Yankees: 3 bold takes for the 2023 season

frankie montas, yankees
Sep 16, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Frankie Montas (47) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the New York Yankees are making another run at the World Series in 2023, despite falling short courtesy of the Houston Astros in 2022. The Bombers simply refused to hit during the postseason, which put their pitching in a difficult position and exposed a few glaring weaknesses.

Many are concerned that general manager Brian Cashman didn’t do enough to improve the roster offensively, but the team was dealing with a few significant injuries that held them back. Notably, losing Andrew Benintendi, DJ LeMahieu, and having an injured Giancarlo Stanton certainly didn’t help.

However, Benintendi signed a long-term deal with the Chicago White Sox, but the Yankees did manage to retain their superstar slugger, Aaron Judge.

To reach the World Series, though, the Yankees will need far more from every single player, aside from Judge. In fact, they will need a few important variables to swing their way, starting with an improvement in health.

Three bold takes for the Yankees’ 2023 season:

1.) Giancarlo Stanton will stay healthy

First and foremost, Stanton remaining healthy is one of the most important factors on the team. At 33 years old, Stanton played in just 110 games last year, hitting a career-worst .211 with a .297 OBP.

Considering his career average sits at .354, you can see how much of a dip he took due to the calf injury that held him back. He still managed to slug 31 homers and 78 RBIs, most of which came during the first half of the season before the All-Star break.

Stanton did play 139 games in 2021 but fought through a few injuries, hitting 35 homers. The last time he played 150 games was back in 2018 when he smashed 38 homers and 100 RBIs. The Yankees need a version of Stanton that maintains his durability and can string together consistent at-bats without taking long spells on the injured list.

2.) Frankie Montas will be an All-Star

Many are down on Frankie Montas heading into the 2023 season, specifically because he struggled with the Yankees after the deadline. A pitcher of his quality doesn’t go from a 3.18 ERA over 104.2 innings in Oakland to a 6.35 ERA in 39.2 innings with the Yankees. Those numbers are too polarizing to justify anything but the obvious fact that he was dealing with an injury.

Montas projects to log a 3.78 ERA and 8.92 strikeouts per nine across 154 innings, according to his Steamer projections. However, he’s more than capable of dominating with the Bombers, especially given his electrifying sinker and slider combination. He’s more than capable of making the All-Star game with consistency on the mound, but it’s just a matter of his confidence and ability to pitch in Yankee Stadium.

Featuring in Oakland is a far different situation, given the low-leverage nature, but the Yankees are an entirely different beast, so his success is likely determined by his psychological state more than anything else.

3.) Oswaldo Cabrera will hit 20+ homers

The Yankees expect to create a position battle in left field between Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks. That could change if Cashman elects to bring in another competitor, one that isn’t on a minor-league deal.

Cabrera played in 44 games this past season, hitting .247 with a .312 OBP, six homers, and 19 RBIs with a 111 wRC+. Cabrera hit a home run 1.3 times every 10 games, and if he played a full 162-game season, which is unlikely, he would hit approximately 21.6 homers. With that being said, Cabrera projects to feature in 89 games next year, hitting 14 homers, according to his Steamer projections.

However, I believe he will have a far more prominent role, playing 120+ games as a primary utility piece and a potential starter in left field.

I believe he will earn around 500 at-bats, which is plenty to reach 20 homers, a number he’s more than capable of achieving.