There are two things a bench has to do well in the American League: fill in for resting/day-to-day regulars, and provide an advantage in a narrow band of situations in the middle of games. The Yankees are going into this season with Eric Chavez, Eduardo Nunez, Andruw Jones, and Francisco Cervelli (once he’s healthy) to fill those bench spot. I think its the best group they’ve put together in a very long time.
In the narrow band of in-game situations, the Yankees come out quite well. Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez will take almost all of the pinch hitting appearances. They both have a history of mashing opposite-side pitchers. Chavez has a 112 OPS+ against right-handed pitchers, while Jones has a 110 OPS+ for his career and 148 OPS+ last season. They are probably the best pinch hitting duo to start the season with the Yankees since Kenny Lofton and Ruben Sierra in 2004. The Yankees shouldn’t have a lot of opportunities for the two of them, but we can be pretty confident that they will do a decent job when it counts.… Click here to read the rest