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The Tuesday Discussion: Are They For Real?

April 23, 2023


This week we asked our writers:

Are the 2023 Yankees for real? Can this winning last?

Here are their responses:


Patrick Gunn - Yes, the 2023 Yankees are for real. The team hasn’t been whole all year and they’ve been able to compete and win games in a tough division. Even with Luis Severino not pitching until late May, Carlos Rodón not pitching at all, Harrison Bader not playing until May, Giancarlo Stanton playing fewer than 20 games, and multiple injuries in the bullpen, .the Yankees are well over .500. They’ve fought hard with the top teams in their division. Aaron Judge is raking again. This team needs to answer some questions at the margins, but they’re legit.


James Vlietstra - The Yankees recent winning should continue. The early season slump that correlated with their many injuries has turned around along with their renewed health.

During the offseason they signed free agents Carlos Rodon and Tommy Kahnle. They also picked up the option of Luis Severino. Prior to Sunday, none of the trio had appeared in a regular season game. Severino has now made his. Kahnle is on rehab assignment, soon to return. Rodon is not far behind. All three of them will have fresh arms down the stretch.

The offense has woken up. On May 1st they sat at a frustrating 15-15. May 2nd, Harrison Bader was activated. Shortly after Aaron Judge also rejoined the team. Now they sit at 29-20.

The team has been making subtle roster improvements. In the meantime, prospects such as Jasson Dominguez, Austin Wells, and Everson Pereira have been heating up and are viable second half options.

As I have stated several times in the past, the World Series is harder than ever to win, especially with the extra playoff round. Being hot and healthy in October is the biggest key to having a deep run. The Yankees are in their best position for such a run in a long time.


Cary Greene - It's really too early to tell. April, May and June are when teams assess what they have. I may sound like a broken record as I keep repeating this but, what I'm saying is really true every year and this year is no different.

There's a lot of question marks regarding lineup balance, starting pitching and closing games out. Carlos Rodon could be a big X-factor for the Yankees in a playoff series. So my hope is that he gets healthy and is able to get some innings under his belt. Without him, the combination of Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortez Jr., and Luis Severino is easily capable of propelling a team to a World Series title. Pitching wins championships and if the Yankees can close games out in the postseason and get quality starts, anything can happen once the playoffs start.

I don't think we're really able to say whether this year's Yankees can do that or not. The trade deadline will be interesting and it will be a Cashman's only opportunity to get this roster right. I'm not impressed with Cashman's off season planning and additionally, I'm mainly disgusted with Giancarlo Stanton and his continuing inability to be reliable.

I don't think this Yankees team can take the hill without Judge, Stanton, and Rizzo all clicking on offense. I also think Cashman needs to push a number of buttons to get his offense where it needs to be to make a championship run.

This year's team doesn't seem to be as good as last year's team, so I believe it's a fair assessment to say that the Yankees have fallen off quite a bit while their division rivals have gained. Seems like the Orioles and the Rays are for real this year and it also seems like the Blue Jays are a move or two away from being definite threat as well.

For the Yankees to turn the corner, they're either going to need to promote some Red Hot farm hands or they're going to need to pony up at the Deadline.


Paul Semendinger - They just might be for real. We've seen them have very high peaks and very low valleys. Would I be surprised if the Yankees won 30 of their next 40 games? No, not particularly. Would I be surprised if the Yankees went 18-22 in that same period? No, not really. That being said, things seem to be looking up. There are still a lot of "IF's"...

If they all get healthy...

If they all stay healthy...

On and on...

Right now, I am cautiously optimistic. Maybe, just maybe, the Yankees of the last few weeks is the team we'll see the rest of the year. I hope they are!


Ed Botti - Are they for real? As of today they are 29-20 in 3rd place and 5.5 games behind the Rays. They have now won 8 of their last 10 including 4 straight. The 10 game surge has them now on target to win 95 games in 2023. I do not think they will maintain that pace.

Severino’s return should be a boost for the rotation. The absence of Rodon (the 2 starter) leaves a large hole in the rotation, that trickles down to the bullpen, which is being used at an extreme rate, currently.

If Rodon comes back and is effective ( a very big “if”) along with Tommy Kahnle (both free agent signings that are yet to throw a ball in 2023) , it will deepen the bullpen by adding Kahnle and moving Clark Schmidt to long relief.

However, I still see them as having too many holes in the line-up, specifically left field, third base and the bench, and they are too right handed. Of course, the July trade deadline will provide a chance to add pieces for the final 60 games, and who knows what they will do.

They have a tough road ahead of them, and the 2023 Orioles are no longer an automatic win.

I see Tampa coming back down to earth, and hopefully when they do, the NYY will be ready to pounce.

Anything can happen over the next 113 games, but they need to address the weaknesses they currently have to be relevant in October.

(RIP Jim Brown!)

*** Ethan Semendinger - If we look at the metric "luck" from Baseball Reference (which looks at the difference of a teams actual record against their pythagorean record), we can see that a team like the Miami Marlins (currently 24-24) is likely not for real with their +6 luck, along with teams like the Chicago Cubs (20-26) and St. Louis Cardinals (21-28) who should be better given their -5 luck. For the Yankees this season (29-20) they have a luck value of just +1, which ranks tied for 8th in the league with 6 other teams. By this alone, we can say the Yankees should be legit.

