Posted on March 29, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Few teams in baseball will begin the 2018 season with higher expectations than the New York Yankees. After falling one game short of reaching the World Series last season, many view the Bronx Bombers as a World Series or bust club in 2018. Can the Yankees live up to all the preseason hype or will they fall short of their lofty goals this season?
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New York’s rotation will look strikingly similar as it did last year when they were one of the best in the American League. Masahiro Tanaka decided to return to the Yankees rather than test free agency. He and Luis Severino will lead the rotation along with C.C. Sabathia, who also decided to return to the Yankees for 2018.
Of course, Sonny Gray will also be a key part of the rotation, as he experiences his first full season in the Bronx. The Yankees also have lefty Jordan Montgomery to round out their rotation after posting a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts last season. From top to bottom, the Yankees have one of the most complete rotations in baseball. They also have talented prospects like Chase Adams, Domingo Acevedo, and Justus Sheffield waiting in the wings just in case.
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The Yankees reached the ALCS in large part because of their bullpen last year, and mostly the same group returns this season as well. Aroldis Chapman was far from elite last season, but he’s still one of the most intimidating closers in baseball. The Yankees also have a pair of would-be closers setting up for Chapman in Dellin Betances and David Robertson. With that trio, the Yankees will have the ability to shorten games to six or seven innings, giving them a huge advantage.
Even beyond the trio of Chapman, Betances, and Robertson, the Yankees have impressive arms coming out of the bullpen. Adam Warren was oustanding last season, posting 2.35 ERA in a full-time relief role. Chad Green was even better, going 5-0 with a 1.83 ERA in 2017. The Yankees also have Tommy Kahnle, who would be the 8th inning setup man on most teams but is a middle reliever in New York’s deep bullpen.
A few offseason additions have made an already strong Yankees lineup even more powerful. The most notable addition, of course, was Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs and posted a career-high OPS of 1.007 last season. He and Aaron Judge in the same lineup will be a site to see this season. The Yankees also have Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner filling out their outfield, with Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier options as well once they return from injury, making New York’s outfield unbelievably deep and talented.
The Yankees also added Brandon Drury and Neil Walker to their infield this offseason. Walker will team up with Tyler Austin to play first base while Greg Bird misses the first chunk of the season following ankle surgery. Ultimately, Walker should be the primary second baseman, Drury at third base, and the always steady Didi Gregorius at shortstop. The Yankees also have Gary Sanchez behind the plate. Despite missing a month of action due to injury last year, Sanchez still contributed 33 home runs and 90 RBIs.
Just for good measure, the Yankees have a couple prospects who may be ready to make an impact at some point in 2018. Gleyber Torres is coming back from Tommy John surgery, but he could potentially come up if needed the second half of the season. Miguel Andujar could also be called upon if the Yankees need help at third base at any point this year.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Yankees don’t win 100 games this year. They have obscene amounts of power in their lineup, a rotation that’s easily among the 10 in the majors, and a bullpen that could be the best in baseball. On top of that, there is more than enough depth to survive a few injuries. Look for the Yankees to finish 104-58 in 2018 and enter the postseason as the clear favorites to win the World Series.