By: Billy Lewis
As the calendar moves to February it means one thing, baseball is back! New York Yankees pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Valentine’s Day. By the end of the month, we will have baseball games to watch and will start to fantasize about a deep playoff run.
The New York Yankees 2017 was an unexpected success. Led by Aaron Judge’s phenomenal rookie season the Yankees surpassed all expectations and went to Game 7 of the ALCS. They lost to the eventual World Champion Houston Astros, but fans were left salivating at things to come.
The 2017 season was an exciting one and the Yankees even played the role as underdogs in October. 2018 will have a much different feel. Throughout his rookie season, Judge was compared to Giancarlo Stanton. On December 9, the Yankees traded for Stanton and just like that the Evil Empire is back.
The Stanton trade was not the only big move the Yankees would have this offseason. After the ALCS the Yankees opted not to re-sign manager Joe Girardi. Ten seasons and one Wolrd Championship (2009) later, the Yankees decided it was time to move on.
On December 4 the Yankees announced they have selected 2003 ALCS hero Aaron Boone as the new skipper. Boone is getting set to take over a team that will have huge expectations for the upcoming season. Boone will be at the helm of a team that should be ready to make a World Series run.
Bronx Bombers Return
The Bronx Bombers are going to look to live up to their name in 2018. With players like Stanton, Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Greg Bird the Yankees have four guys that have 40+ home run potential in the middle of their order. Add in the likes of Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, and Aaron Hicks and the Yankees will have a dynamic lineup.
They are going to bring back the same pitching rotation they ended with last season: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia, and Jordan Montgomery. Pair that with their electric bullpen and the Yankees should be one of the best teams in baseball.
Though there is still plenty of time between now and Opening Day ( March 29) and many high profile free agents left, I wouldn’t expect the Yankees roster to look much different for Opening Day. Currently, the only question marks would appear to be second and third base.
Rookies Glebar Torres and Miguel Andujar will have an opportunity to compete for those openings. With a ready to win team, it will be interesting to see if they go into the year with two rookies in those spots. Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade will also compete for the openings, with Torreyes being able to play either second or third.
If I were to make a prediction I would say Torres wins the second base job and Torreyes wins the third base job out of camp. I’d also look for the Yankees to sign a versatile veteran infielder, Neil Walker, comes to mind. One thing for certain, you’ll get your first look at the 2018 Bombers on February 23 when they open their Spring Training schedule against the Tigers.