Friday, September 30, 2011
Postseason roster analysis: AL teams
By David Schoenfield
The Division Series rosters are in the for the AL teams. Here's a quick review.
New York Yankees
Pitchers (11): CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan, Luis Ayala, Cory Wade, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett
Position players (14): Russell Martin, Jesus Montero, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Eduardo Nunez, Eric Chavez, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones, Chris Dickerson.
Notes: Nothing too surprising, as Posada showed enough with the bat down the stretch to earn the start at DH against Justin Verlander. He'll also serve as the emergency catcher, with Austin Romine left off the roster. Sabathia will start Game 4 on three days' rest, so the Yankees will use only three starters if the series goes five games. Logan is the lone lefty; the core of Detroit's lineup is right-handed or switch-hitting, so Logan's only likely lefty-lefty matchup would be Alex Avila. Dickerson provides a pinch-running option and could replace Swisher in right field in the late innings. Assuming the regulars are healthy, Joe Girardi is unlikely to do any pinch-hitting.
Pitchers (11): Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Al Alburquerque, Joaquin Benoit, Daniel Schlereth, Ryan Perry, Jose Valverde, Phil Coke, Brad Penny.
Position players (14): Alex Avila, Omir Santos, Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Ramon Santiago, Ryan Raburn, Jhonny Peralta, Wilson Betemit, Brandon Inge, Don Kelly, Delmon Young, Austin Jackson, Magglio Ordonez, Andy Dirks.
Notes: Jim Leyland has been using three platoons: Betemit/Inge at third and Dirks/Ordonez in right field in traditional lefty/righty platoons; Santiago and Raburn switch off at second, with Santiago (and his better glove) playing when Fister and Porcello start. Schlereth and Coke are the two lefties and they'll be used to match up with Granderson and Cano in the middle innings if necessary. Again, nothing too surprising. Detroit does lack speed and has no basestealing threats other than Austin Jackson, even off the bench, although a guy like Kelly could pinch-run for a slow-footed guy like Martinez.
Pitchers (11): C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Scott Feldman, Neftali Feliz, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Darren Oliver, Mike Gonzalez.
Position players (14): Mike Napoli, Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Treanor, Michael Young, Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Esteban German, Josh Hamilton, Endy Chavez, Craig Gentry, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy.
Notes: Ron Washington has announced that Napoli -- who has slugged .706 since the All-Star break - will be his No. 1 catcher. However, carrying Treanor as a third catcher means Washington can start Torrealba at catcher against lefties (Matt Moore and David Price), sliding Napoli to DH and starting Young at first base. Lewis and Harrison will start Games 3 and 4, although Washington hasn't announced the order, pushing Ogando into the pen. Esteban German was selected over Andres Blanco as the backup infielder and Feldman is a bit of a surprise. Oliver and Gonzalez are the two lefties and they could see plenty of action matching up against Johnny Damon, Matt Joyce and Casey Kotchman.
Tampa Bay Rays
Pitchers (11): James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Wade Davis, Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Juan Cruz, Brandon Gomes, Jake McGee, J.P. Howell.
Position players (14): Kelly Shoppach, John Jaso, Jose Lobaton, Casey Kotchman, Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez, Evan Longoria, Reid Brignac, Elliot Johnson, Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton, Matt Joyce, Johnny Damon, Sam Fuld.
Notes: The Rays probably had more potential roster possibilities than any other club. With Moore drawing the Game 1 start, Jeff Niemann was left off the roster and Wade Davis will work as the long man. McGee and Howell are the lefties, chosen over Cesar Ramos. Joe Maddon elected to go with three catchers, which makes sense since he likes to platoon and pinch-hit for them; however, the decision to keep two light-hitting shortstops in Brignac and Johnson (both hit under .200) leaves the bench thin of pinch-hitting options. Brignac did start the final three games at shortstop, so maybe Rodriguez will come off the bench. Still, seems like another bat like Justin Ruggiano would have been a better option than Johnson.
Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter @dschoenfield.