On Thursday’s episode of The Bronx Pinstripes Show, we had MLB Network’s Robert Flores on to preview the playoffs. Flores is also a diehard Astros fan, and I had a lot of fun discussing a potential Astros vs Yankees ALCS. We broke down what the difference in the two teams is, the rest of the playoff field, and much more. Listen to the episode here.
The conversation with RoFlo got me thinking: If the Yankees and Astros combined to build a super roster, could they beat the rest of the 28 teams in Major League baseball? We discussed…
If the Yankees and Astros combined rosters, could they beat the rest of MLB? pic.twitter.com/82FgLfPR5J
— The BP Show (@YankeesPodcast) September 26, 2019
Let’s break it down
On the surface it sounds ridiculous, but let’s break it down.
Catcher – Gary Sanchez
Robinson Chirinos has had a great first year in Houston, but El Gary has had a huge bounce-back season with 34 home runs (Yankees franchise record for a catcher) and miraculously cut down on his passed balls.
First Base – Yuli Gurriel
As RoFlo pointed out, the Yankees have had a revolving door at first base. Greg Bird, Luke Voit, and Edwin Encarnacion have all been the Yankees “first baseman” at one point or another. DJ LeMahieu has floated all over the field, and will probably start at first base for the Yanks in the playoffs, but is not a first baseman. Because of this we landed on Gurriel, who has slugged 30 homers, 40 doubles and is hitting an even .300 in 600+ plate appearances this year.
Second Base – Jose Altuve
Yankees fans might be mad at this choice because they have hated Altuve ever since he beat-out Judge for the 2017 MVP Award. Altuve this season is still one of the best second baseman in baseball, with a 137 wRC+ and 3.4 fWAR. One interesting note on Altuve is that his defense has definitely taken a step back, which is why having LeMahieu on this roster is key (more on that later).
Shortstop – Gleyber Torres
Would you believe it if I told you Gleyber has spent more time at SS than 2B this year? 650 innings at SS compared to 539 at 2B. A kind word to describe his defense at shortstop is average. An accurate word to describe his defense at second base is poor. But his value is not in his glove. Gleyber has bashed 38 dingers with a 125 wRC+ and managed to cut-down on his strikeout rate this year.
Third Base – Alex Bregman
Bregman has a chance to win the AL MVP if the writers decide to not treat the award like the “best player” award this season (that goes to Trout, obviously). RoFlo and I get into MVP award voting on the episode as well if you’d like to listen (definitely listen). Bregman is a beast; he is second behind Trout in AL fWAR and only strikes out 12% of the time, which may be my favorite Bregman stat.
Super Utility Infielder – DJ LeMahieu
Is it a slap in the face to put a top-5 MVP guy on the bench? Maybe. But the infield is stacked and DJLM’s versatility and defense will come in handy on this roster. Remember when we thought there would be no place for LeMahieu to play this season on the Yankees? Well here we are in the last week of the season and he leads the Yankees in plate appearances and batting average.
Left Field – Giancarlo Stanton
Stanton has been injured all year, so why is he in left field? Because he’s still Giancarlo Stanton and if he’s healthy, he starts in LF (for the Yankees and for this made up team I’m calling the Yanksros).
Center Field – George Springer
Had Springer not been injured he might be the AL MVP this year. He ranks 6th in AL fWAR despite having missed significant time. He’s also from Connecticut, according to Suzyn Waldman.
Right Field – Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge is the best right fielder in baseball don’t @ me.
Backup Outfielder – Brett Gardner
Gardner can still play an elite left field and solid center field, and has revolutionized his approach and somehow sniffed 30 home runs this year. Amazing.
Designated Hitter – Yordan Alvarez
Alvarez is a freak. He’s a 22-year old phenom with a 185 wRC+ and, as Robert says on the podcast, seems to know the strike zone like a seasoned vet.
Starting Rotation – Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Zack Greinke
BAHAHAHHAHAHAHA. Sooooooo many strikeouts.
Bullpen – Basically just the Yankees bullpen + Will Harris and Roberto Osuna
The Yankees bullpen is tied for first in MLB for WAR, but that also has to due with the fact they pitch a lot of innings. The Astros pen ranks 10th for WAR, but ranks 23rd in innings pitched. Adding Harris and Osuna, the ‘stros two best relievers to the Yankees bullpen of Chapman, Miller, Betan… whoops, wrong year…. Chapman, Britton, Ottavino, Kahnle, and Green would make it a 7-headed death monster. *update* I omitted Ryan Pressly from the original post and should not have. He’s had a fantastic season, posting a sub-2.50 ERA and sub-3.00 FIP. Add him to the list!
To answer the question: Yes, I think the Yankstros would edge out the rest of MLB if they played a series. The difference will come down to pitching, and I’ll take that rotation and bullpen against any offensive squad the rest of MLB can assemble. I also don’t hate a lineup of:
I know, I know… it’s right handed heavy. But it’s still insane.