Red Sox: A revised look at AL East division
By Rick McNair
NEW YORK YANKEES
The hitting is back in force in New York with a tower of power in Aaron Judge leading the way. Expect Judge and Andrew Benintendi to be the top contenders for Rookie of the Year honors. Judge is not the only culprit in the revitalized New York lineup.
Austin Romine has taken full advantage of the absence of Gary Sanchez to possibly establish himself as the number one catching option. Time will tell, but if Sanchez comes close to his 2016 performance NY will have a fine Dilemma on their hands.
New York risked jettison of veteran talent for youth and it has paid off. Old hands like Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Matt Holliday and Jacoby Ellsbury are mixed in with Starlin Castro – only 27-years-old – and a bevy of contributors who are young and promising. Give Brian Cashman an A for rebuilding.
Where it possibly comes apart for the Yankees is on the mound. Masahiro Tanaka is about as good as it gets as an ace, but after that, it all is a big question mark. C.C. Sabathia has pitched well in the early going, but after several seasons of mediocre, I don’t expect a sudden rush to his form of ten seasons ago.
Michael Pineda and Luis Severino have a world of promise and a world of inconsistency. Maybe the high hopes for Jordan Montgomery will be reached? What New York does have is a stellar bullpen to back up the rotation – get a lead and they are like SEAL Team 5 for providing protection.
Pitching wins and pitching loses. In New York that is what it will come to – the rotation has some “issues” and they will only magnify as the season progresses unless the youngsters find that aforementioned consistency. Expect New York to be in until the end. Next year expect a pwowerhouse in New York.
Strength – The batting order, power. Bullpen is solid.
Weakness – starting pitching. Youth sometimes hits a wall.
Chances – Team could contend for Wild Card. Expect 87 wins – more if starters get in gear.