As the 2022 MLB playoffs rapidly approach, the New York Yankees are likely locked into the second seed in the American League East. As they await the Cleveland Guardians or the third Wild Card team, the Yankees roster is left with a few questions. With the potential returns of multiple key contributors, rookies off to quick starts and a suddenly shaky bullpen, these are some of the biggest questions facing the Yankees roster.
The Yankees are likely set at catcher with Jose Trevino locked in as the starter with Kyle Higashioka serving as his backup. Meanwhile, New York will likely turn to Anthony Rizzo and his lefty bat to handle first base. With Isiah Kiner-Falefa the preferred starter at shortstop for Aaron Boone, the Yankees are left with a couple of question marks to round out the infield.
DJ LeMahieu’s Yankees career has provided a steady presence at the top of the Yankees lineup. However, with the MLB Playoffs approaching, the man known as LeMachine has missed almost all of September with a toe injury. Yankee sources have confirmed that the injury likely won’t be fully healed until the off-season. Meanwhile, Gleyber Torres has been one of the best hitters on the team not named Aaron Judge. At this point, it feels unlikely the Yankees will take his bat out of the lineup.
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With Torres likely holding down second base, the Yankees roster will have to decide between LeMahieu and Josh Donaldson at the hot corner. While Donaldson’s bat has disappointed this season, he has seen an uptick in play in September following the birth of his second daughter. Meanwhile, both Donaldson and LeMahieu have put up very strong defensive numbers this season. For the 2022 MLB Playoffs, the Bronx Bombers will likely have to decide between an aging Donaldson and a hurt LeMahieu at third.
When the Yankees added veteran Marwin Gonzalez this season, the likely hoped he could serve as a super utility player, capable of filling in multiple positions. While he still posses a decent glove, his bat has been one of the worst in baseball. Meanwhile, rookie Oswald Peraza has had a strong start to his MLB career and did steal 34 bases this season in 39 opportunities between Triple-A and the Bronx. With his speed, the Yankees might opt for the talented rookie.
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The Outfield and DH
With plenty of questions in the infield, the Yankees roster will also have a few questions in the outfield. Aaron Judge is an obvious lock in Right Field, and the team will likely use Harrison Bader in Center.
Perhaps the only question facing the Yankees roster for the 2022 MLB Playoffs in the outfield is Left Field. The team probably thought they found the answer to this question when they traded for Andrew Benintendi at this year’s trade deadline. However, a broken hamate bone in his right hand have put his playoff chances in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, rookie Oswaldo Cabrera has been on a tear over the past few weeks. His strong defense and suddenly productive bat has made him one of the more reliable hitters in the lineup. Finally, the Yankees do have Aaron Hicks and while he has been playing a bit better recently, it’s hard seeing the team trusting him in a high leverage situation.
Lastly for the lineup, the Yankees roster might have a question regarding the Designated Hitter position. While Giancarlo Stanton has held the position for most of the second half of the season, his poor play recently has left a big hole in the lineup. Meanwhile, the team appears set to add the slugging Matt Carpenter back from a foot injury. The Yankees could move Stanton to left field but his Achilles injury might prevent this option.
The batters aren’t the only questions facing the Yankees roster for this year’s MLB Playoffs. Some serious questions will impact both the starting rotation and the bullpen.
The first two spots of the rotation will be held by Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes. However, a plethora of injuries and inconsistent play has led to some question marks. Luis Severino’s injury is behind him so he might get the first shot at the three spot. Meanwhile, Jameson Taillon has pitched better as of late. Finally, the team could go with Domingo German and a bullpen game.
Finally, the Yankees roster has potentially more questions in the bullpen than any other position group. What was once a strength of the team, the Yankees bullpen has struggled a bit as the MLB Playoffs approach.
Long-term stalwarts such as Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman have struggled since returning from injuries while Clay Holmes has not been the same since the All-Star Break. The team has recently returned Scott Effross from the injured list and appear set to add Wandy Peralta, Miguel Castro and Albert Abreu.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Loaisiga has looked like his former lockdown self and could very well serve as the Yankees closer. Potentially joining him in high leverage situations are Ron Marinaccio, Lucas Luetge and the newly acquired Lou Trivino, who has been one of the more consistent relievers since the trade deadline.
What are your predictions for the Yankees roster for the MLB Playoffs? Let us know in the comments below!
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