Who Will Bat Third For The New York Yankees?


Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have dished out some the offseason’s biggest contracts as they try to reclaim the American League East crown (and the American League crown and the World Series Crown – one step at a time, I guess). They’ve loaded their lineup with left-handed sluggers like Brian McCann and proven postseason performers like Carlos Beltran, and they aren’t finished yet as attention now turns to the starting rotation.

Brian Cashman still has work to do in the Bronx before Opening Day, but now that names have moved from lists of potential targets to the actual roster, the Yankees’ lineup is beginning to take shape.

I imagine (and I don’t think I’m alone) that Jacoby Ellsbury will lead off with Derek Jeter batting second and Brett Gardner batting ninth — though that could be problematic. With the departure of Robinson Cano, however, it is still unclear who is going to bat third. The Bombers have a revamped offense with several players who could be legitimate three-hitters, but in a boom-or-bust lineup you could even make the case for Ellsbury to bat third.

Here are the Yankees’ most likely three-hitter candidates with their career statistics in the No. 3 hole:

Mark Teixeira: 839 games, 3243 at bats, .286/.378/.544, 201 home runs, 653 RBI

Teixeira was the Yankees’ three-hitter when they won the World Series in 2009. Since that year, his home run and RBI totals have been constant though his batting average and slugging percentage have plummeted. Tex typically gets off to slow starts every year. Combined with the fact that he’s coming off an injury that limited him to 15 games in 2013, he may be slotted lower in the lineup.

Carlos Beltran: 985 games, 3807 at bats, .279/.355/.479, 177 home runs, 654 RBI

Beltran has been a three-hitter for majority of his career and, like Teixeira, has the advantage of being a switch-hitter. He’s going to be 37-years-old next April, however, which makes you wonder how much longer he’ll be able to produce at such a high level. Last year, he primarily batted second for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Brian McCann: 67 games, 328 at bats, .216/.296/.409, 17 home runs, 43 RBI.

McCann is a tempting choice for the No. 3 hole because of the short porch in right, but in reality he’s more of a middle-of-the-order guy. He had 204 at bats batting third in 2011, 94 in 2012 and six in 2013. In his career, McCann has had the most at bats batting fourth and fifth and has the highest batting average hitting sixth (.294).

Alfonso Soriano: 162 games, 671 at bats, .259/.309/.449, 30 home runs, 94 RBI

In his career, Soriano has actually put up his biggest numbers out of the leadoff spot. However, he hasn’t been full time leadoff hitter since 2009, and most of that production came when he first came up with the Yankees.

Soriano has been a four-hitter for the past two years. He had tremendous success in the clean up spot last year after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs. With the Yankees’ latest additions, however, Soriano will likely be moved down in the lineup.

Alex Rodriguez: 797 games, 3065 at bats, .303/.396/.588, 233 home runs, 618 RBI

Rodriguez has primarily been a four-hitter in his career. Even if he’s allowed to play next year there’s no way he’s batting third in this lineup.

James O’Hare is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JimboOHare, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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  • Arkius

    1. Brett Gardner LF

    2. Derek Jeter SS

    3. Jacoby Ellsbury CF

    4. Alfonso Soriano RF

    5. Brian McCann C.

    6. Carlos Beltran DH.

    7. Mark Teixeira 1B

    8. Brian Roberts 2B

    9. Kelly Johnson/Dean Anna 3B

    • James

      Swap Soriano and Beltran as DH/RF and you may be right. If Rodriguez is allowed to play slot him in eighth and move Roberts down to the nine-hole. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it looked something like this:

      1. Ellsbury CF
      2. Jeter SS
      3. Beltran RF
      4. Soriano DH
      5. McCann C
      6. Teixeira 1B
      7. Kelly Johnson/Dean Anna/Alex Rodriguez 3B
      8. Brian Roberts 2B
      9. Brett Gardner LF

      • Arkius

        Keeping Beltran healthy and his bat in the lineup, will be one of Joe Girardi’s top priorities.

        Soriano does not have a history of bad knees, etc; therefore, having him play RF on a regular basis, takes the physical pressure off of Beltran.

        Based on the information that is already in the public domain, I think it’s a forgone conclusion that Alex Rodriguez won’t be playing baseball this

        Teixeira is a notorious slow starter, batting seventh allows him time to get his scheisse together, and gives Beltran an opportunity to see more breaking balls, and work the count.

        If Ellsbury plays to his stats, then he is the team’s best hitter for average, and thus better suited to bat third, and protect Jeter.

        Gardner has lead the league in pitches per at bat for the last few years.
        Gardner at the top of the lineup better uses his ability to work the count, and get on base. Batting him ninth means that he doesn’t come to the plate until the third inning, and he gets fewer at-bats over-all.

        My lineup has three switch-hitters in the 6, 7, and 8 holes, which gives
        the Yankees an advantage in the later innings, i.e. opposing managers
        will have match-up problems vis-à-vis relief pitchers.

        • James

          I don’t think Beltran’s as fragile as many believe him to be (averaged 146 games over the last three years). Keeping Beltran healthy is definitely a priority but he’s a flat out better outfielder than Soriano. There’ll definitely be some platooning but I think Beltran’s the right fielder on Opening Day.

          Teixeira’s definitely going to be lower in the lineup but I don’t see how getting Beltran more breaking balls will be an advantage.

          I would like to see Gardner remain at the top of the lineup and I do think Ellsbury is a good enough hitter to bat third. The only problem is it could diminish his ability to steal bases if he has guys on base in front of him — especially Jeter who can’t run like he used to.

          • Arkius

            Thank you for your well reasoned comments. It is always a pleasure to exchange ideas with knowledgeable Yankee fans.

            Happy New Year!

          • James

            And to you! Nice to have comments from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Thanks for reading

    • Farva55

      There is no WAY Beltran is hitting 6th. He might have the best bat on the team.


  • Tim Marks

    Who cares, you need pitching to win. This TEAM AGES LIKE NO OTHER TEAM, THEY WILL BE SPENT BY SEPTEMBER.