February 7, 2023
This week we asked our writers to...
Pick two or three Yankees and share what you hope they might realistically accomplish in 2023
Here are their replies:
Ed Botti - Where do I begin? I believe this team has holes and weaknesses, many of which were not address over the off season. To answer this question, I reflected back on what drove me crazy in 2022.
Aaron Boone – What I would hope to see Aaron Boone accomplish in 2023 is to start managing games using his intuition, feel, and experience, which he has an immense amount of. Statistics and analytics are great, but at some point in time an experienced leader needs to know when and how to push the buttons that motivate, challenge and inspire his people to perform, not just plug a name into data base and see what pours out.
Clay Holmes- Holmes’ finish to 2021 and his first half of 2022 cannot be simply be because the league was trying to get used to him and figure him out. He was downright nasty and dominant. I do not see it as a fluke, there must have been something seriously wrong with his shoulder towards the later part of 2022, despite he and his manager and GM stating otherwise . I am hoping to see him regain that form and put an end to the 9th inning stress he inflicted on all of the Yankee Universe at the end of 2022.
Gleyber Torres- I would hope to see Gleyber Torres mature a bit in 2023. Watching nearly every inning he has played since his call up to MLB, I see a player that has gotten a little too comfortable and lackadaisical in his on field approach. I need to see more urgency and focus in his game. Sometimes he plays as if he is a rookie. It is time for him to grow up and play the game the right way.
Overall, teamwise, I am hoping to see more fundamentally sound play regardless of the score or inning. If this team is in a position to add an influx of younger players (we all know the names), I would hope that the leaders (Boone and new Captain Judge) teach them the Yankee way of playing baseball, and not to be distracted by outside noise such as Social Media. Instead of Boone showing his team the 2004 ALCS highlights to inspire them (dumbest thing I may have ever seen in sports), I would rather he show them August and September 1978 highlights. To show them and teach them the value of never giving up and never accepting loss. To show them what it means to play hurt or injured. To show them that even if they may not all get along outside the lines, but that between the lines they are all pulling in the same direction with one single goal.
Actually, all he needs to show them is a highlight reel of Derek Jeter’s career!! If that doesn’t do it, nothing will!
Ethan Semendinger - The New York Yankees, as they are currently constructed, should be able to make a name for themselves in the regular season of 2023. Especially if these three players can hit these marks for the 2023 season:
Gerrit Cole: 20-6 Record, 3.25 ERA, 190 Innings Pitched, 240 Strikeouts, 1.125 WHIP, All-Star Appearance, Top-8 AL Cy Young
Carlos Rodon: 17-8 Record, 3.05 ERA, 175 Innings Pitched, 220 Strikeouts, 1.050 WHIP, All-Star Appearance, Top-6 AL Cy Young
Nestor Cortes Jr: 15-5 Record, 3.40 ERA, 155 Innings Pitched, 170 Strikeouts, 1.000 WHIP, All-Star Appearance, Top-10 AL Cy Young
The New York Yankees will only be good in 2023 if the starting pitching holds up and continues to be the hallmark part of the team. Last season, the rotation went largely unnoticed behind Cole’s setting a new Yankees record for strikeouts and Cortes’ antics on the mound. This was largely due to Aaron Judge taking the limelight from what was doing at the plate (for good reason). However, it would be wrong to ignore how the Yankees had 4-5 starting pitchers at the All-Star break who had a legitimate case for inclusion. After Cole and Cortes, the Yankees were getting great seasons (at the time) out of Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon, and Luis Severino. After Severino went down, Taillon stopped producing, and Montgomery was traded, the Yankees started to falter. The offense was a huge star as well, but the great starting pitching was the oil that kept the machine running well.
I believe the Yankees are going to find that Carlos Rodon is their true ace in 2023. He has shifted his pitching focus to be able to beat the numbers I put forward, but I also wanted to be a bit on the safe side for his first year in pinstripes. Gerrit Cole should be able to improve on last year's numbers with the extra top-end help being provided elsewhere in the rotation. Nestor Cortes should continue to shine for the same reasons as a #2 in the #3 role. All of these pitchers have the abilities and track records to hit the numbers above. All three of them can compete for top finishes in the American League Cy Young in 2023. All should be able to. And, it is also almost necessary for them to do so if the Yankees want to continue their winning ways.
1) I hope that if the Yankees feel that Anthony Volpe is the real deal that they plug him in at shortstop and just let him play. If he's who they believe is the best player there long-term, they shouldn't move him around. Plug him in and if he is the player the Yankees envision him to be, we can next worry about shortstop around 2043.
2) I see Josh Donaldson having a bounce-back year, to an extent at least. I'll go out, way out, on a limb and give him a .250/25/80 season. (This might just be the wishful thinking that comes with the eve of Spring Training.)
3) Anthony Rizzo has his last really good year. Rizzo finds his younger years and bats .275/35/90. (Why not?)
Lincoln Mitchell - This is a tough question because it involves thinking about not only what a player can do, but how they will be used. It also is not interesting unless some risks are taken. For example, I think Anthony Volpe or Oswaldo Peraza could establish themselves as either a contributor at the plate at the big league level (Volpe) or a solid fielding big league shortstop who is league average or so with the bat (Peraza), but I am not entirely confident either will get the playing time to do that. Similarly, I believe Kyle Higashioka will prove that he is a solid big league backup catcher, but that is just not that interesting. So, with that in mind here are some more interesting responses. First, I believe while Carlos Rodon will not be quite as good as we was last year, he will have a solid year and help give the Yankees one of the best starting rotations in baseball. Second, Aaron Judge will not equal his 2022 season, but will be healthy and productive enough to finish with at least six WAR and be one of the best players in the league again. Lastly, Josh Donaldson will be the starting third baseman most of the year. He will field the position well and have a OPS+ in the 100-110 range, thus contributing quite a bit at the hot corner.
Andy Singer - I don't want to give too much away, as I'm sure we'll do some deeper projections posts when we get to Spring Training, but here are a few predictions:
Anthony Volpe will be the Opening Day shortstop for the New York Yankees and he will contend for the Rookie of the Year award. He'll have the usual rookie bumps, but I think he'll play solid defense, steal 35+ bases, and swat 15-20 homers. By the end of the year, he'll be a key cog in the Yankees offensive machine.
I consider 2023 to be "Year 2" of Gleyber Torres' offensive rebuild. Last season, Torres hit the ball harder more consistently and began to go to the opposite field in the air again, which was so key to his offensive success early in his career. He did have some lapses which led to a pull-happy approach, but he had 2 years of bad habits to unlearn. I think he can come full circle in 2023 and be the guy he was in 2018 and 2019.
I think that Luis Severino will throw 160 innings in the regular season, producing statistics in-line with the league's best. He will have his innings managed to some extent, but he'll be ready to go during the playoffs.