstripe Alley thinking: could a team of Yankees “rejects” beat that lineup?
There’s been a lot of turnover in recent years as the Yankees have made themselves over into a contender. There were only three players, Sabathia, Brett Gardner, and David Robertson, who were on both the 2012 and 2017 Yankees playoff teams. Robertson even spent several of those in between years on the White Sox.
Between the cycling of players in and out, and the trades the team has made to improve themselves, there are a lot of former Yankees out there on other teams. Let’s see if we can put together a team better than the injury-addled lineup the Yankees have run out.
Catcher: Austin Romine vs. Francisco Cervelli
So much has happened in the meantime that it seems longer, but the trade that sent Cervelli to the Pirates was only four and half years ago. While there have been others—hi John Ryan Murphy—these two have mostly been the Yankees’ back up catcher for nearly a decade now.
As for deciding which one is better: one is a starter and one is still a back up.
First Base: Luke Voit vs. Tyler Austin
While they weren’t swapped for each other, the trades that got rid of Austin and brought in Voit happened within a day of each other.
Dating back to last season, Austin has hit nine homers, and driven in 24 runs in 37 games. Meanwhile, Voit has hit 16 home runs, driven in 41 runs in 46 games, and does this:
Second Base: Tyler Wade vs. Neil Walker
An expensive Uber ride later, Wade is on the major league roster after his verbal disappointment at not making it for Opening Day. Unfortunately for him, his season so far (and his major league career overall) leave a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, Walker has a 117 OPS+ in the first couple games of the season.
Shortstop: Gleyber Torres vs. Starlin Castro
It’s been a while since Castro’s played shortstop, but someone has to. It doesn’t matter anyway, Torres has been the Yankees’ best—and one of the best players in baseball—so far this year.
Third Base: DJ LeMahieu vs. Brandon Drury
Drury’s Yankee career seems so long ago, but it was just last year that he was the starting third baseman on Opening Day. Also, he’s still bad.
Left Field: Mike Tauchman vs. Billy McKinney
Both have done not much of anything this season. But a 16 wRC+ is better than a -33 one.
Center Field: Brett Gardner vs. Jake Cave
I understand the Yankees bringing back Gardner this season. Maybe not at the price they did, but I get it. Cave has put up better average stats than Gardner, albeit in drastically less playing time. However, including last year, it’s not a stretch to think that Cave might be better now.
Right Field: Aaron Judge vs. Dustin Fowler
Designated Hitter: Clint Frazier vs. Martin Prado
Not that he’ll keep this up, but Prado has a 222 OPS+ to start the season. If this game is being played tomorrow, I’m taking him.
Starting Pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Ivan Nova
Ivan Nova is not on the Pirates. Do you know what team Nova is on? I didn’t until last week. He allowed one run in seven innings in his first start of the season, but I’ll still take Tanaka.
That’s a 5-5 tie, although if you factor in bullpens, the Yankees probably win. Sorry, Chasen Shreve. Even still, the fact that it’s that close shows that the Yankees are very injured. Get well soon, everyone.