For the second consecutive year, the Yankees are going to break camp with a team that looks like they will hit no less than 6,000 home runs, and I for one and not looking forward to it.
Yes, I know that the Yankees hit 267 home runs last year and didn’t win a goddamn thing, it was very funny to laugh at. But for some reason, deep down in my core, I am much more concerned about this year’s iteration of the team.
While this years team is essentially the same lineup that won 100 games last season, with a couple of touch-ups here and there, they are a few players that are more important than others. Here are a handful of guys that personally give me the heebeegeebees looking ahead.
Candidate number one: Luke Voit.
I try my hardest to hate Luke Voit, but somehow he is my favorite player on this Yankees team. Acquired by the Bronx Bombers for next to nothing at last years trade deadline, King Louis hit 14 home runs and had an OPS of almost 1.100 in 39 games. He got hot and stayed hot until the Yankees season was ended in October. Some people may have written this off as a fluke, “Ahhhh bologna, he can’t do that over a full season!” Well, since pulling into Yankees spring training, Voit has continued to hit at a phenomenal rate. He has already hit 4 home runs and has an OPS over 1.000. Also, he does this little Sammy Sosa side-skip thing after every home run and it’s so goddamn slick and cocky and I hate it and I love it. I think predicting anything less than 25 home runs for Mr. Voit would be insulting.
I think Luke Voit is ready to end this little first base competition pic.twitter.com/YxdjlCCQoI
— Eric Hubbs (@BarstoolHubbs) March 17, 2019
Candidate number two: Troy Tulowitzki.
Hold on. Let me talk. I personally laughed when the Yanks signed Tulo to be Didi Gregorius’ temporary replacement, and for good reason, might I add. I know Tulo played as many games as Jacoby Ellsbury in 2018 and only played 66 games in 2017, but he looks very healthy right now, and I don’t like it. Tulo has hit 3 home runs and is slugging near .600 so far this spring, and if he is even close to 2016 form this year, that’s a problem for opposing pitchers. Tulo’s last fully healthy season, 2016, he casually hit 24 home runs. Keep in mind he is headed to an extremely hitter-friendly ballpark and will have all the protection in the world around him in that lineup. He will get more than a handful of pitches to hit. I like Troy Tulowitzki a lot, and part of me is rooting for him to get back to his old ways. BUT, the Red Sox fan in me wants him to hit .150 and never play baseball again. It’s looking like he just might be a legit hitting threat this year, and I don’t like it.
Candidate number three: The entire bullpen minus Dellin Betances.
The Yankees are the complete inverse of the Red Sox pen. How do you get ALL the pitchers? You know what to expect from Aroldis Chapman, just hope the crowd doesn’t get too rowdy. Zach Britton, while coming off of a down year, still makes me uneasy, Tommy Kahnle somehow always gets outs, and Jonathan Holder and Chad Green are both very good. Adam Ottavino is the key, though. A pitcher who had elite numbers in Coors Field is a pitcher to be feared. The man with the best slider in baseball could feasibly close for all 30 teams, but is somehow slated as the Yanks’ 7th inning man at this moment. The Yankees are playing four-dimensional chess. They’re shortening the game. If you don’t have a lead after 6 innings, life’s going to be very unfun this year.
Candidate number four: Aaron Judge.
I once famously said that Aaron Judge was a glorified Mark Trumbo and that he would eventually flame out like most power hitters do. I was very wrong. I have since moved into the state of mind that Aaron Judge is one of the most lethal hitters in the game of baseball, and every time he steps to the plate I pee a little bit. He missed close to two months last season and the Yankees still managed to crank out triple-digit wins. Imagine if he gets back to a full season and looks the way he did in 2017. I. Do. Not. Want. That. Aaron Judge could hit a home run to dead center field at the Polo Grounds with one arm and I would be the least bit surprised. He has the smoothest, yet most powerful swing I have ever seen in my life. He’s going to hit 45 home runs this year, and it’s going to SUCCCCCCKKKKKKKK to play against.
A few wildcards I chose not to Include and why:
- Miguel Andujar– Last year, I thought that Miggy was legitimately the best hitter in the Yankees lineup, and the resume speaks for itself. However, I think it’s a huge stretch to assume he’ll be as good as he was last year. Also, a wet sock would play a better third base than him.
- Gleyber Torres– Struggled with injuries during his first taste of the bigs. Can’t assume any more production than what we saw last year.
- DJ LeMahieu- If he was starting over Gleyber, I would’ve put DJ in my list of people to be scared of. Super good under-the-radar pickup and honestly deserves to start.
- Gary Sanchez- Sanchez is fat and is the worst defensive catcher I’ve ever in my life. He can hit 30 home runs and I’ll still see him as a detriment to this team.
- Giancarlo Stanton- Stanton may have hit 38 home runs this year, but he was still a big fat disappointment. In THAT ballpark you’re only able to squeeze out 38?? After hitting 59 the year before in Marlins Park???? Stanton may have a similar season this year, but 200+ K’s add up quick. Not concerned about Big Mike. At least he’s good for highlights.
- The Entire Rotation- Yup. Not one person in the Yankees rotation makes me lose sleep. I’m going to overreact and assume that Luis Severino’s late-season struggles and his early-season DL stint are related and are a sign of things to come. Stick a fork in him he’s dead. Masahiro Tanaka is okay but he’s nothing more. James Paxton has never even come close to a full season of work and is nothing more than a number 3 starter. JA Happ is old. CC Sabathia, while ageless, had a stroke or something and is WELL over the hill. Luis Cessa… HAHAHAHAHAHA. Let’s feast on this.
The Yankees are going to be very good in 2019. As a Red Sox fan, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little intimidated. But then again I was nervous last year, too. I’m ready for a dog fight for the AL East. Baseball needs to start tomorrow, because I’m ready to lose my shit.
Photo by USA Today Sports