Can The New York Yankees Trust Luis Severino As Their Ace In 2019?

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees re-signed starting pitcher J.A. Happ to be their ace in 2019, but Luis Severino could bounce back in a big way after a lackluster second-half to the 2018 season.

Severino finished the year with a 3.39 ERA, allowing 19 home runs and striking out 46 batters. The first half of the season for the Yankees youth product was fantastic, but he fell off after the All-Star break. Reports have indicated that the Yankees were “absolutely convinced” Severino was tipping his pitches.

How did they know?

In game 3 of the ALDS, Luis started the game, allowing six runs and seven hits in 3-plus innings. The cameras caught Red Sox players predicting his pitches regularly.

This is purely a fundamental lapse – something that Severino can correct for the future.

Before the All-Star break, he earned an ERA of 2.31 and went 14-2. After, he went 5-6 with a 5.57 ERA. Those number differentials are significant, and it has to indicate a consistent mistake that teams began to notice. I would expect the Yankees to work on hiding hid pitches a bit better and changing his pre-pitch action.

You could raise the argument of a potential injury affecting his velocity, but FanGraphs proves otherwise. On opening day, Severino threw his fastball 97.9 mph, and in his final regular-season start he threw 97.3 mph. This would prove that he was healthy and not fighting through a hidden ailment.

It seems as if the Yankees simply didn’t catch the trend of Sevy tipping his pitches, which is unacceptable. They need to be more aware of his tendencies and provide him with the support he needs to operate at a premier level.

Moving forward, I expect the pitching coaches to focus on hiding his pitches and extracting the most value form Severino. It’s very possible he returns next season in full-form and has a more consistent season.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: How Manny Machado Would Shake Up The Infield

With reports indicating that the New York Yankees will sign superstar free agent Manny Machado early in the New Year, it’s justified to take a look at how the infield will be impacted and who might be moved around.

Right off the bat, we can make the assumption that Machado will fill in at shortstop while Didi Gregorius heals from Tommy John surgery. The former Oriole and Dodgers third-baseman is naturally a SS, which presents the Yankees will an intriguing opportunity to allow their youth to develop but to also utilize Machado to the best of his abilities.

Miguel Andujar being at third-base will surely put a question mark on his future, especially if the Yankees are keen on Machado moving to the position he played in 2018. Otherwise, he could become the everyday SS and remain there after Didi becomes a free agent next winter.

My question is: What would the Yankees do with Andujar?

The second-year pro was a phenom at the plate last season, earning a .297 BA with 27 home runs and a .328 OBP. His productivity in the field was a bit different, as he recorded 15 errors at third-base. Machado is a two-time Gold Glove winner and will surely improve the defense in the infield, and it will ultimately come down to what position the Yankees want to upgrade the most.

Personally, I like the idea of Andujar remaining at third and developing his skills for a second-season at the professional level while Machado takes over at short. This would allow them to continue to factor in their youth star and retain him for the future. Rumors have bubbled to the surface that the Yankees are willing to part ways with Andujar if a starting pitcher is involved. That proposal would be the only one I would genuinely entertain.

What about Didi Gregorius?

The return of Didi will pose a few difficult decisions later in the year. Returning from a significant throwing arm surgery can have lingering effects, which could play a part in the Yanks parting with a clubhouse and fan favorite.

Who Should The New York Yankees’ Leadoff Hitter Be In 2019?

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees have a variety of different decisions they will need to make in 2019, one of which is – who will be the leadoff hitter?

Options include Brett Garnder, who led off in 107 games last season, or Aaron Hicks, who earned 31. Why would Hicks be a good option moving forward? Because he’s a switch hitter, and getting on base for the core of the order — Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and potentially Manny Machado — would allow the Yankees to be more efficient.

Additionally, it’s appropriate to factor in the No.2 hitter, which will undoubtedly be Judge, who recorded 108 games at the spot. He smacked 27 home runs in 2018, despite missing nearly 9 weeks with a fractured wrist. The difference in hitting a solo or two-run homer can ultimately come down to the on-base-percentage of the leadoff hitter in Judge’s case.

Hicks’ OBP was .366 while Gardner’s was .322 last season. This would indicate that Hicks get on base more often and therefore would make the better option to be the leadoff hitter. Another beneficial factor is that he’s a switch hitter, which will give him the advantage over opposing pitchers trying to expose the righty-favored Yankees lineup.

Who else could the New York Yankees use?

Another interesting option could be Clint Frazier, if they choose to utilize him in the starting lineup as an outfielder. He hit leadoff in just one game but had an OBP of .390 with New York in 2018. The sample size for his stats are small – 34 at-bats, yet he seems to attract a solid amount of walks – 5 walks in 34 at-bats. That’s a 15% walk-rate, which is another attractive number when talking about a leadoff hitter.

