Sometimes winning the offseason
translates to wins on the field. That should be the case for the 2018 New York Yankees. They sent Starlin Castro and some bus money to the Marlins in exchange for the NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. While scoring runs (2nd in MLB) and hitting homers( 1st in MLB) were not issues for them last year, adding a player of Stanton’s caliber can’t hurt especially when the cost was essentially only money. Contrary to popular belief though, this team is comprised of more than just the brothers of destruction(it leaves out the rest of the studs on the team but I like the WWE reference for the nickname so I’m going for it) so let’s take a look at how the rest of the roster will shape up when they head to Toronto for opening day.
This is where the only position battles for the yanks are. If Greg Bird can stay on the field he will be the first baseman. He showed flashes of his power potential last year hitting 9 Home runs in only 147 at bats, the issue was his .198 avg thou. If he can get his average to a respectable level he should hit 25-30 homers easily and be a vital lefty hitter in a mostly right handed lineup. The unsung hero and leader IMO is the short stop Didi Gergorius. Didi followed up his breakout 2016 with a great 2017 hitting 287 with 25 home runs and 70 RBI. 2nd base and 3rd base were up in the air as spring began but a pair of savvy moves sured up the positions, acquiring Brandon Drury from the diamondbacks and signing Neil Walker. Once a top prospect, the Drury hype has cooled with 2 mediocre seasons but his potential is still there and while he will play 3rd his versatility being able to play 2nd and the corner outfield positions makes him a valuable piece. At 2nd youngster Tyler Wade is making a run at the position but I think Walker will win the job in the end. Neil has been an incredibly consistent player in his career, you know what you are getting. 15-20 homers, a .270 avg and solid defense. He has had trouble staying on the field the last 2 years but I’m blaming bad Mets luck for that, he’ll be fine. The last name to talk about is Gary Sanchez. The best hitting catcher in the game will have the chance to clean up behind anyone the bash boys leave on base. His defense has been a issue in the past and possibly cost the Yankees a trip to the World Series but his bat will more than compensate for that going forward.
Here’s where things a little interesting. While having the NL MVP and the AL MVP runner up is nice, when they play the same position it becomes an issue. Stanton got some time in left field this spring and looked, I’ll put it nicely, uncomfortable. One of them will DH for most of the season but when your 3rd best hitter is your catcher, you’d like to give him some time there as well. In the end I think Judge is the guy who moves. Even though it was his spot first he is a team guy who at one time in his young days plays center field, I think he can handle left. On an every day basis Brett Gardner will handle left while Aaron Hicks will play center. Every offseason there is talks the yanks will trade Gardner and every year they don’t and he comes in and plays well. Getting on base at .350 clip last year and hitting 21 homers while leading off is just the cherry on top of the most dangerous lineup in the league. Hicks in the other hand is a bit of a question mark. Another guy who was a highly ranked prospect that hasn’t panned out. He showed flashes last year with the bat hitting 15 homers in his 88 games but his defense is why he’ll be on the field.
Probably the biggest question mark in the team is the starting pitching. Luis Severino showed his ace potential last year winning 14 games and finishing 3rd in AL Cy Young voting. He’ll have to continue that as he will be asked to lead the staff. Masahiro Tanaka is slotted to pitch game 2 but is an head scratcher. He had a rough 2017 but showed his ace stuff in the playoffs. The yanks will need a bounce back year from their former ace. Sonny Gray was once a rising star in the game and then it all fell apart. The top of the rotation stuff is still there and if he puts it together, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. I love CC. I really do. This just goes out there with everything he has for a long as he can and competes. He’s no longer the ace was but as a 4th starter he’s perfect. Jordan Montgomery will round out the rotation as he 5th Guy. His job will just be to provide some innings and not be terrible. He’ll be ok.
There isn’t much to talk about here, I can describe it in really one word. Filthy. They have 6 guys who anyone is the league would take as their 8th or 9th inning guy. That’s right I said 6 CLOSERS. It sickening. In this day and age of starters going 5 and no one throwing 200 innings they have the best bullpen in the league. Outside of Chapman in the 9th the other 5 will be used when ever and where ever. That makes them very dangerous. How they are used will be interesting but it’s tough to go wrong with any choice you makes here
This is 90+ win roster easily with basically any manager at the helm, but that still doesn’t mean having a manager who’s never coached before this season isn’t an interesting story line. I think it was a mistake to get rid of Joe Girardi, he has do a very good job dealing with the retooling the team went through as well as handling the end of against super stars careers with class. Aaron Boone is in charge no though and it will be on him if this team doesn’t compete. They handed a 19 the keys to a race car, he might be a natural or he might crash into a wall going 150. That remains to be seen but if he can just keep the car on the road so to speak, there is some October baseball in the future for Yankee fans.