2018 New York Yankees Season Preview

2017 was supposed to be a transitional period for the Yankees but they ended up progressing faster than expected and could contend for a title this year. They ended up winning 91 and getting all the way to the ALCS before falling to the eventual Champs, the Houston Astros.2018 will be a polarizing spectacle in the Bronx. Girardi out, Boone in. Not only to they add one of the best power bats in the game, but add consistency and depth to spots where they don’t want to fiddle with young guns. After 91 wins, they have now put themselves in a spot to contend for the AL crown again with a good staff and a monster lineup.

Key Additions:

Giancarlo Stanton, OF

Neil Walker, 2B

Brandon Drury, 3B

Key Losses:

Starlin Castro, 2B

Todd Frazier, 3B

Michael Pineda, RHP

Why they can win: They could be the first team in MLB history to hit a billion homeruns. Judge and Stanton could potentially combine to hit 80-100 themselves. But don’t sleep on Gary Sanchez. If this guy can clean up behind the plate he has a chance to compete for an MVP. Their lineup is scary and the rotation is steady. Severino has become a legitimate No. 1, Tanaka is a rebound candidate, Sonny Gray is a great middle/top rotation depth guy and CC and Montgomery can get the job done and eat innings. In the pen, they have one of the best with guys who love to strike people out. Chapman, Betances, Green and Robertson is not a fun combo for opposing teams.

Why they can lose: Not living up to expectation and let the NY media eat them alive. Boone has never managed before, Stanton comes from Miami and Judge enters a whole new stage of his career. They’re a very good team but underachieving could be scary to a Yankee fan. What Judge strikes out 250 times and can’t get his swing right? What is Sanchez can’t catch? What if Gray can’t pitch at home again? Not only does that affect 2018, but the future as well.

Bottom Line: The Yanks can mash. The middle of their lineup will be so intimidating that teams will walk the big 3 and pitch to other good hitters and still struggle. Their pitching is good enough to get them to a spot to succeed and their depth is great. Neil Walker and Brandon Drury, may bat 8th and 9th in the lineup. They will compete with the Sox all year and have a nice rivalry again it seems, but we like the Yanks to take the East.

Major4 Numbers Game:

Stud: Luis Severino, SP

This may be a surprising choice for the Bronx Bombers, but Severino is arguably the most important piece on this roster. A stacked lineup and bullpen create a well diversified roster, but every championship contender needs their ace and Severino is just that. He just posted a 14-6 W/L, 2.98 ERA and 230 Ks that is backed up by strong advanced metrics (3.07 FIP, 3.04 xFIP, Fangraphs) to show it was a truly dominant season. He throws gas (97.6 MPH avg 4-seamer) and has good command of the zone (22.9 K-BB%, 5th in Majors). He generates a ton of swinging strikes. All this adds up to a true ace in a notorious hitters park.

Sinkhole: Brandon Drury, 3B

The team is legit. Brandon Drury is a serviceable 3B and he projects to be the weakest part of the roster. And he may not even keep the job the whole season with stud prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar pushing hard. For now the job projects to be Drury’s and he is coming of a solid 1.2 WAR season with the DBacks. He rarely walks (5.8 BB%) and strikes out at a high clip for his power (21.5 K%) which lead to a below average 92 wRC+. His defense is his calling card (4 DRS), with most of those coming at 2B. He isn’t a bad player by any means, but in a nasty Yanks lineup Drury is unfortunately the eyesore.

Regression Candidate: Aaron Judge, OF

Okay, this choice comes with a serious caveat, Judge just posted one of the best offensive seasons in recent memory. There is just no way he can repeat an 8.4 WAR, 52 HR, 173 wRC+ season. He has tremendous statcast numbers leading the MLB with an average exit velo of 95 MPH, combined with an optimal launch angle of 15 degrees. The reason for the regression is due to his extreme swing and miss tendencies (30.7 K%, 13.1 Swinging-Strike%) and 2nd half numbers (.228 Avg, 144 wRC+). Pitchers seemed to find the natural holes that are created by his 6’7 frame. He is obviously a great player and adding Stanton provides even more protection, but a regression is going to happen. Hot Take: Judge posts a sub 5 WAR and hits under 45 HRs.

Impact Acquisition: Giancarlo Stanton, OF

It has been well documented that the Yankees absolutely stole one of the best hitters in the game this offseason. They took advantage of the Marlins slashing their payroll and acquired arguably the best power hitter in the game (59 HR, 162 wRC+) and did so in the cavernous Marlins Stadium. He cut his K% to a career low 23.6, and did so while hitting 44% ground balls and only a launch angle of 10 degrees. Should he cut his GB% and elevate the ball a little more, 60 HR is well within reach at Yankee Stadium and the other hitter friendly parks within the division. He has one of the rare monstrous contracts that doesn’t look like an albatross, as he posted a net value of $40M+ during 2017 (Fangraphs $9M/WAR metric) and is well within his prime. Oh and if you didn’t know, he hits the ball HARD (122.2 MPH was highest hit ball in 2017).

Major4 Prospects, (Top 100):

Gleyber Torres, INF (5)

Estevan Florial, OF (44)

Justus Sheffield, LHP (48)

Miguel Andujar, 3B (66)

Two others in Top 100

Why We Love Them: They’re the Yanks. You either love them or hate them. Especially now that they went out and got Stanton. They kill the ball, they have pitching, they’re young, they’re experienced. They kind of have it all. They have a chance to win their 500th championship this year and exESPN Sunday Baseball announcer, Aaron Boone is now at the helm. Their stadium feels more like a museum and they feel like a corporation more than a baseball team but still a lot to like about the Bronx Bombers.

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