Gardner, who is arguably one of the most disciplined hitters I’ve ever seen, has had tremendous success making pitchers work and racking up a high pitch-count. Over a larger sample-size, Gardner earned 530 at-bats last season with 65 walks. That’s about a 12.5% walk-rate.

Another factor that must be mentioned is speed. Gardner has the ability to hit a little infield blooper and beat out the throw at third-base. He can also turn a single into a double, etc.

While Hicks offers a higher OBP and switch-hitting ability, I’m convinced Gardner will remain the primary leadoff hitter, with a sprinkle of Hicks. It’s possible manager Aaron Boone chooses to utilize the hot-hand on any given day.

New York Yankees Flashback: The Infamous 2009 Offseason

New York Yankees, Yankees, CC Sabathia

With disappointment running through the New York Yankees clubhouse, front office, and fanbase, following a subpar 2008 season of missing the postseason for the first time since 1993, the Yankees had to make some big splashes in the offseason to contend in the 2009 season. Not to mention, the 2009 season would come with serious expectations, as they were opening the New Yankee Stadium across the street from the old one being torn down.

The very passionate Yankee fan base would be livid and most likely gunning for General Manager Brian Cashman’s and the rest of the front office heads if they didn’t go out and improve the team drastically and compete once again for postseason play. Cashman did announce at the start of the offseason, changes would sure be made.

George “The Boss” Steinbrenner stepped down as main decision maker at the start of the offseason as well, struggling with his health, as he passed control to his youngest son, Hal. The expectations were heavily placed on Hal as he would have a big test in bringing in the right pieces.

The first move the Yankees made to start improving the team was trading infielder Wilson Betemit to the White Sox and receiving Nick Swisher in return, a switch-hitting first baseman and outfielder who would add some more power into the lineup. At the time of this trade, most people around the Yankees, including the fan base and analysts, expected Swisher to go into the season as the starting first baseman.

But at the beginning of the new year, on January 6, 2009, the Yankees signed free agent Mark Teixeria to a massive 8-year, $180 million deal. “Tex” as he had been called by a lot of people around the league, was coming off a 2008 season in which he hit for a .308 average, drove in 121 runs, and hit 33 home runs, splitting time between the Braves and Angels. Teixeria filled the need they had a first base, and earlier in the offseason they also filled their starting pitching need as they signed both CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett to big contracts on December 18th. First base and the rotation were the Yankees biggest needs and they were able to fill them with the three biggest free agents offseason. Andy Pettitte was also resigned to a 1-year contract, to help make the Yankees rotation nearly unstoppable.

The Yankees offseason acquisitions ended up being huge keys to their path to winning their 27th World Series championship. CC Sabathia went 19-8 in the regular season with a 3.37 ERA, and went 3-1 in the Postseason, including winning both games he pitched in the American League Championship Series, leading him to winning the ALCS Most Valuable Player award. AJ Burnett pitched to a 13-9 record in the regular season, but struggled a bit in the postseason with a elevated 4.78 ERA. Burtnett was able to come up with a victory in Game 2 of the World Series over the Phillies.

The Yankees went with a three-man rotation in the postseason, and the Yankees other big pitching signing in the offseason, Andy Pettitte, was the third man. Pettitte had previous postseason success, pitching for the Yankees in their ‘96, ‘98, ‘99, and ‘00 World Series winning seasons. In the 2009 regular season, the member of “The Core Four” piled up 14 victories and 148 strikeouts. Pettitte was huge in the postseason, as he won all four games he pitched in, including two games in the World Series, leading the three-man staff and the team to a World Series victory in six games over Philadelphia. The Yankees other big offseason acquisition, Mark Teixeira, had a huge first season for the Yankees in the regular season and postseason.

He finished the regular season with 39 home runs, 122 RBIs, and a .292 batting average, as he was selected to the All-Star Game, won a gold glove and silver slugger, and finished 2nd in MVP voting to the Twins’ Joe Mauer. Teixeira came up clutch in the postseason, as he hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of game two of the Division Series against the Twins, which sent Yankee Stadium into oblivion. Teixeira drove in eight runs in the postseason overall with two home runs. Nick Swisher, another offseason acquisition, bashed 29 home runs in the regular season, and was a big clubhouse presence, bringing his upbeat and funny personality to help bring the team up.

The Yankees 2009 offseason and 2019 offseason could end being very similar. The Yankees failed to meet high expectations in 2018, as they were a first-round exit, losing to the Red Sox in the ALDS. In the 2009 offseason, they went and signed the three biggest free agents in the market. This offseason, they have been involved with big-name free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, after already trading for pitcher James Paxton and resigning J.A. Happ, to help improve the rotation.

Could the Yankees go a similar route to 2009 and sign one or both big name free agents they have been attached to?

