The 2023 season is underway for the New York Yankees, securing a 5-0 win on Opening Day. Despite a few key injuries, there is optimism surrounding this team, and the feeling is that if they can get most of their injured players back at some point, they can very much compete.
However, some players need to outperform expectations to take down the Houston Astros and the rest of the American League powerhouses. There needs to be a shocking, utterly unexpected performance or three.
With that in mind, here are some bold predictions for the Yankees season.
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Bold predictions for the Yankees’ 2023 campaign
5) Anthony Volpe will hit 20 home runs and steal 30 bases
Are we really saying that Volpe will have the Bobby Witt Jr. season in his debut year? Yes, we are! The Yankees’ top prospect won the shortstop job in spring training with an incredible performance and is ready to shine.
The batting average and OBP might not be stellar in his rookie season, but we do know that Volpe will run (83 stolen bases in the minors in the last two years) and has some good pop (48 homers between 2021 and 2022).
If the Yankees get a .250/.320/.460 season with 20 homers and 30 thefts from Volpe, plus passable defense at short, they would be ecstatic, and so would we.
We can’t make any guarantees about the rate stats, but the homers and steals will be there (he already stole one bag on OD).
4) Matt Krook will earn a place in the bullpen as a multi-inning specialist in May
Krook (3.75 ERA, 15 strikeouts in 12 innings) had a nice spring training, and the Yankees only have Wandy Peralta when it comes to left-handers. The 28-year-old career minor leaguer seems tailor-made for a multi-inning relief role that could somewhat hide his control issues and make his excellent stuff play out.
He is good enough to carve out a role in the bullpen, and we are predicting he will.
3) Aaron Judge will hit 60 home runs again
Hitting 62 home runs is extremely tough. However, there is nothing in Judge’s underlying stats that suggests he can’t do it again in 2023.
A whopping 60.9 percent of the balls he hit were at least 95 mph. With a 43.5 percent flyball rate, no wonder why he had so many homers! His home run to fly ball ratio in 2022 was 35.6 percent, right in line with his 2017 season and close to his 32.3 percent career mark. As you can’t see, there is no reason he can’t do it again.
All he needs is health. We are not really expecting him to hit .311 again, but the power is very much real.
2) Gleyber Torres will be traded in April
With a 2.7 fWAR, 24 home runs, and a 115 wRC+ last year, Gleyber Torres proved his worth to the Yankees. He is also a fine defender at second base, which is not the case at shortstop. However, his good performance and youth (he is still 26!) make him a good trade piece.
The Yanks, unfortunately, need starting pitching because they are currently without Frankie Montas, Carlos Rodon, and Luis Severino due to injury. They can’t afford to lose another hurler, and since they have a surplus of infielders, he is likely to be moved… soon.
It’ll be either Torres or Peraza, but the likelihood of both infielders finishing the year in the Bronx is very low.
1) Clarke Schmidt will be an All-Star
Schmidt introduced a new cutter, and it might be all he needs to take the next step in his development. He had a 3.12 ERA last year in 57.2 frames, but mostly as a reliever. He correctly identified that he would need a better fastball (or hard stuff) to succeed as a starter, and he built one over the offseason.
He had a rough 5.03 spring ERA, but his 4/25 BB/K ratio over 19.2 frames is much more encouraging. We are forecasting an All-Star season from Schmidt, and you read it here first.