The Tuesday Discussion: World Series 2022?
August 16, 2022
This week we asked our writers:
Do you believe the 2022 Yankees are going to the World Series?
Here are their responses:
James Vlietstra - Baseball Reference lists the Yankees odds to win the American League pennant at 43.2%. Of winning the World Series, at 24.9%.
For all the whining and complaining that we read about on a daily basis, the Yankees have put themselves in a very good position. Even though they are in a prolonged slump, the big picture is still bright.
On offense, two of their top five OPS+ producers are currently injured, but are expected to be back. Injured pitchers expected to return include Ridings, Severino, and Britton.
A big lead, should allow them plenty of rest for those that need it and a return to health for the others should allow them to be complete for the first time in months. But once they are in October, the old cliché is in effect: In a short series, any team can win. Hot pitching wins.
Cole, Montas, Taillon, and German. These four starters are the key to winning their three series. My confidence level is higher in the latter two than the former two. And that’s where the problem lies. If the Yankees are to have a shot at their 28th championship, their $36M Ace and trade deadline acquisition need to step up big.
Paul Semendinger - No. I wish I could say otherwise, but... no. I have not seen, in Aaron Boone, a manager that has been able to find ways to get his team to win. When the players are doing well, he looks great, but when the Yankees need a little something, he looks perplexed and he blows bubbles. It's just not an inspiring look. In the playoffs, the team needs a quick thinker, a person who can solve problems quickly and innovatively. I think the Yankees make a plan before a game and then just work with that plan. When new contingencies come up, they are slow to adapt.
The Yankees are counting on a lot of players becoming healthy and performing. This includes Luis Severino, Harrison Bader, and Giancarlo Stanton. I'm not convinced they will be healthy, or, if they are, that they will be ready to perform at peak value.
Gerrit Cole has not been the big time ace in the big games. If he's not great, the Yankees will find themselves down 1-0 in each series. They don't have a super great starting rotation or bullpen that inspires confidence that they can keep coming back.
The Yankees have been a bad team since June 30. They haven't been mediocre. They've been bad. They have shown me no reason to believe they will be able to just turn it on in late September for the playoffs. Sadly, I see an early exit from the post season.
Chris O'Connor - Sure! The nature of the baseball playoffs, particularly with the expanded format, is that anyone can win it all if they get hot at the right time. I always thought the 2021 Yankees had a shot and, before you call me crazy, consider this: they won 92 games while the eventual World Series-winning Braves won 88 games in a far easier division. Is this long funk that the team is in concerning? Of course. But the Yankees have a 10-game division lead and are just 2.5 games back of the Astros for home-field advantage through the American league playoffs. They should get Giancarlo Stanton, Harrison Bader, and Matt Carpenter back in time for the playoffs. The bullpen depth is concerning, but the rotation, despite its recent struggles, has the highest ceiling of any that the Yankees have had in their window of contention (2017 onward). I refuse to believe that a 72-43 team that is all but a lock to not only win their division, but also secure a first-round bye, is doomed in the playoffs. I absolutely believe that the 2022 Yankees can win the World Series.
Tim Kabel - As I am writing this, I am watching Aaron Hicks twirl around in centerfield as the ball goes over his head. He looks like Julie Andrews in the “Sound of Music”. Before that, I saw Isiah Kiner-Falefa boot an easy ground ball. At one point, the Yankees had the best record in baseball. Now they are 20-25 in their last 45 games. That’s essentially a quarter of the season. That is not a correction. That is not a rough patch. That is a long stretch of ineptitude.
Based on that, dreadful managerial decisions, and the roster construction, I do not believe the Yankees will be in the World Series. If they continue to play the way they have been lately, they will be bounced in their first round of playoffs. This is a sad turnaround for this team. This is very difficult to watch and it is especially frustrating when you consider the tremendous start the team had to the season. This is not a World Series caliber team.
Mike Whiteman - I predicted the Yankees would be a World Series winner back in the Spring, and I'm not changing my mind now. I think they will get healthier and some of the good fortune that visited the team in the first half will return come the postseason.
My shocker prediction - the Yankees will beat Seattle in the ALCS. The M's will be exhausted coming off an epic upset of Houston in the ALDS.
You heard it here first.
Ed Botti - As of 8/15/22 the Yankees have a 72-43 record and a 10 game lead over Toronto. Much of that record was built on the backs a very successful first half. The Houston Astros (most people’s choice as the eventual ALCS opponent) have passed the Yankees and are in position to secure home field advantage, as it stands today.
Much has been written and spoken about the Yankees recent slump due to injuries, sloppy baseball, bad base running, questionable in game managing decisions and the closer situation (of course you can throw into that trading a solid lefty starter for an injured 4th outfielder).
