A few games later, and I’m reconsidering that opinion. Not so much because of the batting average or the strikeouts or the lack of steals or because he’s not a Leadoff Hitter, but because of his team leading 29 home runs and .247 ISO (which, incredibly, is higher than his batting average!). Put very succinctly, putting your best power hitter in the leadoff position makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, especially when you’re going to be sticking Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Martin directly in front of him in most games. That’s not a recipe for maximizing your opportunities to score runs at all, and though lineup construction might not mean much in the long run, such a drastic departure from an optimal configuration can easily make an outsized impact in a small sample size. Not to be pedantic, but every run counts when you’re struggling to win close games, and Granderson’s best attribute right now is that he’s got the ability to go deep in any at bat. With Alex Rodriguez out and the Yankees’ lineup built around hitting the long ball, the focus here should be getting as many runners on base in front of Granderson and Robinson Cano as possible, and putting the former at the top of the lineup card absolutely does not do that. Heck, a few months ago I seriously thought that Girardi should swap Granderson and A-Rod, moving the latter to the two-hole and putting Granderson third in the order to take full advantage of their relative power/on base skills.
The problem with the change is also compounded somewhat by Girardi’s stated rationale for the move: to avoid stacking his left-handed hitters. In some cases this would be reasonable enough, but neither Granderson nor Cano are particularly susceptible to southpaws (Cano does have a massive platoon split this year, but he’s got a career wRC+ of 110 against lefties), so it seems like the team would gain a lot more from maximizing the RBI opportunities the two are presented with than they are from sticking Derek Jeter between the two in the lineup’s upper third.