Since Carlos Beltran went down on July 3rd with an oblique injury, the Yankees have mostly run a platoon of Garrett Jones and Chris Young in the outfield, depending on matchups. With the incredible year that Young has had against lefties, and with the solid year Jones has had against righties, it seems like the right choice for the Bombers. Now with Beltran returning shortly, the Yankees have one more guy in right, and there are many different ways to go about it.
In the first half of 2015, Young was remarkable when going up against left-handed-pitching. He hit an astounding .365/.419/.694 against lefties in 94 plate appearances, with a whopping 208 wRC+. Young was incredible facing lefties, but the story was pretty much opposite against righties. In 139 plate appearances against righties, Young hit .178/.226/.326 with a 49 wRC+. Young has been way more than the fourth outfielder he was signed to be, and it'd be great if he stayed at that torrent pace against lefties over the whole season.
Garrett Jones' time with the Yankees has been interesting, to say the least, from being a part of trade rumors to being a serviceable outfielder. Jones didn't get much playing time at the beginning of the season, but once injuries came up for guys like Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, Jones slowly got more and more playing time. Originally brought in to backup Mark Teixeira at first base, Jones had actually nearly double the plate appearances as a right fielder than at first base. 109 of Jones' 130 plate appearances came against right-handed-pitchers, and in those 109, Jones hit .248/.287/.404 with an 89 wRC+. The numbers aren't as good as Young against lefties, but Jones has still been very solid with increased playing time. Like Young, however, Jones has struggled against the opposite-handed pitcher, hitting .143/.217/.333 with a 49 wRC+ against lefties. I'll admit, Jones was a tough sell for me in the first quarter of the season, but he has steadily improved since then, and has become a nice addition to this Yankee team.
Beltran was slated to be the starting right fielder for this team since the beginning of the year, but injuries, age, poor performance, and the surprise of Chris Young have held him back. Overall, in 262 plate appearances, Beltran hit .260/.309/.430 with a 102 wRC+. These numbers have been propped up thanks to May/June, considering that in April, Beltran hit .162/.216/.265 with a measly 22 wRC+. Beltran is a switch-hitter, so righty-lefty matchups don't affect him nearly as much as Young or Jones, but there's still a difference. In 175 plate appearances versus righties, Beltran hit .269/.310/.440 with a 106 wRC+. Meanwhile, in 67 plate appearances against lefties, Beltran hit .239/.307/.403 with a 91 wRC+. It's pretty clear that Young should be the right fielder versus lefties, but Jones and Beltran are similar when facing righties.
The answer to this problem may come with the two's fielding. Beltran is 38, while Jones is 34. It's pretty evident that Beltran's age is catching up to him, and he doesn't have the legs he used to have. Beltran has played 454.2 innings in right field, and he committed three errors in that time. Meanwhile, his Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) number was at -10. On the flip side, Jones has played 139 innings in right field, and he's committed 0 errors, and he has a DRS of only -1. It's still negative, but it's better than Beltran.
So, looking, at the overall numbers, Jones is the better guy to platoon with Young than Beltran. However, Beltran makes a combined $30 million over the next two years. It wouldn't be smart to have him wasting away on the bench. You could do it, and I wouldn't be particularly opposed to it, but that's a lot of money just to sit the bench. As the trade deadline approaches, the Yankees have some decisions to make. Should Beltran be shipped out (he was previously linked to some trade rumors to L.A.), thus making Jones the go-to right fielder against righties? Should Beltran remain in the platoon, with Jones being a serviceable bench player? Or, should the Yankees take another route?