Yankees: The Top Five Hitters For Your Fantasy Team


Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees fans who are fantasy players usually want to have Yankees players on their team. But, they might be skeptical about taking them. This list will help you in making those choices.

As a Yankees fan, when it comes to fantasy I know I am always afraid to take players from my favorite team. It makes me feel like if they are my top performers, I am asking for too much from them, but if they don’t perform, then I am even more upset with them and get disgusted.

Yankee fans who are fantasy owners do not get discouraged and give these players time.  They will produce, not everyone can get as hot and stay as hot as Gary Sanchez. So give them time and more importantly understand the way these guys work. It is 162 game season; some guys get hotter at different moments like Mark Teixeira did not get hot until May.

The season is a marathon these guys are running, not a sprint, so getting hot early on can do damage in the next few months. Even in Josh Hamilton’s MVP season, he had a disastrous month.

Let these players soak into their roles and become familiar with their positions before being too upset not to have any of the Yankees in your lineup. Also, if your favorite Yankee does not make this list that never means not to draft them. It is crucial always to have fun and draft your favorite player. These players will help you stick with your gut and do what all Yankees fans love to do, win.

All these fantasy point totals will come from the scoring system of 1 point per run scored, RBI, single, walk and a stolen base, while a strikeout is -1. Each double is worth two points and triples count for three while every home run is worth four points.

So, let’s get started.


Number 5: Greg Bird

It was a disappointment to see Bird go down for an entire season, especially with the success he was able to produce coming from the 2015 season. This is the first year that fans get to see what he can do with the Yankees. He hit nine doubles and 11 home runs in 46 games proving that he will be able to generate statistics that are needed out of a first baseman; especially without Mark Teixeira.

This is the primary example of being patient because Bird has not played a game for an entire season. He will more than likely not just jump in and start setting the world on fire. He will need some time to adapt to being the Yankees every day first baseman. The reason Bird is not higher despite what his projected statistics are is because of his injury, no telling the impact it can leave.

What we have seen

Bird can be a juggernaut in the Yankee lineup and could wreak some havoc on opposing pitchers if he can orchestrate some of the numbers that he was able to before he was injured. He was able to have a .343 on-base percentage gathered from his 41 hits and 19 walks while managing a .529 slugging percentage. His average was better than Teixeira’s in 2015, albeit a small sample size, at .261. With 31 runs batted in the only statistic that needs to drop is his 53 strikeouts with only 157 at-bats that are a high amount of strikeouts, averaging a little more than one every third at-bat.


Given Bird’s small sample size he would be projected to hit 33 home runs, score 78 runs, produce 93 RBIs, 57 walks and 27 doubles on 123 hits. His production relies on his health just like anyone else, but to generate this kind of production Bird would only need to play in 138 games.

His downfall, of course, would be the strike out. He is projected to strike out 159 times reducing his fantasy value a little bit. He is expected, as I said given his sample size, for the 2017 season 318 fantasy points.


Number 4: Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury was an asset to the Yankees last season for one reason; he has been able to stay healthy. The production from Ellsbury over the years from Boston to New York has always been there, but when he is on the field. He missed 14 games for the pinstripes last season versus his 51 that he missed in 2015.

He is always able to generate the statistics that create winning opportunities for the ball club. The Yankee fan base has not seen the same amount of stolen base production that the Red Sox got the pleasure of seeing, but at least he has been able to stay on the field.

The Yankees have seen some of the electrical moments that Ellsbury is known for so hopefully this year can be one in the same. The difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox is that the Yankees just want to see him on the field, keeping him out there if it means an off day every so many days is detrimental to their lineup.

The threat he brings to the base path makes for a nervous unfocused pitcher who now has to throw to two or three of the best hitters in the lineup just to keep Ellsbury from scoring.

