The Evil Empire is back. With the trade for the contract of Giancarlo Stanton, the New York Yankees showed that—despite the self-imposed financial restrictions—the Yankees are capable of flashy moves that most of baseball cannot match.
With the addition of Stanton, the Yankees now have both the AL and NL home run leaders on a team that lead baseball in longballs in 2017. There’s plenty of power on this team, both in the lineup and in the bullpen. First time managed Aaron Boone surely is in an enviable position. With plenty of depth in the minors, the Yankees seem well insulated against a rash of injuries, too. It’s hard to image a scenario where the Yankees aren’t playing well into October. For better or worse, the Bronx Bombers are back to their dominant ways.
2017 Record: 91-71
2017 Moneyline Record: -1.00 Units
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 83-76-10
Current Odds To Win AL: +300
Current Odds To Win AL East: -153
Regular Season Win Total: 94.5
Aside from the Houston Astros, the Yankees are the favorites in the American League and have a regular season over/under on the win total at 94.5, a full dozen wins higher than the number set leading into 2017.
To start last year, New York was in a rebuilding mode, focusing on youth. Just one year later, they’re fresh off a Game 7 loss in the ALCS and have added to the roster with acquisitions of Giancarlo Stanton and Brandon Drury to be even better in 2018.
While the Yankees are no longer in rebuilding mode, they are still not back to the George Steinbrenner days of an unlimited payroll. GM Brian Cashman played some serious payroll gymnastics to keep New York under the luxury tax threshold while also brining in Stanton, bringing back C.C. Sabathia and maintaining the best bullpen in the league.
Of course, the Yankees still have some hefty contracts on the books, but trading away Chase Headley and shedding several expiring contracts has helped the Yankees to be a bit more financially streamlined. As a result, they’re now able to duck under the tax threshold and reset in time for a big splash in the loaded 2018-2019 free agent class.
While that may be the offseason target, the Yankees are still fully focused on winning in 2018 and the roster is still stacked, even with a financial limitation that’s foreign to this financial behemoth.
The Yankees surprised most in winning 91 games in 2017. The team got better as the year went on and offseason additions Stanton and Drury could make this team even better in 2018.
Offensively, the lineup is stacked. Drury’s addition gives the team an answer at either second or third, leaving the other position open for a prospect. Gleybar Torres and Miguel Andujar are each highly rated prospects that could win the position either in Spring Training or later in the year. Others like Danny Espinosa, Jace Peterson, Tyler Wade and Ronald Torreyes give the team plenty of options.
Beyond that single hole, the lineup is stacked. Aaron Judge, Stanton, Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez form a dynamic heart of the order, easily able to combine for 160 homers. Judge and Stanton each hit more than 50 last year. Sanchez, meanwhile, hit 33 bombs in just 122 games while Bird was injured much of the year, but swung the bat very well in the postseason.
Beyond those four, Brett Gardner is still a useful player atop the order while Didi Gregorius was arguably the best overall hitter in October for the Bronx Bombers last year.
There’s no question, the lineup will score runs. After all, this is a team that hit a MLB leading 241 homers last year and scored 858 runs, second only to Houston. They’ve since added the NL MVP in Giancarlo Stanton after a 1.007 OPS, 59 homers and 132 RBIs.
On the mound, the Yankees are no slouches either. They were hoping to upgrade the rotation, but the staff remains much the same as the one to close out 2017. They brought back Sabathia as a veteran stabilizer and have Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray all as top-of-the-rotation talents. Jordan Montgomery, meanwhile, had a massively underrated 2017 with a 3.88 ERA in 155.1 innings; and he’s the No.5 starter.