Machado and Harper have both stated they’d prefer the Yankees over other teams, with Machado saying if offers are close, he will pick the Yankees. The difference between this offseason and the 2009 offseason, is it seems as though the Yankees aren’t as willing to throw too much money or years at free agents as they were then. So it seems as though if they are to sign either one or both, it would be because they took a paycut to come to the Yankees. Only time will tell, so now all we do is wait.

The New York Yankees Have One Main Deficiency In The Batting Order

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees will have one of the most intimidating batting lineups in the MLB if they manage to secure the signature of superstar free agent, Manny Machado. The third-baseman would join a group of sluggers that include Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

The three would make for consecutive home run threats, likely hitting out of the 2nd, 3rd, and fourth spots in the batting order. But, there could be one primary concern in regard to the batters – to be more specific, their favored stance.

A look at projected batting order for the New York Yankees:

1.) Brett Gardner

2.) Aaron Judge

3.) Manny Machado

4.) Giancarlo Stanton

5.) Aaron Hicks

6.) Gary Sanchez

7.) Miguel Andujar

8.) Gleyber Torres

9.) Luke Voit

Straight off the bat, you can see that 7 of 9 hitters favor their ‘right’ side. Only Hicks, who is a switch hitter, and Gardner, can hit in the lefty stance. This could be problematic for the Yankees against teams that utilize their pitching rotation strategically. They will likely utilize their right-handed pitchers more frequently against the Yankees.

Despite this logical thought process, some righty hitters seem to perform even better against right-handed pitchers. For example, Judge earned a 2.85 BA with 19 homers against righties, while he hit just .261 with 8 homers against lefties in 2018.

Teams will undoubtedly have a lot of trouble facing this lineup, simply due to the pure power potential and elevated contact efficiency. Having multiple superstars on the same team is often the recipe for success, but we’ve seen teams struggle to find the right balance. The Yankees will need to find a way to utilize Machado, Giancarlo, and Judge at the same time to extract the most runs-per-game.

The Yankees could struggle with…

Consistency. Relying on home runs to score a majority of your runs can exploit weaknesses. The Boston Red Sox utilized pitchers with high strikeout rates to control the ALDS and stifle any hot-streaks. Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez combined for 457 strikeouts last season.

Machado, luckily, is far more disciplined with the bat in his hands. He will offer a stop-gap in the lineup for pitchers that are looking to catch the Yankees’ big-bats swinging.

I expect Machado to be strategically placed in the lineup, offering supports to Judge and Stanton – increasing on-base-percentage between the two sluggers will ultimately help the Yankees score more runs.

New York Yankees Could Strike Deal To Send Sonny Gray To Brewers

The New York Yankees have been trying to unload starting pitch Sonny Gray since the end of the 2018 season, simply because he doesn’t seem to be a fit in New York.

Last season, Gray was dropped from the starting rotation – he was factored in as a relief option but struggled with his control and effectiveness on the mound. In 2018, Gray’s ERA was 3.71, which was 10th best in the American League. He also ranked 9th in WHIP.

Sonny Gray’s ‘home’ VS ‘away’ game with the New York Yankees:

Looking back, you can see that Sonny was much better during ‘away’ games than at home at Yankee Stadium. He had a 3.17 ERA, .226 BAA and 1.15 WHIP during ‘away’ games. The primary reason the Yanks are trying to unload him is because, well, he’s not a good ‘home’ pitcher.

Several teams have inquired about Gray, including Cincinnati, San Diego, Milwaukie, and Oakland.

Some positives that still remain for the pitcher – he’s still young at 29 years-old. He can still be efficient in a less pressurized environment, something that Yankee Stadium doesn’t offer. The Yankees recently traded for James Paxton and resigned J.A. Happ, which constitutes a full rotation.

Looking at Sonny Gray’s change in stats:

Finding a proper suitor for Gray will take some time, but I’m confident a deal will eventually reach the surface. There’s still plenty of value to be extracted from the former Athletic. His strikeout rate increased in the Bronx, despite his ERA being a full-run higher than it was in Oakland (4.51 with NY, 3.42 with the A’s).

The Yankees play in one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the AL, which doesn’t bode well for Gray who seems to have lost his touch with a short right-field fence. Moving to a different ball-park might be the change he needs to regain his old form.

 

 

Reports Indicate Manny Machado Will Sign With New York Yankees

The New York Yankees will reportedly sign superstar free agent Manny Machado, according to Dan Clark.

The Yankees met with Machado for a mere 90-minutes before concluding their gathering, whereas he spent over four-hours with the Phillies.

Machado will unofficially join an infield consisting of Miguel Andujar, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, and Luke Voit/Greg Bird.

He will likely fill in at shortstop while Gregorius heals after Tommy John surgery. It was reported that Machado wanted a deal in the 10-year, $300 million range and that he preferred the Yankees, his boy-hood club. The Bombers must have offered him something close to that number despite stating they wanted to stay under $300 million.

