2018 Season Preview: New York Yankees

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

by Jared Wolff

New York Yankees

2017 Record: 91-71 (2nd AL East)

2017 Payroll: $224,458,752 (2nd)

Projected 2018 Lineup:

All player projections for 2018 from Steamer

  1. LF Brett Gardner, .258 AVG/.344 OBP/.411 SLG, 1.6 WAR
  2. RF Aaron Judge, .254 AVG/.368 OBP/.518 SLG, 4.0 WAR
  3. DH Giancarlo Stanton, .287 AVG/.379 OBP/.654 SLG, 5.8 WAR
  4. C Gary Sanchez, .269 AVG/.333 OBP/.517 SLG, 3.8 WAR
  5. 1B Greg Bird, .253 AVG/.342 OBP/.492 SLG, 1.6 WAR
  6. SS Didi Gregorius, .269 AVG/.314 OBP/.436 SLG, 2.6 WAR
  7. CF Aaron Hicks, .251 AVG/.341 OBP/.423 SLG, 2.0 WAR
  8. 3B Brandon Drury, .264 AVG/.314 OBP/.431 SLG, 0.9 WAR
  9. 2B Gleyber Torres, .247 AVG/.314 OBP/.381 SLG, 0.0 WAR

Projected 2018 Rotation:

  1. Luis Severino, 188.0 IP/3.56 ERA/1.18 WHIP, 4.3 WAR
  2. Masahiro Tanaka, 176.0 IP/4.00 ERA/1.20 WHIP, 3.0 WAR
  3. CC Sabathia, 138.0 IP/4.69 ERA/1.40 WHIP, 1.4 WAR
  4. Sonny Gray, 186.0 IP/4.26 ERA/1.36 WHIP, 2.9 WAR
  5. Jordan Montgomery 153.0 IP/4.60 ERA/1.37 WHIP, 1.7 WAR

Offseason Recap:

In typical fashion, the Yankees stole the show in baseball this offseason. After finishing one game short of the World Series, they made the biggest trade of the winter. They got reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, adding MLB’s best power hitter to an already stacked starting lineup. The gave up starting second baseman Starlin Castro in the deal but will replace him with top prospect Gleyber Torres. The only significant free agent loss for them was third baseman Todd Frazier, but general manager Brian Cashman quickly replaced him. The team acquired Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks to be their opening day third baseman. There were talks about going after a Manny Machado trade with the Orioles, but they just may sign him next offseason.

2018 Season Preview:

The Yankees head into the 2018 season with their eyes on a World Series title. Their roster is deep, and they boast one of the top farm systems in baseball. But, they also have an unproven manager. After a long period of uncertainty with Joe Girardi, the team hired former Yankees third baseman, Aaron Boone. Boone played for over a decade in the Major Leagues but has no coaching experience. He has been an analyst, where he has impressed with his knowledge of advanced statistics in the new age of baseball. It will be interesting to see his adjustment to this new role with the high expectations of this team.

Boone’s adjustment will be helped out by a deadly lineup. The Yankees made a blockbuster deal for Giancarlo Stanton and his 59 home runs. Think about that power paired with Aaron Judge and his 52 home runs. But, that’s not even all. Gary Sanchez, their young catcher, hit 33 home runs in 2017, while Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius both put up more than 20. After losing Todd Frazier, the team added Brandon Drury. Could he grow after a trade from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees like Didi Gregorius did? This lineup has everything. Speed, power, high on-base percentage. The Bronx Bombers are back.

The key to an unstoppable offense could be Greg Bird, the highly-touted first baseman. He was awful in the first half of last season, leading to a demotion to the minor leagues. After working on his swing, he returned and had a solid second stint with the big league club. The Yankees are confident in him as their first baseman, and he could thrive with the protection of all big guns in the lineup.

The rotation is also looking strong heading into the season. The Yankees had the fifth best staff ERA in 2017, and it could be even better this season. Bringing back CC Sabathia was a great move, as he will provide a great presence and consistency if he stays healthy. Luis Severino will be leaned on as the ace of the staff. The 24-year-old was 14-8 last season with an ERA of 2.98. Sonny Gray should be even better in his first full season in the Bronx. Can Masahiro Tanaka be great? Can he stay healthy?

The bullpen is going to win a lot of games for this team. Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson is a scary trio. This unit will complement the starting rotation and shorten games.

The young talent in this Yankees farm system cannot be ignored. Baseball America ranks it as the second-best in baseball. Gleyber Torres is ready to contribute to the big league team. Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield are two young pitchers with very high potential.

I am expecting this team to battle it out all season with the Boston Red Sox for the American League East crown. This team is ready to win now and for the next decade.

Record Prediction: 96-66

Player to Watch #1: Gleyber Torres

The Yankees top prospect and one of the top prospects in all of baseball is ready to break out onto the scene. He was forced to miss a lot of last season with Tommy John surgery, and it will be interesting to see how he comes back from this. The team will give him a chance to compete for a starting job at second base, a move that would really fire up the fanbase. The sky is the limit for Torres.

Player to Watch #2: Greg Bird

Injuries have plagued Greg Bird his entire Yankees career, but the team is still high on him as a star first baseman. He will be the starting first baseman and will be hitting in the middle of the order. Can he hold up over the course of a full season? Will he play like the first half of last season or the second?

Player to Watch #3: Justus Sheffield

Along with Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield was the other jewel the Yankees received in the Andrew Miller trade with Cleveland. Sheffield spent last season in Double-A Trenton, where he pitched to a 3.18 ERA. He is one of the top prospects in the system and is garnering more and more hype. Sheffield’s potential could be scary. He is a 20 year old lefty who throws 93-95.

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