Honestly, my initial reaction was to immediately go on the defense. Considering this is after being subjected to the harsh words used all off-season about the Captain. I just wanted the man to catch a break, after skipper Joe Girardi made it clear that Jeter would be the at the top on Opening Day.
Now that I have had time to digest this idea, it might actually be a good one.
Jeter has only been lead-off since the start of 2009, other than filling in on occasion. He was cemented for the majority of 14 seasons as the Yankees #2.
Moving Jeter doesn’t concern me as much as whether Brett Gardner will be able to handle it. Last season Gardner struggled when atop the Yankee line-up.
Is Gardner speed going to hurt such an offensively dominant group and will his speed get wasted?
Jeter has never been a power batter, so what if he starts hitting into double plays, as he did do that more in 2010? That immediately closes the door for Teixeira to hit a sac-fly to move the runners with two outs already.
Question remains if Jeter can still be a pest on the base-pads because we know that Gardner is one of the fastest guys in the league.
Jeter stole 48 bases in 2009-2010, which is almost double what he had in 2007-2008 when he posted 26 combined.
So now my alternative suggestion is, why can’t Curtis Granderson hit leadoff?
Granderson did it for the Detroit Tigers and even though he struggles a lot against lefties, Granderson sustains both power and speed.
Over his career, Granderson has an 81% stolen base rate and against right-handed pitchers he can flat out hit, averaging 25 home-runs, 13 triples and 28 doubles a season over his seven big league seasons.
So, why not split it up and have Granderson in against righties, so the pressure is not all on young Gardner’s shoulders by platooning them?
I know players hate this strategy, but it has been successful in the past and I am only making another suggestion so Gardner’s speed doesn’t become irrelevant or even worse hurtful.
It is pretty evident that the Yankees need to keep their speed where it does the most damage, because all three players mentioned are good regardless of what their number in the order.
Whatever works best for the team, but sliding the Captain under the bus comes way to easily so everyone has to learn to be fair.
- Rotation and Lineup News and Notes (bats.blogs.nytimes.com)
- 2011 spring training: Brett Gardner leading off for New York Yankees with Derek Jeter No. 2 (sports.espn.go.com)
- New York Yankees: A Few Offseason Notes and 2011 Hopes (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- Jeter not ideal No. 2 hitter, but Girardi not worried (nypost.com)
- 2011 New York Yankees: Why Is Derek Jeter Leading Off? (bleacherreport.com)