The Bomba Squad vs The Bronx Bombers
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA TodayLet’s take a position-by-position look at this Twins/Yankees series.
Twins: Mitch Garver (28) - .273/.365/.630 (.995) with 16 doubles, 31 HR, 67 RBI (0 playoff games)
Yankees: Gary Sanchez (26) - .232/.316/.525 (.841) with 12 doubles, 34 HR, 77 RBI (18 playoff games)
Summary: Simply looking at 2019 numbers, it’s clear that Garver had the better season of these two. After hitting seven homers last year, he set out to hit the ball in the air more often in 2019, and he did that. Likewise, he went to work on his defense last offseason and has made himself into an adequate defensive backstop. That is where Garver gains the edge over Sanchez as well.
Advantage: Slight edge to the Twins.
Twins: CJ Cron (29) - .253/.311/.469 (.780) with 24 doubles, 25 HR, 78 RBI (3 playoff games)
Yankees: DJ LeMahieu (31) - .327/.375/.518 (.893) with 33 doubles, 26 HR, 102 RBI (5 playoff games)
Summary: CJ Cron had a terrific, powerful first half of the season with the Twins. Unfortunately a thumb injury before the All Star break cost him two IL stints and really sapped him of his power much of the rest of the season. LeMahieu can play all over the infield, but he’s found most of his playing time in the second half at first base. He should receive strong consideration for MVP as he was such a huge piece for the Yankees all season.
Advantage: Edge to the Yankees.
Twins: Jonathan Schoop (27) - .256/.304/.473 (.777) with 23 doubles, 23 HR, 59 RBI (12 playoff games)
Twins: Luis Arraez (22) - .334/.399/.439 (.838) with 20 doubles, 4 HR, 28 RBI (0 playoff games)
Yankees: Gleyber Torres (22) - .278/.337/.535 (.871) with 26 doubles, 38 HR, 90 RBI (5 playoff games)
Summary: We will find out on Friday morning whether or not Luis Arraez will be on the ALDS roster or not. He had such a positive impact on the team immediately after his promotion. The quality of his at-bats is veteran-like. Schoop’s at-bats may not be as pretty, but look at the numbers. He has had a solid season despite losing playing time. Regardless, Torres is an All-Star at a very young age. Sure, about 1/3 of his homers came against the Orioles, but he had a fantastic season and plays solid defense too.
Advantage: Edge to the Yankees.
Twins: Miguel Sano (26) - .247/.346/.576 (.923) with 19 doubles, 34 HR, 79 RBI (0 playoff games)
Yankees: Gio Urshela (27) - .314/.355/.534 (.889) with 34 doubles, 21 HR, 74 RBI (5 playoff games)
Summary: Sano put up monster numbers in 2019 despite his season not starting until May 15th. He had his week of extreme struggle, but since then, he has been pretty well locked in. He’ll be making his postseason debut because he missed the 2017 Wild Card game with a broken tibia. Urshela did play in the 2017 postseason, for Cleveland. He’s been a backup player the last few years in Cleveland and Toronto. He got an opportunity to play in 2019 because of the Miguel Andujar injury, and he took full advantage.
Advantage: Edge to the Twins.
Twins: Jorge Polanco (26) - .295/.356/.485 (.841) with 40 doubles, 22 HR, 79 RBI (1 playoff game)
Yankees: Didi Gregorius (29) - .238/.276/.441 (.718) with 14 doubles, 16 HR, 61 RBI (19 playoff games)
Summary: Gregorius missed the first half of the season due to Tommy John surgery. He returned in the second half and never got on a great roll. That said, he can be great, and he certainly has hurt the Twins in recent years. Polanco had a terrific, breakout season in 2019. He had a big first half and earned his first All-Star appearance (and start).
Advantage: Slight Edge to the Twins.
Twins: Eddie Rosario (28) - .276/.300/.500 (.800) with 28 doubles, 32 HR, 109 RBI (1 playoff game)
Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton (29) - .288/.403/.492 (.894) with 3 doubles, 3 HR, 13 RBI (5 playoff games)
Summary: Because of injury, Stanton was limited to just 18 games at 72 plate appearances in 2019. But if he’s healthy, the former MVP can have a huge impact in this series with his power. Rosario had a rough second half, but just looking at his numbers (except that OBP), he put together another solid season for the Twins. Staton has played in five postseason games. Rosario played in just one, but he homered in that game.
Advantage: Push. The edge would clearly go to the Yankees if not for the injury factor.
Twins: Max Kepler (26) - .252/.336/.519 (.855) with 32 doubles, 36 HR, 90 RBI (1 playoff game)
Yankees: Brett Gardner (36) - .251/.325/.503 (.829) with 26 doubles, 28 HR, 78 RBI (52 playoff games)
Summary: Gardner has played in 52 playoff games in his long Yankees career. He has really changed his game in the last couple of years from a slappy, on-base hitter to a power guy. If Kepler had stayed healthy and had played at all in the last three weeks, the edge would likely go to Kepler in this “matchup.” He had a huge breakout year. His health is the lone question.
Twins: Marwin Gonzalez (30) - .264/.322/.414 (.736) with 19 doubles, 15 HR, 55 RBI (30 playoff games)
Yankees: Aaron Judge (27) - .272/.381/.540 (.921) with 18 doubles, 27 HR, 55 RBI (18 playoff games)
Summary: Judge missed some time early in the season but returned to put up Judge-like numbers again. I have Gonzalez listed here, but he could play some at first base, and if he does someone like Jake Cave or LaMonte Wade could play right field. In addition, Gonzalez missed the final handful of games due to his oblique tightening, but he expects to be back.
Advantage: Edge to the Yankees
Twins: Nelson Cruz (39) - .311/.392/.639 (1.031) with 26 doubles, 41 HR, 108 RBI (41 playoff games)
Yankees: Edwin Encarnacion (36) - .244/.344/.531 (.875) with 18 doubles, 34 HR, 86 RBI (26 playoff games)
Summary: This “matchup” pits two members of the 400 Home Run club. Both have been prolific power hitters for years. Both have missed time with injuries in 2019. Encarnacion is expected to return to the Yankees lineup for the playoffs after missing time with an oblique injury.
Advantage: Slight Edge Twins
Twins: The Twins will likely have a bench that includes Jason Castro, Willians Astudillo, Jake Cave, LaMonte Wade (and Jonathan Schoop, if Arraez is healthy).
Yankees: The Yankees will likely have Austin Romine as their backup catcher. Guys like Luke Voit (21 HR), Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier will also possibly be on the bench. Mike Tauchman is another possibility if he is healthy.
Twins: .270/.338/.494 (.832) with 318 doubles, 307 HR, 939 Runs
Yankees: .267/.339/.490 (.829) with 290 doubles, 306 HR, 943 Runs
Summary: Expect to see a lot of home runs, a lot of runs scored. Or, because baseball can be funny sometimes, maybe we will see a series of pitcher’s duels.
- hybridbear, nclahammer and DannySD like this