On any given day, the Yankees feel like they have 11 capable position players for nine spots. Marvin Gonzalez and Tim Locastro are the only true bench players, in that they usually come to the ballpark expecting to be on the bench.
The catchers, Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevino, are being treated more as a combined entity than a true starter and backup. Gleber Torres, who has come off the bench a fair amount in the early stages, plays regularly enough – and is still considered integral enough for the team, despite his down year in 2021 – to be a traditional reserve. escape from.
Because of this, the Yankees are able to mix and match their lineups based on that day’s matchup. It’s a strategy that has become increasingly prevalent in recent years and has paid off well for teams like the Rays and the Giants, who rarely roll out the same lineup in consecutive games.
On Friday, manager Aaron Boone decided Aaron Hicks would be the odd man out of the starting lineup versus Cleveland. Aaron Judge took his position in center field, Giancarlo Stanton took right and DJ Lemahieu served as the designated hitter with Torres starting second. This is the Yankees’ 14th separate lineup in their first 14 games. Boone began his pregame press conference by explaining the reason behind Hicks’ leave.
“Just looking at the next few days, we have a day’s game [on Saturday] After a night’s game,” said the captain. “I felt like it was the same” [to give him a day off],
As for his catchers, Boone doesn’t even have it in traditional roles. Trevino made his fifth debut on Friday night behind Dish, which is never really Higashioka’s place, Boone explained, but that’s really how he always saw the situation.
“I see it as a tandem right now,” Boone said. “Obviously, we have Ben [Rortvedt] There is also working its way down there. But yes, I see it more as a tandem. ,
A relative unknown to most baseball fans, Trevino began his Yankee career with five hits in his first 12 plate appearances (.417 average). It’s certainly higher than the Yankees expected, but it speaks to the idea that neither he or Higashioka is actually the second string, but rather two capable players who will each get their rep.
“Jose has been great for us in every way,” Boone said. “Great in our room, great behind the plate, he’s got great batsmen and he’s running bases well.”
new kid on the block
For years now, Cleveland has been known to introduce pitching to another world.
The kid he sent to the mound Friday night, 25-year-old Eli Morgan still has a long way to go to reach Shane Bieber’s level, but he had one of his best days in the big leagues at Yankee Stadium .
On September 19, 2021, with the Yankees fighting tooth and nail to reach the playoffs, Morgan overtook Gerrit Cole in the final 11–1 Cleveland win. Morgan played six innings that Sunday afternoon, releasing just one lone run on a single homer, throwing 62 strikes on 85 pitches without a single run.
Boone remembers that game very well, especially on one of the youth pitches.
“We know him,” Boone said before the game. “He’s got an excellent turnaround and some real pitchability. Hopefully we’ll hit that hard.”
King of the Hill
A man who was once a mid-relief has turned into one of the most important components of the Yankee bullpen.
Michael King, who has been dominant in the prior 12th round by the Marlins, was picked by the Yankees in the Garrett Cooper trade. While the right-handed batsman didn’t pitch at all in the team’s midweek series in Detroit, King has lived up to his royal name so far in 2022.
Yes, that’s only four outings in his season, but King has faced 10 out of 31 hitters (32.3%). If you’re into Vince Above Replacement earlier this year, King was the best reliever in all of Major League Baseball entering Friday’s slate of games. Two major things have changed for King: He’s mostly abandoned his slider in favor of a four-seam fastball, and he’s changed his jersey number.
King went on to number 34 by wearing the number 73 (a generally ambiguous number for a young, unproven player on a retired number 22 team). He said he asked for 34 because he was a big Roy Halladay fan. Justin Wilson had the number last year, but was traded to Cincinnati in July. When the Yankees broke camp this season without a No. 34, King swooped in on him.