Yesterday Mike tackled what Brett Gardner's defense might bring to the Yankees in 2010. Given that a Johnny Damon reunion is now all-but-impossible unless ownership goes against its word that they only have $2 million left to spend, I wanted to take a quick look at how many runs per game the Yankee lineup as presently constituted might be expected to score through Baseball Musings' Lineup Analysis tool. The Fowl Balls did this about a month ago with Matt Holliday batting 5th, and found that that hypothetical Yankee lineup would produce an obscene 6.269 runs per game.
We know who will occupy the top four spots in the lineup. However, I'm just guessing on the order of the 5 through 9 hitters -- while I think Posada batting fifth makes the most sense, Granderson, Cano and Swisher could probably be plugged in anywhere from 6-8.
And so the Yankee lineup with Brett Gardner starting in left field is projected to score a mouth-watering 5.97 runs per game. This of course assumes that everyone will play at the very least to their career averages, not to mention takes nothing about the opposition into account, so take it with several grains of salt.
How about the lineup with Johnny Damon, you may be asking yourself? I would guess a Damon return to the Yankees also means a return to the two-hole, which would bump Nick the Stick down to presumably fifth, unless the Yanks want a little more power protecting A-Rod. For this particular analysis we'll toss Nick in the five spot. And what do we get? A lineup that averages 6.015 runs per game.
Again, this is obviously a rudimentary analysis, and I have to imagine that subbing Damon in for Gardner would impact the lineup more significantly than a measly difference of 0.045 runs per game, but perhaps the perceived upgrade from Damon isn't as dramatic as we in Yankeeland might think.