|1998 New York Yankees|
|2001 Seattle Mariners|
|2018 Boston Red Sox|
It’s difficult to decide who counts for the bench on these teams. The Yankees, for example, received massive contributions down the stretch from Homer Bush and Shane Spencer, but both of these players had fewer plate appearances than five other members of the Yankees bench and thus could justifiably have been left off had I cut at the five bench players with the most playing time. I decided to include every player that was not listed in the lineup above with 50 or more plate appearances (Tzu-Wei Lin sneaks in at 49 because Boston hasn’t yet played a full slate).
The Red Sox bench clearly leaves something to be desired outside of Steve Pearce. Pearce has mashed at a rate that no one could’ve foreseen in his short time in Boston. Given how bad the team was against lefties early this season, his presence has been indispensable. However, everyone besides Brock Holt and Pearce has been below replacement level. That is not ideal.
The ’98 Yankees and ’01 Mariners, on the other hand, had very deep benches. In the Bomber’s case, the bench was led by Joe Girardi (a surely familiar name to Yankees fans still), HOFer Tim Raines, old friend Chili Davis, and absolutely insane performances by Homer Bush and Shane Spencer. Spencer, in particular, hit 10 homers in 27 games. Everyone besides Luis Sojo was above replacement level and at least a couple of these guys could’ve had everyday jobs on many first division teams. That’s championship level depth.
Tha ’01 Mariners bench surely seems far more anonymous to most baseball fans. The only name that jumps out is Jay Buhner and he was almost a non-factor on the season. However, Mark McLemore and Stan Javier were worth 3.5 bWAR and 2.8 bWAR off the bench respectively. Each of those totals is way more than the entire Red Sox bench combined.