The 2019 baseball season is finally here. It felt like opening day would never arrive… But we made it. And now… For the Yankees and their fans it’s time for another chase of number 28.
This team won 100 games last season, beat the A’s in the Wild Card Game but then went on to lose to their hated rival and eventual World Series Champion Boston Red Sox in the ALDS.
The team is loaded with firepower and stars, including a bullpen which could end up being the best in baseball. However, they will still be competing with the reigning World Series Champs who haven’t seemed to miss a beat.
Lets walk through my preview and some predictions for the 2019 New York Yankees. (I am not predicting World Series outcome.)
Yankees biggest strengths:
1. The Bullpen. Like I said earlier this bullpen could be one of the best in baseball. They have flamethrower after flamethrower and guys have that done it in October. The pen is still anchored by the Cuban Missile, Chapman and set up man Dellin Betances. Who can be wild and scary yes, but when he is on he is lights out. They lost Robertson to Philly however they added hometown boy Adam Ottavino who will he rocking the number 0 in pinstripes.
2. Aaron Judge. I believe we are beyond the “let’s see if he’s a flash in the pan” narrative. The dude is a stud. He is the face of this franchise and one of the few big faces of Major League Baseball. He gets it done at the plate and he is extremely underrated as an outfielder. I believe Judge will continue his rise to stardom and help lead this team to achieving their very lofty goals.
Yankees Biggest Weaknesses:
1. Aaron Boone. I hate to do it because I like Boone. But I just don’t know if I trust him. We saw in the playoffs that he just didn’t have that “it” factor when making moves, like Cora had in Boston. I want him to succeed and I want him to be great… I just don’t know if he is capable of it. In this day in age of analytics and bullpen use the managers are more important than ever. Prove me wrong Boone, please.
2. Strikeouts. Yes, they are part of the game now. Especially with big hitters that are trying to deposit the ball into the seats like Judge and Stanton. And yes, this team broke the all time home run record last year, but they just struck out too much. And not only too much, but in huge spots. Especially Stanton. Keeping the bat on his shoulder and just being K’ed in big time spots needs to stop for this team to get done what they want to get done.
Yankees Biggest Question marks:
1. Starting Rotation. Sevy is hurt and we saw what an injury did his season last year. C.C. is 47 years old. Tanaka’s elbow is on borrowed time. Paxton hasn’t pitched in the Bronx before. Happ exploded in Fenway during the playoffs. Now I am not saying they can’t be good and won’t be good. Hell they could have two 20 game winners. I am just saying the “lack of depth” and shakiness of the rotation is concerning to me.
2. Health. This team had a bunch of injuries last year. Yes the Judge one was a fluke, but Hicks is always hurt… And starting the season hurt. Sanchez was banged up all season, Sevy was injured. Bird never seems to make it to June. Didi is coming off Tommy John. Healthy this team is amazing, but throw in some big injuries and the whole season could be derailed.
Player to watch:
James Paxton. I loved this trade and I think if he stays healthy he could be close to a 20 game winner for this team. He is built for this Bronx and I don’t think the pressure will he to him like Sonny Gray. I can’t wait to watch him pitch and become a fan favorite.
Key to success in 2019:
The most important thing for this team to do this year is win the games they are supposed to win. Beat the O’s, beat the Jays, beat the Royals. Last year the O’s were the worst team in baseball and it seemed the Yanks just never beat them. Take advantage of the early “easy” schedule, win the games you are supposed to and get off to a hot start and ride that all season.
Greg Bird holds on to the first base job all season. He stays healthy and that sweet swing of his does damage all year long. Bird is a guy Yankee fans have been frustrated with but continue to root for because they know how talented he is and how good he could be for this team. I believe Luke Voit will help fill in off days and DH with Stanton.
The Bronx Faithful. We have seen what the Bronx has been like again in the playoffs. The “new stadium” felt like the “old stadium” again and it was amazing. We need the fans to be crazy all season long. Fill that ballpark and intimidate opposing pitchers and batters all year, like no other fan base can do.
Final Season Record:
99-63. I think both the Yanks and Sox take a “step back” from both being over 100 wins last season. I feel like once again they both make the playoffs. With the Sox winning the division with 102 wins and the Yanks right on their heels.
Yanks fans don’t rip me for this I am just trying to be realistic. Do I think they can win over 100 games and win the division? Absolutely. Maybe I am just being pessimistic and hope to be pleasantly surprised.
Either way it is going to be another special season in the Bronx. The Yanks are a fun team and it’s going to be a blast cheering them on all season long. Especially if it’s a close race with Boston from March to October!