However, we know that this is entirely based off of runs scored vs. runs allowed (for calculating a teams pythagorean record). So, if the Yankees are playing baseball in a way that they are over-performing for either of those metrics then we can point to that being a deciding factor. On offense, the Yankees have a 100 OPS+. For pitching, the Yankees have a 118 ERA+. Neither of those metrics looks *too* far beyond reason. And if we look by position for Wins Above Average (WAA), the Yankees rank here:

All Pitchers: 3rd with +3.3

Starting Pitchers: 12th with +0.5

Relief Pitchers: 1st with +2.8

Non-Pitchers: 21st with -1.1

Catchers: 26th with -0.6

First Basemen: 4th with +1.0

Second Basemen: 24th with -0.4

Third Basemen: 25th with -0.5

Shortstops: 12th with +0.4

Left Fielders: 30th with -1.2

Center Fielders: 9th with +0.7

Right Fielders: 18th with -0.1 All Outfielders: 23rd with -0.6

Designated Hitters: 12th with -0.1

Pinch Hitters: 18th with -0.3

Long story short, the Yankees are going to be dependent on great pitching, especially out of the bullpen, to keep them competitive. This has been the model of the team for many years. They are legit in terms of being able to put together a winning season. They should make the playoffs. However, if history tells us anything, the arms will become exhausted by the time the playoffs run around and they won't be competitive against teams with quality hitting. There are some major and legitimate areas of concern (catchers, third base, left field) that need to be addressed if the team really wants to be competitive come the postseason. For now, however, they should be able to still win against the average team and put together another solid season. (But it's not those teams that you play against in the most important games.)


Andy Singer - As Optimist-In-Chief here at SSTN...I'm not overwhelmed, I'm not underwhelmed...I'm merely whelmed. Are they for real? I definitely did not think the Yankees were as bad as they played for the first few weeks of the season. That's very different than saying that this team is for real.

Why did the Yankees struggle in the 2nd half last season, in the playoffs, and at the beginning of the year? Because they got hurt. Nothing about the roster construction has changed in that regard; it is a lineup that can crank with the league's best when healthy, with one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Again, the key here is health unless reinforcements are coming.

Case-and-point: why have the Yankees been so good over the last 2 weeks? Sure, Harrison Bader came back and provided a spark, the lineup got deeper, and the pitching staff has continued to be well above-average, but the real key is that Aaron Judge is back to being the best player in the sport over that time, and he's put the team on his back. We know that the Yankees are elite when Judge is playing this well. That said, we have years of evidence that tells us that as good as Judge is (and he really is incredible), he can't do it by himself.

Now, if the Yanks luck out and everyone gets healthy and stays that way for the rest of the year, I think things could get very interesting. They get even more interesting if reinforcements come from within by August (think Dominguez, Wells, Krook, Beeter, etc.) AND the Yankees make a good deal or two at the Trade Deadline. That version of the Yankees would most definitely be for real.

So no, I don't think today's Yankees are for real, but I think the Yankees that could be playing ball in August might very well be.


8 kommentarer

Mike Whiteman
24 maj 2023

A look at the roster indicates that with the exception of the annual bullpen finds, nobody is really outdoing previous performance in a significant way. So, I think it's real. I think the Yanks are a starting pitcher and hitter away from being a strong contender for the World Series. Hopefully, they are both on the team right now, and will rejoin the team soon.


23 maj 2023

I've been encouraged by the improved play of late, but I still see them at least a reliever and a lefty bat away from where I'd like them to be. I just don't see how they swing either given how unwilling they seem to exceeding the salary cap.


23 maj 2023

The last 10 games is a small sample however they actually sweep the two triple A clubs so I wouldn’t get too excited just yet but the balanced schedule will definitely help along with players returning off IL… wins are wins but other than Toronto Yankees have remained around .500 with all the injuries so there is upside available before All Star break.


Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
23 maj 2023

If the Yankees get and stay healthy, they are for real and can beat anybody. If they keep having injuries so that there is a constant level of players on the IL, they can still beat a lot of teams, but not the best ones. If the injury bug hits like it did last year, they are a .500 team.

23 maj 2023

Yanks have a lot of middle infielders, an outfield prospect or two non-Dominguez variety) surplus to requirements and, if Rortvedt is more than a fleeting mirage, an extra catcher


23 maj 2023

the Yankee pitching staff has been well under strength with the injuries to Severino and Rodon

and several relief pitchers.

the staff has allowed 178 earned runs in 49 games (3.67/gm)

that is a significantly higher average number than last season's 3.30/gm

it seems likely to improve with a deeper and more healthy staff.

that the team has been scoring 4.5/gm suggests that the team just might win a higher percentage of games than it has to date

a victory in tonight's game would put the Yanks winning percentage at .600

which would equate to 97 games won over the course of 162.

is 97 wins likely to be sufficient to provide a first place finish in the AL East?

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