Ryan Boyer

Team Roundups

print article archives RSS

Team Roundup: Yankees

Thursday, November 1, 2018


Follow @Rotoworld_BB and @RyanPBoyer on Twitter.

 

New York Yankees

 

2018 Record: 100-62

Second Place, AL East

Team ERA: 3.78 (10th)

Team OPS: .781 (2nd)

 

What Went Right

 

Under first-year manager Aaron Boone, the Yankees reached the 100-win plateau for the 20th time in franchise history and the first time since 2009. After taking care of the Athletics in the AL Wild Card game, they fell to the eventual World Series champion Red Sox in the ALDS. The Bombers set a major league record with 267 home runs, with Giancarlo Stanton leading the way with 38 bombs to go along with an even 100 RBI. Four other players (Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks and Miguel Andujar) tied for second on the club with 27 dingers. Judge would’ve had plenty more if not for a fractured wrist that cost him most of the final two months of the season, and he led the team with his .919 OPS. Gregorius’ upward power trend continued and he also made fantasy owners happy by chipping in with a career-high 10 steals. Hicks finally stayed healthy for the most part and proved that his half-season breakout in 2017 was no fluke. Andujar started the season in the minors but finished it as an AL Rookie of the Year candidate with a .855 OPS and 92 RBI to accompany his 27 homers. Fellow rookie Gleyber Torres faded in the second half but overall had an excellent freshman campaign with a .820 OPS, 24 home runs and 77 RBI. Luke Voit was acquired in a minor trade and opened eyes down the stretch with a 1.095 OPS and 14 home runs across 39 games. He went through a rough stretch in the second half, but Luis Severino was superb overall again with a 3.39 ERA and 220/46 K/BB ratio over 191 1/3 innings. Hamstring injuries limited him to just 156 frames, but Masahiro Tanaka was strong when healthy with a 3.75 ERA and over a strikeout per inning. J.A. Happ posted a 2.69 ERA and 63/16 K/BB ratio over 63 2/3 innings across 11 starts after being picked up at the trade deadline. A chronic knee issue caused him to miss some time, but Aroldis Chapman was excellent when on the field with a 2.45 ERA and 93 strikeouts over 51 1/3 frames. Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Chad Green and others were also terrific as the Yanks had a dominant bullpen again.

 

What Went Wrong

 

It’s hard to believe that the Yankees broke the home run record considering two guys that they planned to rely on for plenty of power coming into the season ultimately turned in awful showings. Gary Sanchez put together a hideous .186/.291/.406 batting line with 18 homers over just 89 games. He made two trips to the disabled list with a groin ailment. Greg Bird was even worst with a .199/.286/.386 line and 11 dingers across 82 contests. He was barely playing by the end of the season. Brett Gardner was also a disappointment on the offensive side with a lowly .690 OPS, and Jacoby Ellsbury wound up missing the entire season with myriad injuries. Neil Walker began the season as the Opening Day second baseman but finished it as a utility infielder with a .664 OPS. Sonny Gray held a 4.90 ERA in his first full season with the Yankees and by the end of the year was reduced to mop-up reliever duty. General manager Brian Cashman was surprisingly frank after the season about his plans for Gray, saying he’d like to trade the right-hander this winter. Jordan Montgomery was limited to just six starts before having Tommy John surgery in June. Tommy Kahnle’s stuff dropped off considerably after his breakout 2017, as he posted a 6.56 ERA over 24 appearances and spent a large chunk of the season in the minors. Gregorius’ big year ended on a sour note, as he had Tommy John surgery after the season and isn’t expected back until at least June.

 

Fantasy Slants

 

**What will the Yankees ultimately do at first base? Luke Voit surprised the Yanks and the baseball world with a monster final five weeks of the season and, not surprisingly, manager Aaron Boone said the 27-year-old will head into spring training as the starting first baseman. If Voit ultimately is the Opening Day first baseman, he’ll carry fantasy intrigue as part of a loaded lineup in a hitter-friendly home park. However, while Voit has steadily progressed as a hitter in his pro career, he’s never been considered much of a prospect and the team surely isn’t going to place all of their eggs in that basket. One possibility is moving the defensively-challenged Miguel Andujar to first base if the Yankees go after Manny Machado as has been long rumored.