The rotation is better than it really needs to be given the depth in the bullpen. Aroldis Chapman may be a bit overrated as a closer. He was good, but not great in 2017 with a 3.22 ERA and 22 saves. He has plenty of speed and swing-and-miss in his game, but was hittable from time to time. Still, he’s a reliable closer and he has a very deep pen bridging the gap to him. David Robertson, Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle were all nearly unhittable at times in 2017. Dellin Betances struggles with command some, but he’s got the best strikeout rate and stuff of everyone with 14.1 Ks per nine in 2017. Sprinkle in Adam Warren and Chase Shreve and it really is an embarrassment of riches.
This is a deep, deep roster with plenty of minor league depth. The Yankees are poised for another long run of success and the 2017 ALCS showing was just the start. Yes, there is a hole in the infield and yes, there are questions around guys like Bird, Hicks and others, but this team is loaded with talent.
|Baltimore Orioles||Baltimore, Maryland||Oriole Park at Camden Yards|
|Boston Red Sox||Boston, Massachusetts||Fenway Park|
|New York Yankees||New York City, New York||Yankee Stadium|
|Tampa Bay Rays||St. Petersburg, Florida||Tropicana Field|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Toronto, Ontario||Rogers Centre|
|CENTRAL||Chicago White Sox||Chicago, Illinois||Guaranteed Rate Field|
|Cleveland Indians||Cleveland, Ohio||Progressive Field|
|Detroit Tigers||Detroit, Michigan||Comerica Park|
|Kansas City Royals||Kansas City, Missouri||Kauffman Stadium|
|Minnesota Twins||Minneapolis, Minnesota||Target Field|
|WEST||Houston Astros||Houston, Texas||Minute Maid Park|
|Los Angeles Angels||Anaheim, California||Angel Stadium|
|Oakland Athletics||Oakland, California||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum|
|Seattle Mariners||Seattle, Washington||Safeco Field|
|Texas Rangers||Arlington, Texas||Globe Life Park in Arlington|
|EAST||Atlanta Braves||Atlanta, Georgia||SunTrust Park|
|Miami Marlins||Miami, Florida||Marlins Park|
|New York Mets||New York City, New York||Citi Field|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Citizens Bank Park|
|Washington Nationals||Washington, D.C.||Nationals Park|
|CENTRAL||Chicago Cubs||Chicago, Illinois||Wrigley Field|
|Cincinnati Reds||Cincinnati, Ohio||Great American Ball Park|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Miller Park|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||PNC Park|
|St. Louis Cardinals||St. Louis, Missouri||Busch Stadium|
|WEST||Arizona Diamondbacks||Phoenix, Arizona||Chase Field|
|Colorado Rockies||Denver, Colorado||Coors Field|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Los Angeles, California||Dodger Stadium|
|San Diego Padres||San Diego, California||Petco Park|
|San Francisco Giants||San Francisco, California||AT&T Park|
March 29-April 1: at Toronto Blue Jays
April 2-4: vs Tampa Bay Rays
April 5-8: vs Baltimore Orioles
April 10-12: at Boston Red Sox
April 13-15: at Detroit Tigers
April 16-17: vs Miami Marlins
April 19-22: vs Toronto Blue Jays
April 23-26: vs Minnesota Twins
April 27-29: at Los Angeles Angels
April 30-May 3: at Houston Astros
As is normal, the Yankees have a lot of head-to-head series against fellow AL East division rivals, including sparking the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry early with a trip to Fenway Park for the fourth series of the year. While the series against Boston could be a nice precursor to a season long back-and-forth between the two teams at the top of the AL East, perhaps the best test in April comes in its final days when the Yankees get a rematch of the ALCS with a four came series against the Houston Astros that bleeds into May.
Most oddsmakers consider the Yankees and Astros as the front-runners to represent the American League in the World Series. Obviously, a full season stands in the way. During the first month, there’s a series against each AL East foe. The Twins and Angels also represent potential playoff clubs.
One other intriguing matching of the season’s first month is between the Marlins and Yankees. The Yankees get to host Derek Jeter’s squad while showcasing what the Fish’s former slugger and reigning NL MVP looks like in pinstripes.
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