Last Season

The statistic that should rise this season and the Yankees could use more of from him is his runs scored. He only scored 71 runs, not exactly the kind of production needed from the number one hole. He had 145 hit in 551 at-bats, the most on the team. He also only had 84 strikeouts, making it evident that he is putting the ball in play. He only stole 20 bases which can be expected to go up a bit this season. He also was caught eight times which is not a good rate for Ellsbury, as he is usually more efficient. He drove in 56 runs, not bad for a leadoff hitter, hit 24 doubles and nine home runs. This was his lowest total of over 140 games played. In such a short right field it would be great to see him get back to the mid teens to low 20s homerun total this season.


At 33, Ellsbury is projected to hit ten home runs, 22 doubles, four triples, walk 44 times, steal 20 bases, drive-in 49 runs, score 71 runs, totaling 135 hits while striking out 88 times, according to fantasypros.com.

While the Yankee fan base is yearning for much higher production from the leadoff role these totals are going to need to be much higher like I am hoping optimistically, for him to be the number four Yankee hitter that I am projecting he will be. He is expected to score 291 fantasy points.

 MLB: Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox

Number 3: Chris Carter

Creating a lot of controversy for the Yankees is their newest edition in Chris Carter. He played in 160 games last season for the Brewers on his way to 41 home runs. He has created a stir as this leaves Brett Gardner or Aaron Judge to be moved to the bench, traded or Carter to be a $3.5 million bench player.

He is going to be a tremendous asset to the Yankees lineup that has not fared well in the past few years, especially batting average wise. The trick is getting Carter to hit for more than .222 like he did last year, though he had the most hits in his career last season with 122.

Big numbers and Bad numbers

Carter has the capability to bring the run totals up tremendously as he drove in 94 runs while scoring 84 runs. He also walked 76 times making for a .321 OBP. The one problem that Bird could also be staring at is Carter’s strikeout total. He struck out 206 times, the league lead. This is not the statistic that leading the league in is something to be proud of, although power hitters today have made it art.

Even though he is prone to striking out he brings a power scare that can help the Yankees astronomically. It can bring back a lineup that will be strong from top to bottom that can hit for power and average, striking fear in teams that come to Yankee Stadium. Instead of teams gunning for the Yankees they will be running from them.


Chris Carter is projected to produce 30 home runs, 79 RBIs, score 65 runs, hit 21 doubles, walked 56 times, strikeout 163 times and have a total of 99 hits, according to fantasypro.com. These may not be the numbers that the 6-foot-4 245 pound DH will produce in Yankee Stadium, so his upside compared to having his best season totals in numerous categories is tremendous. He is projected to score 251 fantasy points before signing with the Yankees.


Number 2: Matt Holliday

Even though Holliday is coming off an injury and turning 37 has the capability to instill fear in opposing pitchers when going to face the middle of the Yankee order. The question will be who bars where and who plays what position?

Is it going to be Holliday, Ellsbury, and Judge in the outfield while Carter DHs with Gardner on the bench or will it be Ellsbury, Judge and Gardner with Carter Designated hitting and Holliday on the bench? At some point, all the possible combinations will be used to prevent these players from injury.


Holliday has proved himself as a RBI and doubles producing machine with 228 doubles and 1153 RBIs in his career. His 50 league-leading doubles were in Colorado in a hitter-friendly Coors Field, but still, the ball had to be hit. He is a seasoned veteran that I am looking forward to seeing what he can do in pinstripes if nothing else he can school the youngsters. For fantasy, if he is available do not pass him up in a smaller Yankee Stadium for an aging player.


Holliday had some terrific numbers before having two straight years of shortened seasons. He had 20 home runs in 110 games with 62 RBIs. He delivered 20 doubles while scoring 48 runs and walking 35 times. He is an asset worth fighting for, so let’s hope his age does not slow him down nor keep him from being able to play in at least 140 games. However, in Holliday’s last full season, drove in 90 runs on his way to hitting 20 home runs and 37 doubles, definitely the numbers the Yankees are looking for.


Holliday has not played in a full season since 2014 so maybe the Yankees stocking up on outfielders it is a good thing. It can prevent injury for more than just Holliday, but Ellsbury too. Holiday is projected to get 115 hits, hit 19 home runs, 25 doubles, drive in 75 runs, score 60 runs, walk 49 times and strikeout 84 times, according to fantasypro.com. These numbers should go up and through the roof if Holliday can use the short porch in right field to his advantage. He is projected to score 299 fantasy points.


