New York Yankees: What’re The “X” Factors For The Second Half Of The Season?

New York Yankees. Aaron Boone

The All-Star break has just come to an end and it’s time for evaluations and adjustments for the New York Yankees as we enter into the second portion of the season. Some will be preparing for the stretch drive, while others fall back having their eyes on next year. Buy or sell?

Who will make the precise move for the New York Yankees?

Many hours are spent trying to improve the team. But regardless of input, no one can prepare for “X” Factors.

X Factors are invisible, unknown forces. They can be positive or negative, the negative ones are those that cause our fingers to be crossed throughout the year until the final out is recorded. Here are a few:

  • Team Chemistry… We should be O.K. with this one. Big names with bigger egos have been replaced with “blue collar” workers. CC and Gardner provide a strong veteran presence, along with Judge and Stanton—the dynamic duo. Didi is father to the latin youngsters and seems to be the veteran now. The “Big 3” (Robertson, Betances, and Chapman) are solid, with Hicks and Walker leading the support group. This mixture blends well.
  • Player Performance… always a concern because of the city. Many good players have buckled under the pressure of the Big Apple. Sonny Gray, for instance, is having a miserable time wearing the pinstripes. I´m certain management take into accout “make-up” before trades or drafts, but even so, it´s not a guarantee. Performing under the bright lights on Broadway is no easy task. Granted, you must have a special talent, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little luck.
  • Injuries… The Big One! There is nothing more deflating than an injury to a key player. Currently, we have some minor problems, but thanks to our depth, momentum continues in the right direction. Let´s look at some potential catastrophies…
  • Gary Sanchez´s groin injury lingers. The injury is not that simple, especially for a catcher—crouching; blocking; shifting inside/outside; springing up to throw; fielding a bunt; chasing a wild pitch… His defense can be replaced, but not his bat in the middle of the lineup.
  • Something happens to Didi… The unnamed captain is our rock. Day in and day out, he is there. His absence would be a severe psychological blow.
  • Judge; Giancarlo; or both get nipped… Total Disaster!
  • Chapman goes down…we probably could close by comittee, but it´s not the same as seeing Aroldis come out that door in right field.

      (4) The manager… How Aaron performs under the gun is a mystery. He is one of the many who have started their careers without any previous managerial experience. When logic meets intuition during a play-off or World Series game, anything can happen as the stress intensifies. Will it be:

  • “bone head strategy”
  • Blank stare
  • Computer makes the call
  • Player makes the call
  • Creative genius
  • Cool, calm, collective

There´s no way of knowing. What we do know is that he is human. So, impatiently, we wait.

X factors are horrible! They are your worst nightmare—unable to sleep in the dark. Hopefully, we are able to make it the rest of the way without them. Not now, not ever!