On Saturday, Brian Cashman added Edwin Encarnacion to an already potent Yankees’ lineup. While many fans hoped for a pitcher, they certainly cannot be disappointed by acquiring the American League home-run leader.
While the rest of baseball cowers in fear, Yankees fans have been counting down the days until Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton return. Adding those two MVP-caliber players to the top of the lineup should give starting pitchers nightmares. While the top of this lineup gets a lot of attention, however, the addition of another power hitter in Encarnacion makes the bottom half equally fearsome.
Consider this possible lineup, as suggested by ESPN’s Buster Olney:
There are a lot of ways the Yankees could go with their lineup after acquiring Edwin Encarnacion, and after Judge and Stanton return. https://t.co/tk2RgE3NEd— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 16, 2019
Here's one possibility
This order represents just one route the Yankees could take with Encarnacion now installed as the primary DH. Take a closer look at the type of hitters the Yankees have in this lineup, though. High on-base percentage bats or contact hitters include DJ LeMahieu, Judge, Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres, and Didi Gregorius. Out of those players, LeMahieu, Hicks, and Torres all have leadoff capability. So, depending on how the Yankees order their players, the bottom segment of this lineup could either match up with, or is better than, the top half of the Yankees’ biggest competitors. Consider this makeshift lineup.
LeMahieu - 3B
Judge - RF
Gregorius - SS
Stanton - LF
Sanchez - C
Hicks - CF
Voit - 1B
Encarnacion - DH
Torres - SS
To clarify, I wouldn’t expect the Yankees to run this lineup out in a game, though it is a possibility. It also proves the point I’m trying to make. Cut this lineup off at Gary Sanchez and look at the last four players: Hicks, Voit, Encarnacion, Torres. Those four right there can easily compete with the top four from other teams. Take about this lineup from the Rays, who are a half-game behind the Yankees in the division.
Here’s the #Rays lineup for today pic.twitter.com/EHIWampliv— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) June 16, 2019
You can go back and forth as to which four you’d rather have lead off the lineup, but the fact that this comparison even exists goes to show the extraordinary depth the Yankees have. Some pitchers may be satisfied getting through the top half of the Yankees’ lineup, which they should be, but it won’t get any easier as they move on to the next batter. However the nine Yankees starters are ordered to bat, there will be no room to a pitcher to breathe.
Just from an analytical perspective, this lineup may be one of the best in recent history. It compares with that of last year’s Red Sox or the 2017 Astros. Deep lineups have been a theme over the past few seasons. Will it finally lead the Yankees to a World Series Championship this year? It certainly can’t hurt.