Number 1: Gary Sanchez

Who Else?

The biggest bang for your buck, especially for the position, is Gary Sanchez. When it comes to the Yankees and fantasy Sanchez is going to be one of the top players in the league, but to make it better he is a catcher that will keep up with statistics with guys like Mike Trout. He is filled with upside, and his fielding and throwing arm make him the all-around catcher like Thurman Munson.

Sanchez has had one of the best starts to a rookie career, but this is where the patients have to come into play. It is possible that with all the pressure of being the biggest name in the game for a period of time that he puts up sluggish numbers, at least to start the season, but give him time and he will come through.


Sanchez is also keeping his mind on the team, concentrating on getting ready for the Yankees, and will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic. Playing 162 games is difficult enough, but adding extra games to that especially as a catcher is going to train the body, especially the knees (first body part to start fading on Munson).

Sanchez is not only one of the younger players in the league but has the potential to be the next generations Yadier Molina or Buster Posey to this league, with the same rocket for an arm and a sweet swing that looks effortless.

Sanchez scored 34 runs with 60 hits, 12 doubles, 20 home runs, 42 RBIs, 24 walks, but had 57 strikeouts, mostly coming from when he first switched to batting in the three-hole. The Yankees knew they had something special here and released McCann to gain the power hitters listed above and re-sign Aroldis Chapman. The feeling is mutual across Yankee nation as Sanchez has become the overnight sensation that hopefully will not let us down.

It is tough to generate the same kind of production that he did last year for a whole season, but with his 53 game sample size, his numbers will be astronomical for anyone, let alone a catcher. These figures, along with Birds are generated by me, in a system of multiplying each statistic to compensate for his position.

As a catcher, Sanchez has the potential to play in 132 games this season, whereas Bird had the potential to play in 138 games (it is low because the Yankees may take precautions).


One thing the Yankees have learned from last season is that Sanchez always wants to be out there and he did not like sitting the bench for any period even if it was a day game after a night game. The old school Yogi Berra mentality “put me in coach.” Sanchez is projected to score 85 runs, have 150 hits, 30 doubles, 45 home runs, 105 RBIs, walk 60 times and fall to the strikeout 143 times. He is projected to score 422 fantasy points, a potential to be bar none the best catcher in league with these numbers.


Players that did not make the list

This is my list of the best hitters from the Yankees to take for your fantasy team this season, to me despite some better projections; these are your go-to guys. These guys will turn some heads, and for Ellsbury’s sake, surpass the projections. I wanted to make sure the players that are still in line for good fantasy projections, such as Didi Gregorious and Starlin Castro, were still mentioned.

They both started last season off hot and by the end finished making Yankee history. The two of them gelled in the middle of the infield, and while it is nice to see that for the Yankees, fantasy Castro fell off big time. He should have been able to hit close to 40 home runs with the start he had. Castro is projected to score 286 points in 2017.

As for Gregorius, he made the top 10 list in hitting shortstops for sure. He just doesn’t make my list because of the inconsistency in his career thus far. Gregorius is projected to score 295 points.

As for the outfield, with all the controversy going on and the trade talk about Headley and Gardner could be traded, for the time being, Gardner is going to be one of the speedy players that cause nausea on the base paths. Although he only stole 16 bases last season, he was only caught three times. Gardner is projected to outscore Ellsbury.

He is expected to score 292 points in 2017. He just did not make my list for multiple reasons; the first is the fact that he might not see the field enough with the signing of Carter or be traded, the second is because if Ellsbury does put up the numbers, I think he will outscore Gardner by a landslide.

Aaron Judge might have squeaked onto this list if he did not sustain a knee injury. He is going into the season with the possibility of missing multiple games and leaving his position wide open for anyone to either take or if Gardner can, keep. He is in the position where is upside is there he just needs to stay on the field to do it. Knee injuries are too severe, and the Yankees may take their time with Judge’s return, so this has all the impact for the fantasy season leaving him off my list. He is projected to total 190 points, watch out for him later in the season he could be a home run.

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