My Predictions for the 2019 Yankees
Let me add my predictions to the many being revealed this week.
A note of context before I start. I have predicted the Yankees to win the World Series for every year since about….1980. So, in my 39 years of prognosticating, I’ve been about 13% accurate (five championships). Yes, I’ve been a bit too excited at times through my fandom about guys like Hensley Meulens, Jeff Johnson, Wade Taylor and Kevin Maas.
Once again, I am choosing the Yanks to win it all. I think I have a better objective case this year than back in 1992 though.
First off, team is coming off a 100-win season that won the AL Wild Card and with a couple of bounces their way could have taken the eventual World Champion Red Sox to a fifth game in the Divisional Series. In addition to retaining their core they brought back summer additions Zack Britton and JA Happ in the offseason and added lefty starter James Paxton and reliever Adam Ottavino to the pitching staff. On the offensive side, the Yanks added infielder DJ LeMahieu to serve in a “super utility” capacity, and he has received solid reviews throughout Spring Training.
The “Baby Bombers” have another year of experience under their belt, which should help to endure the marathon regular season and prepare them well for the sprint of a postseason. This goes as well for manager Aaron Boone, who by most reviews handled the regular season well and perhaps learned some lessons in the playoffs. This is New York though, and results are expected this year, and those lessons need to turn into victories.
Here are my individual player predictions:
Catcher : Gary Sanchez plays like he has something to prove and proves it by ripping 25 home runs and making the AL All-Star team.
First Base: THIS is the year of Greg Bird. He takes the job from Luke Voit in May and slugs over .500 on the season.
Second Base: Gleyber Torres continues his improvement; another All-Star game selection. He moves into the upper class of MLB second basemen. DJ LeMahieu performs very capably in utility role. His solid performance at second base particularly makes it tempting for Aaron Boone to frequently put Torres at shortstop.
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki starts out hot, then the strain of his recent injury history and rust of not playing last year catches up – at the same time Didi comes back. Gregorius is a bit rusty at first, but rounds into shape by the end of the season. Gleyber also logs about 25 games at shortstop. All in all acceptable shortstop play.
Third Base: Miguel Andujar regresses slightly at the plate, but makes up for it with defensive improvement. LeMahieu adds solid play as well. No regrets in passing on Machado.
Right Field: MVP-type season from Aaron Judge.
Center Field: Mixed bag as Aaron Hicks struggles with health and performance and splits time in center with Gardner. Gardner starts the season fast, but his offense wilts in the summertime heat. His defensive performance remains solid.
Left Field: Hicks’ struggle with health will put Giancarlo Stanton in left field more often, and he splits time with Gardner and Clint Frazier. Like many stars imported by the Yanks, watch him settle in during his second season with the club and have an MVP worthy season.
Designated Hitter: Stanton and Voit will get most of the DH at bats. Voit will not produce like last summer’s 1.095 OPS, but will be a steady contributor to the offense with over 20 home runs.
Luis Severino – Shakes off the early injury problems to turn in an ace performance. Has something left in the tank for postseason.
James Paxton – Big Maple shows he is made for New York and becomes a fan favorite, turning in an All-Star performance. He will take well to postseason in Yankee Stadium.
Masahiro Tanaka- Another consistent 2-3 WAR performance from Tanaka.
JA Happ – After a fast start, Happ struggles a bit later in the season. His presence and consistent innings in rotation are valuable.
CC Sabathia – Struggles a bit with health, performs at league average level on guile and guts.
Aroldis Chapman – Has some human moments during the season, but final numbers will be solid.
Dellin Betances – Struggles with command through season, but will be an asset in postseason.
Zack Britton – A healthy Britton is a huge weapon out the Yankee ‘pen. Reaches the All-Star game as setup reliever.
Adam Ottavino – Not as overpowering as he was in Colorado, but fulfills #4 role in bullpen well.
Chad Green – Performs capably in “jack of all trades” bullpen role.
All in all, I predict this to be the Yankees’ season. Boston is still solid, but it is so difficult to repeat as champions these days with the extended postseason, and their bullpen losses don’t help the situation. I think Houston will continue to be elite, but pitching questions doom them in the postseason.
One thing about this Yankee team going into the season is that they look deep. That depth will be put to the test early, as two members of the rotation, the staring center fielder and a key reliever will start the season on the injured list. Players like Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa all showed flashes of talent last season and will likely have early opportunities to show it again. Look for Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade and others be promoted from Triple-A to see action as the season wears on. This depth may also show itself in a late season trade for pitching like in the past two seasons.
At the end, I think the Yanks will beat the Washington Nationals in six games for the World Series Championship.
What do YOU think the Yankees will do in 2019?