Andujar is now put in a peculiar position, as he’s the everyday third-baseman for the Yankees, where Machado featured in 2018. His natural position is at short, though, which might mean that Didi will be allowed to walk in free agency next winter.

Moving forward, the batting order for the Yankees will be intimidating for any team, especially with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hitting consecutively with Machado.

The announcement is expected to be made in early January, after the New Years celebrations have concluded.

New York Yankees: Judgement Day Looms For Manny Machado

It’s no secret the New York Yankees are pursuing superstar free agent Manny Machado, and for a variety of reasons, him being added to the team makes sense.

While some have expressed their lack of desire to acquire the top talent, primarily due to his past effort and lapses of judgment at times, his presence would be beneficial.

Former Yankee and current free agent pitcher Zach Britton stated that he had a good relationship with Machado on the Baltimore Orioles, even going as far as stating he was a quality teammate and wasn’t a distraction by any means. That’s good to hear, as the red flags surrounding him fall primary around his work ethic and personality.

How would the New York Yankees utilize Manny Machado?

To start, it’s fair to say Machado would start the season at short-stop. Didi Greogius is recovering from Tommy John surgery and it seems he will miss a fair chunk of the 2019 season. The star free agent could fit right in at SS and potentially remain there for the forseable future. Didi is a free agent next winter, which might make him expendable, despite being a clubhouse and fan-favorite.

Nonetheless, the two-time Gold Glove winner is much more than just an above average fielder, he’s also a stellar hitter. In 2018, he slashed .297/.367/.905 – these numbers are MVP caliber, but while Machado didn’t win that particular award, he was an easy choice for the All-Star game.

Moving forward, the Phillies and White Sox are also interested in the third-baseman, but the Yankees hold the advantage being his boy-hood club. If they can come close to the deal he seeks – 10-years, $300 million – his signature will be a lock.

New York Yankees Remain Interested In Quality Veteran Reliever

The New York Yankees are in the market for a new reliever, especially as free agents David Robertson and Zach Britton remain unsigned but are still potential options to re-sign in New York.

A potential relief option for the New York Yankees:

One alternative that has been high on the wish-list for the Yankees is Rockies reliever, Adam Ottovino. The 33-year-old is coming off his best season to date, recording an ERA of 2.43 (2.74 FIP) and 0.99 WHIP. He struck out an impressive 112 batters in 77.2 innings, earning an average of 13.0 per 9 innings.

Ottavino has been one of the more consistent relief options since 2013, despite a rocky (pun intended) 2017, where he finished with a 5.06 ERA and 1.63 WHIP.

It seems as if the lone bad season was a minor blip on the radar, as he returned with a bang in 2018. He’s a solid option for New York, as they will potentially be losing several relievers if they choose to let Britton and Robertson leave in free agency.

Reports have stated that the Yankees still remain the favorite to retain Britton, while several other teams including the Red Sox and White Sox are speaking with Ottavino’s representatives.

Comparing Adam Ottivino to Robertson and Britton:

Ottavino: 2.43 (2.74 FIP) and 0.99 WHIP

Robertson: 3.23 ERA (2.97 FIP) and 1.033 WHIP

Britton: 2.88 ERA (4.08 FIP) and 1.160 WHIP

If the Yankees have the choice of the three, it seems as if Ottavino would be the better option given the Red Sox or White Sox don’t secure his signature first.

 

 

Could New York Yankees Use Gleyber Torres As Glorified Utility Man In 2019?

While the New York Yankees work through several injuries, it’s essential they find a versatile player that can adapt and be utilized in a variety of ways. Starting second-baseman Gleyber Torres fits the bill.
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The second-year pro might be put in a position to play a nice chunk of the 2019 season at shortstop while Didi Gregorius heals from Tommy John surgery. Torres performed well last season,hitting .271 with 24 home runs over 431 at-bats.

The 22-year-old has shown he can be a consistent player in an intimidating Yankees batting order, but his defensive skills have been questioned.It was thought the Yankees might be grooming him to be the shortstop of the future, as that was his position in the minor leagues. He was later moved to second-base and made 12 errors. While at shortstop, he committed 5 errors over 21 games,which prompted the move to second.

Looking at the numbers — 2.9 WAR in 2018 — it’s obvious that Torres had issues with fielding, similar to Miguel Andujar, who at third-base clocked 15 errors. At the ripe young age of 22, Gleyber has plenty of time to improve upon his weaknesses. Instilling faith in the youth player might be something the Yankees would consider,such as putting him back at shortstop until Didi returns.

Alternative options:

The only other legitimate options the Yankees have at shortstop are 24-year-old Tyler Wade and superstar free agent Manny Machado. It seems as if they are leaning towards signing Machado to take over the shortstop position, especially if Didi leaves for free-agency in 2019.