Kicking off another week of UK fan season previews, and this time it is over to the Big Apple once more for a look at how the Yankees will fare in 2018. Yankees fan Jack Brown (@UKYankeeFan99) is doing the honours, so feel free to comment below and give him a follow on Twitter.
Well, where do I start in what was a very entertaining season? The season started out with two different outlooks for the year. The majority of fans were on the side that this team was a year or two away from becoming a big time player for a World Series run with the 2019 free agency class being where the Yankee’s would be big players. With the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado being the big names in that class that the Yankees would make a run at. The other side thought the team was a value bet to make a decent run at the postseason.
The Yankees had the core of their team set before the season started. The one spot that was generally considered to be up for grabs was the right field spot, with Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks fighting for the final spot, and as they say the rest was history.
Aaron Judge, as most of you know, was the standout player of the season, hitting a massive 52 HR’s (most hit by a rookie). He was, not surprisingly, crowned AL Rookie of the year. Judge also came second in the MVP voting, losing out to Jose Altuve. Judge ended the year having arguably one of the greatest rookie campaigns of all time. Ending the year with a batting average of .284. Scoring 128 runs and a WAR of 8.1 along with the 52 HR’s. He was also he talk of the All-Star break when he put on quite a show when winning the Home Run Derby.
We ended up finishing second in the AL East to the Red Sox with a record of 91-71. That was good enough to pick up the first Wild Card spot. We beat the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card game. Next it was the Divisional round where the highly favoured Cleveland Indians went 2-0 up but the Yankees showed true fight to come back and win the series 3-2. Onto the Championship series where the Houston Astros pitching proved to good to win the series 4-3 and the AL Pennant.
When you’re one game from reaching the World Series that then makes the next season a pretty much World Series or bust situation. I think that’s the situation the Yankees find themselves in. When you add the NL MVP into your line up that solidifies those claims.
Unless you have been living on Mars over the winter you may have heard that the Yankees traded for Giancarlo Stanton. The trade consisted of Stanton coming to the Yankee’s with Starlin Castro and two minor league players going to the Marlins. Doesn’t seem like much I hear you say but the key was Stanton’s no trade clause and the fact the Yankees were willing to take on most of the money left on his deal. Now not only does the line up consist of Judge (52 HR’s), Gary Sanchez (33), Didi Gregorius (25), you can add Stanton (59). I think it’s safe to say even with the short porch at RF in Yankee stadium the Bronx Bombers are back.
Fans and experts believe that the rotation is where the concerns lie for the Yankees. I feel they are not BIG concerns but they are there. The top three in Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray doesn’t hold any worries in my mind. Sevy came 3rd in the CY Young. Tanaka showed in the postseason that he still has it after his early season struggles pitching to a 1.38 ERA. Sonny Gray should improve with a full spring under his belt and has shown in the past that he has the stuff to put in quality starts. It’s with CC Sabathia and Montgomery where the worries are. CC is 37 so it doesn’t take a lot to figure out he’s not the CC of old and Monty is in only his 2nd year so will go through his ups and downs like any young starter. The Yankees have the farm system that will allow them to if needed to go after an ace at the trade deadline if they feel they need it (like the Astros did with the Verlander trade last year).
After 10 years at the helm Joe Girardi was let go. It was a bittersweet moment for Yankee fans. We had many great moments under Joe but I think his time had run its course. 10 years is a long time and a good time to get a fresh face in charge. That fresh face was in the shape of Aaron Boone. Straight out of the ESPN Sunday night commentary box and into arguably the most pressured job in baseball. Boone came as a slight surprise but the Yankees GM has had nothing but positive things to say about Boone and as us Yankees fans say “in Cash we trust” so I’m more than happy with the appointment. Time will tell if Cashman was right in going for a guy with no managerial experience.
The bullpen is arguably the strongest part of the team and the envy of most of the league. Let me just list them: Aroldis Chapman, David Robinson, Tommy Kahnle, Dellin Betances, Chad Green and Adam Warren. All of whom I feel could walk into any bullpen in the major league.
It won’t surprise anyone that the I feel the key to success for the Yankees this year will be 2,3,4,5,6 in the Yankee batting order. Any combo of Judge, Stanton, Sanchez, Bird and Grigorius will be enough to put the fear into any clubs pitching staff. As I said at the start it’s pretty much World Series or bust for this club but when it comes to wearing the pinstripes that’s the case every year.
97-65. First and foremost eyes should be set on winning the AL East but with this team you feel it’s World Series or bust.
I feel if he can stay fit Greg Bird could be surprise package in this year’s team. A lefty swing that is built for Yankee stadium. He showed that with his HR off Andrew Miller in the postseason. It really is down to him staying fit. Yankee scouts have said for years he has the most potential in the minors and that is with Judge and Sanchez there as well.
One to watch
Miguel Andujar. He has shown a little of what he can do this spring with 4HR. He is a third baseman who has lots of power and can hit with the best of them. The major concern is his defence so that may see him start in AAA but don’t you worry he will be up at the big club sooner rather than later.