Aaron Boone is in uncharted territory, and it is not because he is a first-year manager of the New York Yankees that has never held a coaching position.
Rather, he is a first-year manager of the New York Yankees that has never held a coaching position who will never be scrutinized for the formulation of his starting lineup.
Any way you slice it, the batting order rolled out on a daily basis–if everything comes to fruition–will be second to none.
Adding the National League MVP to a lineup with a 25-year-old who is fresh off a 52-homer campaign, a catcher who slammed 33 round-trippers in five months, a shortstop with serious pop, and a first baseman with a swing tailor-made for Yankee Stadium creates numerous exciting possibilities.
They have those three sluggers. They are the three-headed monster. They will be on every t-shirt, wallpaper and screensaver.
That much has been well-established.
With that said, if Boone wants to maximize the team’s potential and make the lineup virtually impossible to navigate, he will space them out in a way that allows the Didi Gregorius‘, Greg Bird‘s, Aaron Hicks‘ and Brett Gardner‘s of the world to have career years of their own.
The lineup should look something like this:
- Aaron Hicks – CF
- Aaron Judge – RF
- Greg Bird – 1B
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Didi Gregorius – SS
- Gary Sanchez – C
- Brett Gardner – LF
- Gleyber Torres – 2B (provided he wins the job)
- Miguel Andujar – 3B (provided he wins the job)
“Gary Sanchez in the No. 6 spot? Are you nuts?”
Conventional baseball wisdom needs to be thrown out the window in this scenario.
Spacing lefties and righties is as imperative as ever when it comes to the 2018 Yankees.
Should Bird stay healthy, his swing creates immediate 40-homer potential with Stanton waiting in the on-deck circle. The same goes for Gregorius, who slammed 25 long balls in 136 games a season ago. With arguably the best hitter on the team behind him, there is no telling what that number could be this season.
Pitch around Judge to get to Bird? Well, his untapped potential could create issues, but Stanton behind him will most definitely create issues.
This does not make mention of the looks Aaron Hicks could receive in the leadoff hole.
Stacking the trio is glamorous; it looks sensational on paper.
Spacing them will result in a sensational product and, in the process, even more praise for the rookie skipper. Who knows? Perhaps even championship No. 28.
Disclaimer: This is purely subjective. I am not the manager of the New York Yankees, nor will I ever be. Disagreement is welcomed. Let’s get the conversation going.