Well well well, the New York Yankees are back for the 2018 season, but are they better than ever?
Some key additions and losses plus a new manager, is setting an interesting tone for this team in spring training. People are saying that the “Evil Empire” is back. C.C. Sabathia loves being the hated yankees team of old, “getting Giancarlo [Stanton] just brings us back to being that hated team. That’s what we like. We want to go out there, put the best team on the field and crush everybody every game.” Not so fast C.C., I would love to see this team succeed as a Yankees fan, but can they actually seal the deal is the underlying question?
Last year’s team was so easy to watch and root for because the mix of young guns and wily veterans were having such fun and loved being on the field and in the locker room together.
With a significantly new look to this team, it is important to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the New York Yankees heading into the 2018 season.
Last year Aaron Boone was calling games for ESPN and now he is the manager for the New York Yankees. This is a man who has no experience managing not even at a high school or college level. This may scare yankees fans but what this team needs is a manager to control the personalities in the locker room. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s Joe Torre was the perfect man to control such a talented team and mostly just let them play the game. There are gonna be growing pains but once Boone as a manager can hit his stride so can this team.
As much as I love the outlook of this team, it is not unlike a “stacked team” to get off to a rough start. Fret not because the talent of this team is what can carry them to the promise land.
First Pitching is important to analyze because this may be the Yankees biggest weakness. Their bullpen is strong and if the starting rotation can get them to the 6th or 7 inning they will be perfectly fine. The problem is that I’m not sure if this starting rotation has enough to do that. Betances was hard to watch during the postseason, being that he couldn’t control any of his pitches for the ladder part of the season. The rest of the bullpen including Aroldis Chapman as the closer, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Chad Green are a scary group and that is just a glimpse.
The rotation is not deep and with the way the game is you need eight guys strong with all the possible injuries. Severino, Tanaka, Gray, and Sabathia need to perform and stay healthy to compete with Houston and Cleveland especially. The yankees may need a key trade to acquire a starting pitcher but no one can know where this team will be halfway in. With Cessa and Montgomery having to start this season, these two need to be strong in their starts especially if they have to fill in for a pitcher going down with an injury
Now to this team’s lineup which has seen some pretty significant changes in the offseason. Alright lets talk about the massive 6’6 elephant in the room. Mr. Giancarlo Stanton, welcome to New York. Enjoy it now because the Yankees want Bryce Harper next season and you might be the guy that goes, but I digress, I’m getting ahead of myself. Stanton is the biggest acquisition for the Bronx Bombers with 59 homeruns last season for the Miami Marlins.
The outfield for this Yankees team is so deep that utilizing the DH position with guys like Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Judge, and the aforementioned Giancarlo Stanton will be vital to their success. The fire power in this lineup is bar none and Gary Sanchez as one of the best hitting catchers in the league needs to have a great season. In the offseason he was said to have lost some wight, but most importantly he needs to improve behind the plate and be much better defensively.
Didi Gregorious has been phenomenal as the Yankee shortstop. Bold Prediction: In a few seasons do not be surprised if Didi is the 16th captain in Yankees history. HIs leadership and love for the game is rivaled by very few players. He has improved on every part of his game and the move by Brian Cashman to get him was lambasted at the time, but it has been one of the most pleasant surprises this Yankees team has seen in the past few seasons.
This team’s lineup will carry them through a lot of games. The starting rotation has very little depth especially in a league where extra starters may need to pitch due to injury. This is a team that needs to come together with a lot of new pieces after losing guys like Todd Frazier and Starlin Castro. This team will have great battles with a tough Red Sox team, but the Yankees Should win the division. Final Bold Prediction: This team will have a rough first 30 games of the season but will make it to the World Series this year. Anything less than a championship is a disappointment for this caliber of a team.