The New York Yankees will open the 2020 season Thursday, July 23, against the Washington Nationals. It’ll be the first of a three-game set against the reigning World Series champions.
The Yankees were dealt blows this offseason as SP Luis Severino is out for 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Starter Domingo German was suspended. Shortstop Didi Gregorius (Phillies) headlined a series of free agent losses, including RP Dellin Betances (Mets), 1B Edwin Encarnacion (White Sox), and 1B Greg Bird (Rangers).
The biggest addition of the offseason in all of baseball, however, was the Yankees’ signing of SP Gerrit Cole away from the American League rival Houston Astros. Cole helps shift the balance of power in the AL and has helped make New York a heavy favorite in the shortened season. Equally important additions will be returns to health for OFs Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton. Starter James Paxton should slide in behind Cole in a rotation also featuring Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and Jordan Montgomery.
Despite the returning star power, the Yankees could still face some regression this season. First baseman Mike Ford hit 12 home runs in his first 50 MLB games last year. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu hit a career-high 26 homers after leaving Coors Field and the Colorado Rockies. Third baseman Giovanny Urshela hit 21 home runs and slashed .314/.355/.534 in 132 games for his third team in three years.
New York has also been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as LeMahieu, Aroldis Chapman and Luis Cessa all tested positive. It’s likely that all three will be away from the team for the first few weeks of the regular season.
What value could potentially be lost from the offense should be replaced by Cole and the rest of the rotation. Paxton led the staff with a 3.82 ERA across 150 2/3 innings last year. Tanaka, German, and Happ all had ERAs above 4.25. The Yankees ranked ninth by bullpen ERA last season, with Chapman converting 37 save opportunities and finishing with a 2.21 ERA.
The Yankees are the biggest favorites to make the playoffs in the AL, and they’re well represented in the player futures. Judge is a top contender for AL MVP. Cole is the favorite for AL Cy Young, and Stanton ranks among the odds leaders for the home run crown.
Yankees odds: Futures
New York Yankees
New York Yankees
Yankees betting breakdown
2019 Record: 103-59
Key Losses: Luis Severino (Out for season – Tommy John), CC Sabathia (P – Retired), Didi Gregorious (SS – Phillies), Domingo German (P – Suspension), Austin Romine (C – Tigers), Cameron Maybin (LF – Tigers), Chance Adams (P – Royals), Greg Bird (1B – Rangers), Dellin Betances (P – Mets), Edwin Encarnacion (DH – White Sox)
Key Additions: P Gerrit Cole, P Chad Bettis, P Adam Warren, P Dan Otero
1. DJ Lemahieu, 2B
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Gleyber Torres, SS
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Gary Sanchez, C
6. Brett Gardner, LF
7. Luke Voit, 1B
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Gio Urshela, 3B
Projected Rotation: RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Masahiro Tanaka, LHP J.A. Happ, LHP Jordan Montgomery, RHP Jonathan Loaisiga
Projected Closer: LHP Aroldis Chapman
Bullpen Strengths: Bullpen was a strength for Yankees in 2019, and most of the arms are back. Aroldis Chapman converted 37 of 42 save chances in 2019 with a 2.21 ERA. The Yankees bullpen posted a 4.08 ERA in 2019, good for 9th in the Majors. They ranked 750 strikeouts which was 5th in the Majors. LP Zack Britton appeared in 66 games in 2019 posting a 1.91 ERA along with 53 strikeouts in 61.1 IP.
Bullpen Weaknesses: Bullpen is one of the Yankees’ main strengths. However, injuries to the starting rotation could force the bullpen to do a lot of heavy lifting this season.
Key Stats from 2019
- The Yankees broke the single season home run record for a team in 2019 with 306, only to be eclipsed by the Twins with 307 home runs. New York did this with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton only playing 120 games. They had 14 players bit at least 10 home runs last season.
- DJ LaMahieu led MLB by hitting .392 with RISP.
- Aaron Judge and Mike Tauchman had most defensive runs saved in 2019 among AL Outfielders.
- 30 players were on the IL in 2019 for a total of 39 stints. Yankees lost 2,129 games to injury.
- Gleyber Torres became only the third Yankee with multiple 20-homer seasons (Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle) with team-best 38 homers in 2019.