Big Ben Tuesday: New York Yankees are Rolling, Tough Roster Decisions Coming Up

As Hurricane Tropical Storm Henri tiptoed ashore, it had the punch of a late inning Mets’ rally. We lost a few leaves. Weather is the only thing slowing down the Yankeecane that’s been storming through the American League. From a team struggling with a rightly dominated lineup, poor defense, and a unreliable back end of the bullpen, Cashman’s deadline moves have vaulted them to the top Wildcard and only four back of the Rays. But they also have some interesting roster decisions coming up. They are getting big contributions from some youngsters but also have several regulars coming off the IL. Let’s take a look.

Gone are the days of the massively expanded September roster, or the Yankees would not have an issue. But the additions of the Jerky Boys (Frank) Rizzo and Gallo have tightened up the roster. And with Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Corey Kluber, and Domingo German set to return, things could get tight. The rosters do expand by two spots and they’ll need ’em. 

Velasquez vs Wade

Bronx native and feel-good story Andrew Velasquez has been holding it down on defense at short. He’s reminded Yankees’ fans the importance of a plus defender there, and has chipped in with some big hits.

And don’t look now, but Tyler Wade has been ripping it up, hitting over .425 in his last 18 games with 6 steals and 9 runs. His versatility is a huge plus as well, with the ability to play every position except first base and catcher. If the Yankees had to choose one, Wade’s versatility would probably push him over the top, in spite of Velasquez being a much better shortstop.

Voit vs Stanton/Rizzo/Gallo

Before Anthony Rizzo got Covid, Luke Voit was languishing on a rehab assignment with no position to play. But with Rizzo bumped aside, the Yankees turned to Voit and he has delivered. The man has simply raked in Rizzo’s absence, with big hit after big hit.

Rizzo’s presence clearly lit a fire under Voit, who said he deserved to play as much as Rizzo. He got criticized for being selfish, but this is a man who knows he can hit. Now Voit being fired up is firing up Stanton. And that will maybe fire up Voit again later. Ad infinitum. Checkmate.

Rizzo’s glove and lefty bat guarantees him a spot in the lineup, apart from the occasional off night. Stanton has been playing a lot of outfield, which isn’t ideal given his injury history. And it also pushes Judge to center, which makes for a sub par defensive outfield, unless they’re going for combined bench press weight.

Having two slow footed sluggers like Stanton and Voit on the same roster limits their flexibility, especially since they’re going to want to sub a real center fielder later in games. Boone is going to have to get creative with Rizzo, Stanton, Judge and Gallo all getting fairly regular days off.

Pitching Staff

The two key cogs in the back end of the bullpen, Britton and Chapman, have been unsteady. But the Yankees have gotten surprising contributions from non-household names like Nasty Nestor Cortes, Albert Abreu, Wandy Peralta, Joely Rodriguez, and Luis Gil. It will be interesting to see how Boone works guys back in from the IL, not to mention what happens with Chapman. With Britton going down again, they’ll need to keep getting contributions from new the faces. It’s been fun.

Rapid Fire

If Urshela and Torres come back and start, Odor is the odd man out of the starting lineup, though he’s been doing a great job at third. I’m not a huge fan of the free swinger, but the lefty power can be useful at the Stadium.

Sorry Clint Frazier, this isn’t your year after all.

Same for Miguel Andujar.

Luis Severino’s setback makes him a relief option at best in the playoffs.

The Yankees need Corey Kluber to get back to slide into the playoff rotation with Cole and Taillon. I like Gil and Cortes, but they might not be ready for a playoff start.

Jonathan Davis’s blazing speed and world class defense makes him an outside chance for a sneaky playoff addition. It’d be shocking if they took him over Gardner, but the dude can fly.

That’s it for me. Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward, who’s gonna Kirk the hell out of your Cousins. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

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About Ben Whitney 411 Articles
Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.