The Astros and Yankees have a lot in common this season. They are both performing at high levels, and both leading their respective divisions after more than 40% of the season is gone (though the Yanks have the Rays breathing down their necks, while the Rangers are just breathing 9.5 games back of the ‘Stros).
They both have had good offensive production, both in the top 4 in the AL in OPS and HRs and well above league average in runs scored. And they both have done this with a good chunk of a potential All-Star team on the IL.
For the Astros this has meant living without George Springer (.308 BA/ 1.032 OPS/ 17 HRs/ 43 RBIs so far in 2019), for 24 games and counting. Carlos Correa (.295 BA/ .907 OPS/ 11 HR/ 35 RBIs) had an excellent season interrupted by an overzealous massage (or so we have heard), has missed 22 games and is likely to have missed close to 40 before he is ready to go again. Former MVP Jose Altuve (.243 BA/ .801 OPS/ 9 HRs/ 21 RBIs) was struggling before he went on the IL and has missed 33 games, but is on rehab and hopefully will be back soon. Aledmys Diaz after a slow start has been a super-sub off the bench (.286 BA/ .831 OPS/ 5 HRs/ 21 RBIs in only 98 ABs) has been out 18 games so far. The first three hitters have been the heart of the offense along with Alex Bregman the last few years and Diaz has been a solid addition in a Marwin Gonzalez role.
The Yankees have been succeeding despite many injuries at pitcher and in their lineup. Looking only at the lineup here…..
Didi Gregrorius is back, but only after missing 63 games (27 HR / 86 RBIs in 2018) with TJ surgery. Aaron Judge (27 HR / 67 RBIs in only 112 games in 2018) has missed 50 games but is expected back soon. Giancarlo Stanton (38 HRs and 100 RBIs in 2018) only played in 3 of the Yankees 70 games, but is expected back this week. Aaron Hicks (27 HRs / 76 RBIs in 2018) missed 46 games, but is back even if his bat is lagging. Veteran Kendrys Morales (21 HRs / 57 RBIs in 2018) was brought in to help with the injuries and he went down after only 19 games with the Yanks.
On top of having their middle of the lineup players back soon, the Astros brought up the player they hope is the answer to their DH black hole in Yordan Alvarez (4 HRs in his first 6 games). Meanwhile, the Yanks have just traded for the AL leader in HRs (21) in Edwin Encarnacion. So, the scary part of this is….what will these two lineups look like when the fallen have returned.
Here’s one set of potential lineups……
|1. CF||George Springer||1. 3B||D.J. LeMahieu|
|2. 3B||Alex Bregman||2. RF||Aaron Judge|
|3. SS||Carlos Correa||3. LF||Giancarlo Stanton|
|4. LF||Michael Brantley||4. 1B||Luke Volt|
|5. DH||Yordan Alvarez||5. DH||Edwin Encarnacion|
|6. 2B||Jose Altuve||6. CF||Aaron Hicks|
|7. 3B||Yuli Gurriel||7. C||Gary Sanchez|
|8. C||Robinson Cherinos||8. SS||Didi Gregorius|
|9. RF||Josh Reddick||9. 2B||Gleyber Torres|
Neither of these lineups promise much relief to opposing teams. The Yankees have insane power up and down, the Astros are not trailing by much and undoubtedly with better BAs.
Neither of these teams is a popular opponent right now and after the return of the wounded, folks will be wincing when they see these lineups.
So, how do you think these offenses produce through the rest of 2019? How would you construct their lineups?