Ah yes, the Yankees. Growing up a Mets fan, I’ve always hated the Yankees, but I cannot deny the power of this Yankees team. So, let me put my Anti-Yankees bias aside and break down the 2020 Bronx Bombers, who I have ranked as the second best team heading into the 2020 season.
The Yankees made a major splash in the offseason, signing former Astro and last year’s Cy Young runner-up Gerrit Cole to the richest deal for a pitcher in MLB history. Cole will lead a Yankees rotation with more than a few question marks. Luis Severino is out for the year following Tommy John surgery, which is a huge loss for this rotation. James Paxton has been hit or miss with the Yankees and he has battled arm injuries since he was acquired from the Mariners. Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line drive last week and is uncertain for Opening Day. One guy that could turn heads though is Jordan Montgomery. Montgomery was actually sent to the minor league complex for opening day but manager Aaron Boone confirmed yesterday that Montgomery will start the sixth game of the season for the Bombers. Montgomery pitched in an exhibition game last weekend against Mets and I had a front row seat to watch him shove. He scattered two hits and a walk while striking out six Mets in five shutout innings. He had good command of his fastball which set up his curveball very well. If Montgomery can repeat that success and find his 2017 form, he could be a valuable asset for the Yankees in this 60 game sprint.
The Yankees may have deepest lineup in baseball, held together by All-Stars Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres. DJ LeMahieu had an outstanding first season in pinstripes, highlighted by a fourth place finish in the MVP balloting, but he tested positive for coronavirus and missed some time in the beginning of the summer camp, but he has tested negative twice and returned to the team for the season, although it is unclear if he will be able to play tonight on Opening Day. There may not be any team that benefited more from the quarantine than the Yankees. Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks would have likely missed opening day with injuries but now they’re healed up and ready to play. The biggest question mark in the lineup is clearly 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton missed most of 2019 due to various injuries and would have started the season on the injured list had it started on time. Stanton used the time in quarantine to heal and get ready to play in the shortened season. So far, he hasn’t had any issues. If he can stay healthy, he is a huge bat in the middle of the order.
The Yankees farm system is a bit underrated in my book, as Bleacher Report ranked them number 20 in baseball. With the Yankees AAA team only 15 minutes from Marywood, I’ve been able to see a lot of these guys play in person. There are two guys I’m going to highlight and we’ll start with one of the guys I haven’t gotten to see mostly since he hasn’t played a professional game yet, and that is the top international agent from last season, Jasson Dominguez. The 17-year-old Dominguez, yes I said 17, has drawn athletic comparisons to Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout. Those names should give you some indication of how good this teenager is. He has incredible bat speed and natural power. His power numbers will continue to develop as he fills out his body, but he already is expected to be a 30-30 guy with above average speed as well. Expect Dominguez to patrol the outfield in the Bronx sometime around the 2024 season, barring an incredibly fast development.
The other prospect I want to talk about is Devi Garcia. His 5.40 ERA with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders last season isn’t that good but let me tell you, he is going to be really good. I saw him pitch last season twice and while he got hit around a bit, his stuff simply blew me away. Garcia’s fastball sits around 95-97 MPH and his big spin numbers give is extra life up in the zone, making it a very effective out pitch. He developed a good slider in 2019 to add to his plus curveball and solid changeup. The days I saw Garcia, his command was solid, but he faced good lineups who hit good pitches around the yard. What I mean by that is that he was hitting his spots for the most part, but the hitters were recognizing it well and making hard contact. Garcia profiles as likely a number two starter but has ace potential.
If it wasn’t for my number one team, the Yankees would be the best team in baseball. Their roster is so deep with hitters and their bullpen is the best in baseball, even with closer Aroldis Chapman testing positive for COVID-19. They will surely be a World Series contender and a favorite to come out of the American League.
Top Acquisition – Gerrit Cole
Biggest loss – Didi Gregorius
MVP – Aaron Judge
Projected Finish – 1st in AL East
DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Aaron Judge, RF
Gleyber Torres, SS
Giancarlo Stanton, DH
Gary Sanchez, C
Luke Voit, 1B
Aaron Hicks, CF
Brett Gardner, LF
Gio Urshela, 3B
*Tanaka was hit in the head with a line drive last week and his status for the beginning of the season is up in the air.
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