The New York Yankees youth movement is expected to be in full swing by the 2018 season. Here’s a look at what their lineup might look like.
Earlier in the week, Yanks Go Yard looked at what the New York Yankees rotation might look like in 2018, with their only three established starters expected to depart after the 2017 season. With several veteran position players under contract through the 2018 season, the Yankees could see more continuity in their lineup, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the front office continued to shed their expensive veterans over the next year or two and further commit to building from within.
By 2018, a number in the top talents in the organization will have gotten some major league experience under their belt, and if all goes to plan, the offense will have a nice nucleus of young power hitters to build around. Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge have already made their MLB debuts, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that trio establish themselves as the heart of the team’s lineup for the foreseeable future.
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As far as the veterans go, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, and Chase Headley are all under contract for 2018, however I wouldn’t be surprised if none of that group were still around when that season rolls around. McCann seems most likely to stick it out since he’s already said he’s open to a reduced role, and has a lot of value as Sanchez’s backup and as a power bat off the bench.
Sadly, Gardner will probably be gone before New Year’s, and Headley seems likely to be shipped out as soon as a viable replacement presents itself. With Miguel Andujar putting on a show in the Arizona Fall League, he could prove himself big league ready sooner than anticipated. He’s already reached Double-A, and could even push Headley out by the trade deadline with a strong first half in the International League.
The likelihood that someone will be willing to take on Ellsbury’s contract will grow with each passing year, but he probably will remain productive enough through 2018 that the team still won’t want to eat the money necessary to move him. With all of the outfield talent in the upper-minors, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him pushed into a part-time role with a lot of time at DH.
With all that in mind, here’s my wildly speculative guess at what the 2018 New York Yankees lineup could look like:
In a just world, Ellsbury and Fowler would be switched, but if Joe Girardi is at the helm, he’ll still be giving deference to his vets. The rest is pretty self explanatory. There’s a good righty-lefty balance. All four guys on the bench could be useful to mix and match in platoon roles, giving the manager plenty of options. Even in his age 21-season and potentially a rookie, I see Gleyber Torres as a possible superstar in 2018.