The Yankees' lineup is on the verge of returning to full health. Let that sink in for a second, as you simultaneously look at their 43-27, AL East-leading record that shows how well they've persevered through the plethora of injuries that have plagued them all season.
Giancarlo Stanton will be the latest Yankee to return on Tuesday, with Aaron Judge targeting a comeback at some point during this week's homestand.
And if those power bats weren't enough, GM Brian Cashman added another slugger to the group in Edwin Encarnacion, the AL leader in homers (21) that the Mariners traded away during their sell-off.
So what does this mean for the Yankees? Well, it's a good problem for manager Aaron Boone who will have to put the lineup together each night. With all the dynamic hitters on the 25-man roster, Boone will have a variety of options to set his order 1-9 on any given night.
Here is what his best and most ideal lineup should be once everyone is back:
- DJ LeMahieu - 3B
- Aaron Judge - RF
- Aaron Hicks - CF
- Giancarlo Stanton - LF
- Gary Sanchez - C
- Edwin Encarnacion - DH
- Luke Voit -1B
- Didi Gregorius - SS
- Gleyber Torres - 2B
Lets' break it down. First LeMahieu leading off over Hicks, Gregorius, or even Torres makes the most sense. He has a .356 on-base percentage and his simple, compact swing approach has worked in that first slot.
From there, Hicks in the three hole would be best to have the switch hitter go to the plate in the first inning matchup-wise. We could put Stanton there as has been seen after Judge at No. 2, and Boone could agree with that stance as well.
Going to the heart of the order, the Yankees just have raw power. Stanton, Sanchez, Encarnacion, and Voit is just scary for any opposing pitcher to work against. Then, Gregorius can feel a little less pressure in the eight hole as he works back to his full form. Finally, Torres gets to return to the nine hole, the same position he thrived in as a rookie last season.
Of course, with a fully healthy lineup, there are a couple players that will see less at-bats now. Brett Gardner and Gio Urshela are the biggest losers in this case. Urshela is having a career year, slashing .306/.358/.459 with five homers, 31 RBI and 13 doubles while manning third base. He is also ranked second in third baseman votes in the All-Star Game primaries at the moment.
Gardner has also been hot of late. He's hitting .389 in his last six games with two homers, eight RBI and a triple over 18 at-bats. But, just as he gets comfortable at the plate, he'll revert to a bench role like Urshela. Boone, though, will be expecting these two to make big impacts whenever he can get them in the lineup.
Once again, this is just one lineup Boone could fill out when all his players return, but it's one that makes the most sense when evaluating the uber amounts of talent on the roster. From top to bottom, this team can capitalize on runners in scoring position, hit timely homers, and simply give opponents a bad feeling in their stomach when the Yankees come up on their schedule.
We'll see how Boone deploys his stars moving forward, and finally see what this lineup can do at full strength.