It’s easy to forget that just a short while ago, the New York Yankees were tabbed by many to be possible favorites in this division. After winning 92 games last year, this year I think that a +8-10 game change is very likely.
Their pitching should be good again. Gerrit Cole got off to a very good start and was the cog for the New York Yankees pitching staff overall. He posted a 3.23 ERA along with 243 Ks and he amazingly won games even when the offense scored 3 or less runs. His return brings them steadiness on the bump. Then there is the quintessential X-Factor. Which is Jordan Montgomery. He immediately springs to mind with his sinker that abuses the plate, and his wicked changeup that dances over the plate when it cruises over it. As long as he can continue what he is good at, and get some decent offensive help, he can be a huge key to this team’s season. While it’s far too early to say what kind of run the 30 year old pitcher is going to have, but after what we saw last year with his 162 Ks, his ERA, and innings pitched – all which were top 3 on the team, it’s easy to say why just a couple of tweaks here and there, could make him a real surprise stud.
The team also has to feel good about what they saw from Gleyber Torres during the 2021 campaign, in the time he got, he racked up a .259 avg and a solid .697 OPS. Although with a little more work he could be really productive for this team, as long as he keeps confidence at the plate, with his smooth swing and excellent hand-eye coordination, it wouldn’t surprise me for him to knock out 25+ HRs and rack up another 85 RBI again. Torres is on his way to becoming a great player – and him possibly moving to 2B could be a key – with good discipline along with more than just adequate plate coverage.
Aaron Judge showed awesome power, yet again, and excellent hitting with 39 slammers and 98 RBI. The 6-7 powerhouse struggled early in the season, hitting just .246 in the first 30 games, then went off during the rest of the season, hitting .298 adding 80 RBI. The key for him will be trying to start off ready to go, and riding it for the year. If he can get off early, it would be a great help.
The Yankees are going to be betting on Judge and Torres coming through for them this year and I fully expect them to do as such. If they do as expected, they will be looking at a postseason berth. I wouldn’t be surprised if Judge gets at least 40 HRs if he gets the chance to open it up, and if Torres can stay confident it is going to be tough to handle this squad.
The Yankees turned it around later in the year, they played better baseball over the middle of the summer, getting red hot in July and August, plowing along at a 35-17 record. Helping them to finish 3rd in the AL East. They had a slow start going just 41-39 through June 2021, and that start definitely put them behind in the race. If they managed to play as well as they played for the middle of the season, during the first part of the year, they probably would have finished with around 100-105 wins. Expectations for New York this season should be a lot higher than they were in 2021 – now that they have shown what they can do. The Rays better be careful, because this team has a very high chance of causing some chaos in the division and getting to be the Top Dog in MLB.