 

**Speaking of Machado, he could also be a solution at shortstop for a while as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery. The club could also move Gleyber Torres over to his natural position to cover for Gregorius and go after a second baseman, which would figure to be much easier to find. How the Yankees ultimately handle their infield situation is something to keep a close eye on, as there will be big fantasy implications.

 

**Gary Sanchez was one of this year’s biggest fantasy busts, as he entered the season ranked as far and away the top-ranked catcher and finished it barely among the top 20 at the weakest position in the game. A rebound in 2019 looks like a good bet, though. Sanchez’s 35.5 percent hard-hit rate in 2018 was just a hair behind his 36.9 percent mark in 2017 and his strikeout rate wasn’t much different (25.1 percent in 2018, 22.9 percent in 2017). However, his average tanked in large part because his BABIP dropped over 100 points (.304 to .197). Sanchez’s flyball rate was also up significantly (42.9 percent in 2018, 36.6 percent in 2017). Slated to turn 26 in December, Sanchez won’t cost nearly as much in fantasy drafts next spring and he still has probably the highest ceiling of anyone at the position.

 

**As already mentioned, the Yankees plan to shop Sonny Gray this winter, with a change of scenery being viewed as the best solution for both parties. Gray just never seemed comfortable pitching at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, this season posting drastic splits at home (6.98 ERA, 45/35 K/BB ratio over 59 1/3 innings) versus on the road (3.17 ERA, 78/22 K/BB ratio over 71 innings). If Gray lands in a more pitcher-friendly venue over the offseason, particularly if it’s in the National League, he could be in line for a nice bounce-back showing at a dirt-cheap cost in fantasy leagues. The veteran right-hander’s velocity was better than ever in 2018 and his 21.1 percent strikeout rate was the second-base mark of his career.

 

**The Yankees have a few young starting pitchers with the potential to break through in 2019. Domingo German’s 2018 season was uneven but contained plenty of highs, from throwing six no-hit innings in his first major league start to finishing with 102 strikeouts over 85 2/3 frames. Jonathan Loaisiga has had a terrible time staying healthy in his pro career and dealt with shoulder issues this season, but his stuff certainly passed the eye test and he fanned 33 batters across 24 2/3 innings during his time with the big club. Justus Sheffield has pitched the least of the three in the majors but is arguably the most polished and best prospect. The southpaw held a 2.48 ERA and 123/50 K/BB ratio over 116 innings between Double- and Triple-A this season. German is the only one of these three guaranteed to make the Opening Day roster since he’s out of options, and it’s possible he starts the year in the bullpen depending on how the Yanks address their rotation. Still, there’s loads of potential with all three and their situations are worth tracking.

 

Key Free Agents: Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia, David Robertson, Zach Britton, Lance Lynn

 

Team Needs: Some viewed it as inevitable that the Yankees would sign Manny Machado back before Miguel Andujar’s breakout rookie season. Machado could still be a target given Andujar’s shaky defense and Didi Gregorius’ (elbow) injury. They have multiple avenues they could take in regards to their infield. The Bombers figure to bring in at least one notable starting pitcher and they haven’t been shy about building up the bullpen even when it already looks like a strength.



Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.
Email :Ryan Boyer



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Nicole: Trade Targets

    Nicole: Trade Targets
  •  
    NBA Waiver Picks

    NBA Waiver Picks
  •  
    Dose: Chubb leads Browns

    Dose: Chubb leads Browns
  •  
    Player News: Week 10

    Player News: Week 10
  •  
    Matchups: Johnson, MVS

    Matchups: Johnson, MVS
  •  
    DFS Analysis: Jones, Johnson

    DFS Analysis: Jones, Johnson
  •  
    NASCAR: 500K Phoenix

    NASCAR: 500K Phoenix
  •  
    Dose: Michel to Return

    Dose: Michel to Return