I believe the Yankees will right the ship to a certain degree and break out of this terrible slump. Remember: in Baseball you are never as good as look when you are winning or as bad as you look when you are losing.
Home field advantage in baseball is much different than any other sport, and the primary reason why is momentum. In baseball, momentum is set by your next day’s Starting Pitcher.
If we project the Yankees getting into the ALCS (that is no guarantee) and their opponent is in fact the Astros, in all likelihood we will see a game 1, 4 and 7 match up (if it goes that far) of Cole vs. Verlander. That can change based on how the games unfold. If one team is up by 2 games, a 4th starter may come into play. Remember in 2009 The Yankees only used 3 starters.
I am not very confident that Cole can best Verlander in two of the three matchups, especially in a potential Game 7 on the road. I just have not seen him rise to that occasion very often.
Many seem to forget that in bottom of the first inning in Game 3 of the 2019 ALCS, Cole wiggled out of a big time Yankee threat. They actually had him on the ropes but Gardner and Encarnación failed with 2 on and Didi left the bases loaded and they let him off the hook. They had more traffic on the bases in the 2nd, 4th and 5th innings, but (in my opinion) their launch angle approach killed them. Houston does not take that approach.
Since the hitting on this team is too one dimensional (for me, at least) for this Yankee team to advance to the World Series for the first time since 2009, it will have to be on the backs of Cole, Montas, Cortes, Chapman and take your pick of the 5th major contributing pitcher. Marinaccio, Holmes, Loáisiga, Brittan, or even Severino (two wild cards).
Does that give you a lot of optimism? Who knows, they certainly have it in them.
Cary Greene - This year's Yankees have been either really good, or really bad. Since July 1st, we've been seeing a totally different Yankees team. On the surface, the offense misses Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Carpenter a lot. Somehow, Tim Locastro and Miguel Andujar just don't cut it.
However, the real problem is that the Yankees miss their bridge relievers like Mike King and they miss having a lock down closer like Holmes was, for June. The bullpen can't hold a lead and it's only a matter of time before Chapman is reinstated to the closer role and that may be a good move at this point, but it also comes with risk. Perhaps the best course of strategy for Aaron Boone and the Yankees is to use Holmes less right now and focus on piecing together the 7th and 8th innings with Peralta and company.
Right now, the Yankees are a half-opened bottle of Pepsi that someone didn't screw the lid back on tightly enough after it was opened. The fizz has gone out of them completely. Clearly the Yankees whole strategy is to get healthy and then try to recapture their former June glory.
Few teams in the AL East, besides the Red Sox, are capable of sustained bursts of phenomenal baseball. The AL East is a scrum right now and I expect things to remain that way in the playoffs. Working in the Yankees favor is a first round bye and if they can get that, which is far from a given with the way this team has been playing since July 1st - a .421 clip, 6 games below .500 - they may be able to catch a break in the form of some extra rest.
They'll use the bye to rest a bit and then, they'll move forward into their first playoffs series. I think it's highly likely that the Yankees will face the Mariners in the first round of the playoffs and if that happens, the Yankees would be in a whole heap of trouble against their pitching staff. It's too early to project that though because teams are jockeying for the advantage of playing the Yankees (instead of having to face the superior Astros). The Blue Jays, Guardians, Rays and Orioles all have potential paths that may lead to the Bronx.
Once we get a better idea of the playoffs seedings, then we'll be able to project things more clearly. For now, the Yankee offense has slowed up considerably and simultaneously, the pitching has dropped off - mostly due to the bullpen's implosion. One reassuring thing that is happening on the pitching front for the Yankees is that the rotation seems to be stabilizing. Consistent starting pitching can help the Yankees but not if they can't hold a lead.
All of this has all the makings for a window-closing first-round playoffs exit for the Yankees. The stars are not aligned for a deep Yankees run, there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency any more. The Yankees seem to be in stasis, they've become inconsistent, their offense is a shell of what it was and the pitching is now simply decent, not a real problem for above average offenses. I'm not sure existing on life support for a month is going to help the Yankees get hot again.
This makes the Yankees vulnerable in two ways now. Playoff opponents can either score in clumps against the Yankees or they can shut them down by holding them to only a couple of hits. The Yankees' relentlessness has evaporated in the summer heat.
It all adds up to me being forced to conclude that the 2022 Yankees have no chance at winning a World Series, much less making it to one. I think it's unlikely they can even get past the Division series, but surely the Astros would man-handle the Yankees by shutting them down. I'm no longer very high on the Yankees. The illusion they once were has worn off and I see them as a flawed team presently.
Could Britton come back and help? Could Chapman regain his ability to close? Could Carpenter return and be the player he was only a month ago? Will Stanton come back and be effective? Can Bader get healthy? Will Severino return and be himself? Can Holmes get his control back? There are tons of question marks with this team. It would take a lot for several yes answers to materialize.