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The Tuesday Discussion – What Are You Most Excited About?

This week we asked our writers:

With Spring Training in session and the games beginning, what has you most excited about the 2021 season?

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Tom Russo – I’m most excited for baseball to finally be back and try and bring us to a sense of normalcy.

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Derek McAdam – The 2021 season holds much in store for the Yankees, but I am most excited about all the “comebacks” this season. Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon are two pitchers Brian Cashman is banking on to make an impact, and I am excited to see how they both do. As for non-pitchers Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez are both expected to have better seasons than last year, so it will be fun to see how each of them respond. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have changed their workout routines in hopes to become more suitable for the long season. Overall, there is lots of opportunity on the Yankee squad this year that will make all 162 games interesting.

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Chris O’Connor – With Spring training finally up and running, it’s so hard to pick just one thing that I am excited for. I want to see a true breakout from Clint Frazier, who finally comes into a year as the unquestioned starter in left field. A bounce back season for Gary Sanchez is something to monitor. An extended look at young guys like Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and potentially Luis Medina is always fun to watch. And I am looking forward to seeing Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon in Yankees uniforms, both of whom have enormous upside (and also considerable health-related risk). Most of all, however, I am so excited to see Judge and Stanton in the lineup together. Both are finally fully healthy heading into spring training and appear primed for great years. It is easy to forget how great they can be together, but it is always just so much fun to watch them in the same lineup.

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Paul Semendinger – The prospect of the Yankees having a magical season. I am really positive about Jamison Taillon and Corey Kluber. I think they’ll both have big years. I have this irrational belief (hope?) that Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will stay healthy and hit 75 to 80 homers between them. I’m looking forward to Gleyber returning to his rising star status and Clint Frazier becoming great.

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Ed Botti – In my opinion, the best thing about the 2021 season is that fans will be allowed back to the stadiums. Albeit, in much smaller amounts of attendance. But it will great to hear and see fans at games once again. It started last week with the Knicks, Nets, Rangers and Islanders and now we will have it in MLB.

Team wise, this Yankee team is very similar to the last 2 teams. I would say I am interested to see how Kluber and Taillon pitch. I am also interested to see if our outfielders and DH can stay on the field.

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Andy Singer – There’s so much that excites me about Spring Training, that it’s hard to pick just one. The winters get longer and colder with each year it seems, so I always have the start of Spring Training circled on my calendar. This year though, I have one thing in particular to which I am paying attention in Yankee camp.

This is the first full offseason that the new training staff led by Eric Cressey has had to work with the players. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last two seasons, numerous Yankees have struggled with persistent soft tissue injuries and under-performance. I am looking for signs that changes made to the offseason training program have had tangible effects to on-field performance and durability. This time of year is fraught with “Best Shape Of Their Life,” stories, but I think it is important to note that numerous Yankees look a little different in camp this year. I’ve written a couple of times already about Mike Ford’s body transformation, but Judge, Stanton, Sanchez, Torres, and others have come into camp leaner, with greater offseason focus on flexibility and balance. By both the eye test and metrics, I want to see that the tools that make these guys such incredible talents remain intact during the Spring (by looking at things like exit velocity readings, mechanics at the plate and in the field, etc.), and I want to see if additional mobility gained through offseason workouts actually manifests itself in actions on the field in the cases of Sanchez and Torres.

Before really seeing a lot of action, I will say that I am cautiously optimistic that good things are coming this year.

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