Last season Recap:
Going into the 2017 season, the Yankees had modest expectations for the first time in a long time. Fresh off a 2016 where they dumped most of their to contenders in an effort that created one of the best farm systems in baseball, the Bronx Bombers were not expected contend for anything.
However, someone forgot to tell that to the actual team who put together a postseason run that fell just one win short of a World Series appearance and a comeback from being down 2-0 in the ALDS.
Once the front office realized that this Yankees team was ready to win now, the team shifted from rebuilding to contending and has made the moves over the offseason to prepare New York to be competitors in 2018.
The Yankees started off the 2017-18 offseason with a bang by firing Joe Girardi, the manager of the team since 2008.
Many people saw this as the Yankees trying to get a new voice in the clubhouse as after ten years, a coach’s message can become repetitive. However after Girardi reached the ALCS with a team that was expected to miss the playoffs it was certainly a surprising move.
Although perhaps the even more surprising move was Aaron Boone, a one time hero for the Yankees with no previous managing experience, was hired to replace Girardi.
After changing skippers, the Yankees continued to shock the baseball world by acquiring reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. The outfielder was dealt to the Yankees for infielders Starlin Castro, Jose Devers and pitcher Jorge Guzman.
After these big splashes, New York had a relatively quiet offseason before the addition of infielder Brandon Drury at the start of Spring Training.
The former Diamondback was acquired in a three team deal that had the Yankees give up pitcher Taylor Widener (to the Diamondbacks) and infielder Nick Solak (to the Rays).
These moves, along with keeping much of the 2017 team together heading into the new season bodes well for the Yankees who will be counting on their big bats to win many ball games.
The Yankees can also count on their farm system bringing up more impact players, as Miguel Andujar and Billy McKinney have been red hot this spring, are forcing their way into the 25 man roster conversation.
One thing the Yankees must be wary of is the strikeout as Judge, Stanton and Sanchez combined for 484 punchouts last season.
While the pure power from these hitters could leave pitchers in a daze, a slump from even just two of the three sluggers could have very negative effects on New York’s offense.
In 2017, the Yankees had a top five bullpen in the MLB over the regular season with a 3.34 ERA ranking third among all teams.
The bullpen has become a strength over recent years, under the tutelage of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who has elected to stay with the team despite the manager change from Joe Girardi.
Look for the Yankees to use their bullpen, as they have in previous years, to cover up for their less than stellar starting staff.
On paper the Yankees are a top five, arguably top three, team in baseball as many of their players are expected to produce either the same or better numbers than the year prior.
However there is a reason why they play the games and many things but there aren’t too many variables, outside a complete collapse or awful luck with the injury bug, that will keep the Yankees out of the playoffs this year.
In the end the Yankees will fight tooth and nail with the Red Sox for the division crown and in the end, win the AL East by one or two games.
When in the postseason, New York will again make it to the ALCS but this time win the pennant and represent the American League in the World Series.
Once there, the Yankees have all the tools the win and barring slumps from Sanchez, Judge and Stanton, they will win title number 28.