Yankees: 3 huge storylines developing over the final month of the regular season

mlb: new york yankees at houston astros, jasson dominguez
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Even if the New York Yankees are skating on thin ice when it comes to making the playoffs, now’s not the time to tune out. In fact, it’s the perfect time to tune in. The stage is set for strategizing the 2024 season, and there are compelling reasons to keep your eyes glued to the Yankees. Here are the top three storylines to track for the rest of the 2023 season.

1. The Meteoric Rise of Jasson Domínguez

Before we dive into the numbers, remember two crucial things about Jasson Domínguez. First, he’s just 20 years old, and second, he was playing in Single-A just last year. That makes his ascension to the MLB even more noteworthy, especially considering he hit two home runs in his first three games—against the Houston Astros, no less.

However, Domínguez still has areas for improvement if he’s going to lock in long-term success. Case in point: his strikeout rate. While in Double-A, he had a 25.6% strikeout rate over 507 plate appearances. His Triple-A and MLB marks—8.1% and 15.4%—are better, but these have come in smaller sample sizes.

The Yankees see in Domínguez, a versatile player who could potentially secure the center field position for 2024. A strong showing for the remainder of the 2023 season could make that a reality.

2. Austin Wells: The Yankees’ Future Catcher?

Austin Wells has the chops to be the Yankees’ future catcher, at least offensively. His batting potential suggests he could consistently notch a .240/.330/.450 line with around 20 home runs a year—a striking upgrade for a position that hasn’t seen offensive prowess since Gary Sánchez.

The real question mark with Wells is his defensive capability. Although first base could be an alternative for him, the offensive expectations there are much steeper. If he’s going to be a star catcher, he’ll need to hold his ground defensively. While his blocking and footwork have seen improvements, arm strength remains an area of concern. However, stellar game-calling could make up for these shortcomings. Notably, Wells has already garnered positive feedback from the Yankees’ catching coordinator, Tanner Swanson.

Keep a close eye on Wells for the remaining games of 2023; his progress could very well set the course for the Yankees’ 2024 season strategy.

3. The Consistency Question: Everson Pereira

Everson Pereira posted a 144 wRC+ and ten home runs in Double-A, prompting a promotion to Triple-A, where he managed eight more homers and a 131 wRC+. Such performance earned him a spot in the MLB. However, his time in the majors hasn’t been smooth sailing: with a paltry .130/.216/.174 slash line and a 13 wRC+ over 51 plate appearances, he’s been underwhelming, to say the least.

Is he struggling to adapt to MLB-level pitching, or is it just a matter of nerves? Regardless, the Yankees are committed to giving him regular playing time. They understand that letting him navigate through these challenges could have a long-term payoff. Pereira will need to find some level of consistency to secure a role in the Yankees’ 2024 game plan, and he certainly has the talent to do so.

In summary, while the Yankees might not be postseason-bound, the rest of 2023 is critical for shaping the future. From potential breakout stars to key developmental milestones, there’s still plenty of baseball drama to enjoy. Keep watching—you won’t want to miss how these storylines unfold.

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