After securing first AL East title since 2012, the Yankees face off against the Twins in Yankee Stadium at 7:07 PM. While every Yankee fan should be incredibly excited about the Chase for 28, there are some crucial pieces of information to know before the series begins.
This morning the Yankees announced their 25-man roster for the ALDS.
Pitchers: Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Tyler Lyons.
Catchers: Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine
Infielders: Edwin Encarnacion, Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Didi Gregorius.
Outfielders: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Cameron Maybin
Infield/Outfield: Tyler Wade
Takeaways from the ALDS Roster
In a perfect world, the Yankees would have two of their 2019 starters as long relievers in the ALDS (Domingo German and CC Sabathia). German is unable to pitch on the playoffs since he was placed on administrative leave for domestic violence allegations. Meanwhile, Sabathia is not too familiar with pitching in the bullpen, and warming up several times throughout the game, Boone thought it would be better to rest the retiring 39-year-old for the ALDS. That being said, Sabathia has good opportunity to crack the ALCS and World Series roster if the Yankees make it that far.
However since German and Sabathia were left off the roster that allowed Jonathan Loaisiga (3.97 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 3.97 BB/9, 12.71 K/9 in September) and Tyler Lyons (6.39 ERA, 6.06 FIP, 2.84 HR/9, 12.08 K/9) to join their first postseason roster. Although Loaisiga has not pitched decently this past month, adding the rookie Lyons is certainly a head scratcher. The Yankees probably trusted Lyons over long relievers Nestor Cortes Jr. (5.67 ERA, 5.57 FIP, 2.16 HR/9, 9.32 K/9) and Jordan Montgomery (6.75 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 2.25 HR/9, 11.25 K/9 in two games after Tommy John Surgery). Also, the Yankees did not want more one-inning relievers on their ALDS team, so Stephen Tarpley (6.93 ERA, 5.69 FIP, 5.47 BB/9, 12.41 K/9). and Ben Heller (1.23 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 3.68 BB/9, 11.05 K/9 in six games) were out of the mix.
1B/DH Mike Ford (12 HRs, .259/.350/.559, .372 wOBA, 134 wRC+ in 50 games) was not included on the roster. Ford would have been a left-handed 1B/DH option that could have paired nicely with righty 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion (who has recovered from his left oblique strain injury). Instead, the Yankees went with the big man Luke Voit. While, Voit has had an impressive season (21 HRs, .263/.378/.464, .360 wOBA, 126 wRC+ in 118 games), he also ended the season with just one hit in his last thirty-three at bats. Lastly, Giancarlo Stanton will in all likelihood start in Left Field, rather than DH during the ALDS as the Yankees already have Voit and Encarnacion in that role.
James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Luis Severino are the Game 1-3 starters.
Yankee manager Aaron Boone decided to play the hot hand, and go with Paxton to kick off the homestand. The Big Maple deserved the Game 1 nod thanks to a superb September. Paxton pitched to a 1.05 ERA, 2.20 FIP, and hitters slashed just .156/.214/.233 with a miniscule .199 wOBA. The only reason fans speculated Paxton would not start Game 1 would be because of a tight glute muscle. However, Paxton was solely taken out because of precautionary reasons, which downplayed any thoughts of a lingering injury. Also, Boone took the conservative approach of starting Severino in Game 3, despite pitching extremely well in two of his three September starts (9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 13 K). That left Tanaka as the Game 2 option. Tanaka always seems to step up in big games. In fact, he has a 1.50 ERA, .162 BAA, and 0.80 WHIP in his five career playoff starts. Meanwhile, J.A. (1.65 ERA, 3.10 FIP .188/.257/.313, .248 wOBA in September) will be in relief throughout the series and can make a surprisingly strong tandem with opener Chad Green (0.68 ERA, 0.21 FIP, .111/.184/.178, .166 wOBA in a potential Game 4.
AL: American League
Chase for 28: The chase for the Yankees 28th career World Series championship
ERA: Earned run average. The number of runs a pitcher allows on average in a nine-inning game. MLB average: 4.15 ERA.
FIP: Fielding Independent of Pitching. Essentially a more accurate form of ERA that only takes into account what the pitcher. MLB average: 4.20 FIP
AB: At Bats
PA: Plate Appearances
BB/9: Average number of walks allowed in a nine-inning game.
K/9: Average number of strikeouts in a nine-inning game.
1B: First Base
DH: Designated Hitter
HBP:Hit by Pitch
Triple Slash Line: Batting Average (H/AB)/On Base Percentage (H+BB+HBP/PA)/Slugging (1B*1 + 2B*2+ 3B*3+HR*4)/AB. MLB average: .248/.318/.409.
wOBA: Weighted On Base Percentage Essentially a better measure of On Base Percentage. MLB average: .320 wOBA
ER: Earned Runs
ALDS: American League Division Series. A best of five series between two teams.
ALCS: American League Championship Series. A best of seven series between the two best teams in the AL.
25-man roster: The 25 players on a Major League Roster
AL Cy Young: The award for the best pitcher in the AL.
wRC+: Weighted runs created plus. An offensive stat where 100 wRC+ is league average, above this mark is above average offensive value, while below this mark is below average offensive value.