Roster question for you, Yankee fans:

We’re getting down to roster crunch time in spring training. This normally would mean I’d do some homework and have some thoughts for you, but today I’m turning the tables – I’m confused by something and I need your help. Here are some quick thoughts and then I have a question for you:

Since 2015…

Jay Bruce has posted a 105 OPS+ over 2,652 plate appearances and has played 48 games in left field, 51 at 1st base.

Derek Dietrich has posted a 110 OPS+ over 2,097 plate appearances and has played 172 games in left field, 88 at 1st base. He’s also played 152 at 2nd base and 148 at 3rd base.

In case you’re wondering about their respective right field appearances, don’t. If – heaven forbid – anything ever happened to Aaron Judge, some combination of Frazier and Stanton will be in right.

And if you’re curious about platoon splits, since they would likely only being playing against right handed pitching – Bruce’s career OPS+ against righties is 108, Dietrich’s 105. I.e., negligible.

Add all of that up and my question is this:

Why are we talking about Jay Bruce being on the Yankees’ opening day roster? There isn’t a baseball argument to be made that suggests that he’s a) a better hitter than Dietrich, b) a better overall player than Dietrich, or c) he’s a better fit for the roster.

I feel like I’m missing something. Let me know.


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