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Yankees Mailbag: Cleveland’s rotation, infield defense and the World Series

Check out the answers to your questions in this week’s mailbag.

Wild Card Round - New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians - Game One Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Good morning everyone, your answers to this week’s mailbag are right here. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Neil asks: Comparatively to the 2017 Indians rotation that we defeated, do you think this Indians rotation is better?

It’s difficult to gauge how strong this version of Cleveland’s rotation is, for a number of reasons. Starting off, we’ve only gotten to see about 12 starts out of each starter, or just over a third of what we’d normally have to go off of. Second, unlike normal seasons this year their rotation played exclusively against opponents in the AL and NL Central. Those divisions were not offensively gifted, though I don’t think it’s fair to compare their performance in the regular season head-to-head with the extremely small sample-size of the Wild Card Series either.

What we do know for certain, is that 2017 version of Cleveland’s rotation was stacked. A front three of prime Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, with Mike Clevinger on standby is a nasty core. Cleveland’s front office couldn’t keep them all around, and in the case of Kluber at least it was a wise decision to sell, but it’s a shame that they didn’t get a better shot beyond the 2016 World Series. There are seldom few rotations that it would be wise to take over this one at their peak.

I don’t want to take anything away from Shane Bieber, who will almost certainly walk away with the AL Cy Young Award, but given the oddities of this season I don’t think I would put him above what Kluber used to be just yet. Carrasco is the only holdover between rosters, and he’s had a hell of a fight just to get back on the mound after dealing with cancer. He’s declined slightly, but that’s by no means his fault. Zack Plesac in place of Bauer is perhaps the only slot where Cleveland improved between these appearances, since Bauer wasn’t performing to the elite pitching level that he’s at now back in 2017.

Patrick asks: Can you see the Yankees moving Gleyber Torres to third base and placing Tyler Wade at shortstop? I am sure you know that I am encouraging this for better defense.

I’m not sure where you’re putting Gio Urshela in this scenario, but I wouldn’t move him off of third base. The happiest fella has been incredible with the leather, and his bat performing for another season all but guarantees that he’ll man the hot corner for the foreseeable future. While Gleyber’s glovework at short has been shoddy at best, I don’t think the solution would be moving him to a position he’s unfamiliar with anyway. If he gets moved at all, it would be over to second base.

That being said, I don’t think Gleyber gets moved anywhere. Assuming the Yankees do their due diligence in pursuing a new contract with DJ LeMahieu, they have their infielders locked in place for a while. Yes, Gleyber is playing poorly at shortstop, but so long as he’s a net positive with the bat the team can live with that. It’s been a frustrating year for him in that regard, but for most of his career he’s proven he can meet that bar, so the Yankees will continue to have faith in him. Also, while I’m fine with Tyler Wade as a backup, I don’t think he should ever be getting regular playing time unless injuries become a factor.

Patrick also asks: Do you agree with me on the World Series location? In my opinion, it should only be at Globe Life Field if the American League team is home, and it should be at either Dodger Stadium or Petco Park should it be the National League team that is home.

I’m a bit confused by what you mean with which team is home, but I’m going to assume you mean whichever team has the better record. Depending on which teams advance to the World Series it’s not a bad idea, but it can’t be implemented with the current teams in the field and thus it won’t work. The AL teams are currently set to play in Dodger Stadium and Petco Park since those are NL parks, and thus can be true neutral sites. Should the Dodgers or Padres advance, however, they’d be playing in their home parks for up to seven games, which would definitely be a no-go. Globe Life works as the guaranteed World Series stage since the Rangers aren’t in, and it also benefits the league since they can open it up to limited ticket sales.