Mind the Gap

Mind The Gap

Let’s face it: the Yankees are boring. Instead of the Bombers, we are bombing. After multiple playoff runs and two trips to the ALCS, mediocrity has settled in as we flirted with .500 all season. Why? We have several challenges to address; one has been nagging at us for years. The New York Yankees have had an unbalanced lineup with an over-reliance on right-handed hitters.

Yankee Stadium has traditionally been a favorable venue for southpaws and switch-hitters because the right field foul pole is only 314 feet away. Similarly, Boston’s Fenway Park also offers an advantageous short porch thanks to the Pesky pole located at 302 feet to right field, making it a good spot for the team to visit if adding more lefties and switch-hitters. The Orioles’ famous Camden Yards furthermore still has home run prowess for any left-handed adversaries across the AL East. As for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays, they, too, have short fences in right field. It’s fascinating to think about the impact of stadium dimensions on a team’s lineup strategy. In the case of the Yankees and the AL East, it becomes clear that adding more left-handed hitters would be a smart move. Imagine maximizing your home runs by taking full advantage of the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium, amongst the other shorter ballparks in the division.

The mid to late 1990s to early 2000s Yankees team, led by captain Derek Jeter, is known for their legendary dynasty. One of the most notable things about this team was their balanced and symmetrical lineup. Batting consecutively was righty Derek Jeter, lefty Paul O’Neill, switch-hitter Bernie Williams, and switch-hitter Jorge Posada, making it highly challenging for opposing teams to navigate their lineup. The most recent title-winning team in 2009 again had a balanced lineup featuring righty Derek Jeter, righty Alex Rodriguez, switch-hitter Mark Teixeira, and a trio of lefties: Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, and Brett Gardner. These weren’t the only talented players on the roster, of course. Hideki Matsui, a left-handed hitter who was even the first designated hitter ever to win World Series MVP, was a critical component of that championship-winning squad.

The Yankees have a significant advantage in attracting free agents due to the presence of Aaron Judge, the captain and American League home run record holder. To further strengthen their lineup, the team should consider acquiring switch hitters or lefty hitters who can make it more challenging for opposing pitchers to navigate through their lineup. Adding two left-handed or switch-hitting players who can each hit 20+ home runs would revitalize the Yankees and help reestablish them as a feared lineup. Otherwise, instead of bombs away, it’ll be doomsday.

Brian Ferrara

Brian is an ardent musician who relishes playing drums and writing music. He appreciates the strategy and competition of sports and covers the New York Yankees for Inside the Diamonds.

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