Opening Day festivities begin this week and the New York Yankees boast the best bullpen in baseball along with several top young hitters, such as Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar, and Gleyber Torres, which is why the Bronx Bombers are the favorite to win the World Series this year.
The Yankees won 100 games last year, but they were overshadowed by a magnificent run by AL East rival, the Boston Red Sox. The Sox won 108 games and the World Series, while the Yankees were bounced in the ALDS.
The Yankees made several offseason moves, including the acquisition of lefty James Paxton, which put them in a much better position than the Red Sox. The defending champion Sox face a difficult road ahead of them to repeat after management chose not to re-sign their top relief pitcher, Craig Kimbrel, who saved 42 games last season with a 0.995 WHIP.
The Yankees are the team to beat in the AL East this year. According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Yankees are 9/2 odds to win the 2019 World Series.
Bronx Firemen, Top Bullpen
Dellin Betances will resume his role as set-up man to Aroldis Chapman. But they also have Chad Green, who has become one of the most reliable firemen in baseball.
NY Yankees Bullpen:
Aroldis Chapman (closer)
Tommy Kahnle returns after struggling last year with a shoulder and elbow problems. He tried to tough it out and didn’t tell the training staff about the severity of his injuries and it only complicated matters. Kahnle has a clean bill of health and any contributions will be an added bonus.
The Yankees are also excited about the transformation of lefthander Stephen Tarpley. The 26-year old got a cup of coffee with the Yankees last year, but the rookie looked outstanding in spring training this season. Tarpley won the James P. Dawson Award, which is bestowed upon the Yankees rookie with the best performance in Spring Training every year. Tarpley pitched 11 shutout innings in March and no one could score a run off him. The Yanks hot rookie made the Opening Day roster and joins the toughest bullpen in the MLB.
Miggy and Gleyber, Year Two
Infielders Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar were both named as finalists from the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year. Two-way player Shohei Ohtani from the Los Angeles Angels won the award, while both Torres and Andujar split the votes for the Baby Bombers.
Miguel Andujar, 24, is a defensive liability at the hot corner. Manager Aaron Boone hopes all the extra time fielding balls paid off. One thing is for certain, the Yanks will definitely need Miggy’s bat in the lineup. Last season, Andujar hit 27 home runs and raked 47 doubles. He also drove in 97 runs and just fell shy of hitting .300 by three points.
Torres, 22, was the Yankees lucky charm last season. As soon as they called him up from AAA, the Yanks went on a tear. Torres played 123 games for the Yanks in 2018. The second baseman shocked everyone with 24 home runs and 77 RBI. Everyone knew he could hit, but didn’t realize the kid had a little extra-pop in his swing. Torres finished with a .271 batting average.
After sensational rookie seasons, the bar has been set high in 2019 for Andujar and Torres. Yanks fans will expect no less than .300/30 HR/100 RBI from Andujar and .285/28 HR/90 RBI from Torres. If they both deliver, the Yankees will be in good shape to hoist another championship banner.
The Yankees will start on Opening Day with two key starting pitchers out of the rotation. Their Ace, Luis Severino, missed the second half of spring training with shoulder inflammation. Manager Aaron Boone tapped Masahiro Tanaka to open the season for the Yankees on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles.
CC Sabathia signed a one-year deal that will also mark his final season as a pro ball player. He had minor heart surgery in the offseason which delayed the start of his preseason training. CC, the emotional leader of the Yanks, is expected to join the team in May, along with Severino.
The Yankees have unusual depth with their starting rotation with eight arms. Even spot starters like Luis Cessna and Domingo German would be capable 4th or 5th starters for more than half the teams in the league. Both Cessna and German will fill in for Sabathia and Severino until they return to the rotation.
Centerfielder Aaron Hicks signed a contract extension just before he went on the injured list with a bad back. He’s expected to miss a couple of weeks. The Yankees are deep in the outfield position with both Todd Frazier and veteran Brett Gardner ready to go, so they can start the season without Hicks.