Last year many baseball writers and analysts projected the Yankees to finish 3rd in the AL East with a .500 record. In the spring Cashman even made a comment about how 2017 was a transition year. Then the season started and they came storming out of the gate. The pitching staff was better than expected, and even when they had rough starts the offense still helped propel them to wins.
Aaron Judge was one of the main guys to lead that charge while breaking records and having one of the best rookie seasons in baseball history. Judge won the 2017 homerun derby as a rookie and set the MLB rookie homerun record. He also won the AL Rookie of the Year easily. Judge finished the season with 155 games under his belt and 678 plate appearances (542 at bats). The season ended and he had a .284 batting avg, with 154 hits, 114 RBIs, 52 homeruns, .357 BABIP, .422 OBP, .627 SLG, 1.049 OPS, and a 173 +.
In addition to Judge there were many other young Yankees with the fire in their eyes. Sanchez had a solid season, and of course guys like Didi, Gardner, and Bird (when healthy) were important factors.
Didi has become one of the best, and most underrated shortstops in the game. He also had some added power last season, which we will most likely see again with all of the other bars that will be around him in the lineup. Bird has a swing built for Yankee stadium, and if he stays healthy should be a 30 HR guy. Gardner is a Yankee to the core, and a leader in the clubhouse. He is just a gritty hustler who leaves it all on the field every game.
Aaron Hicks had a solid half season when he was healthy, but his health is still the main concern many fans have. In the 88 games he was healthy for last year he had 361 plate appearances (301 at bats) with a batting avg of .266. He had 80 hits (47 singles, 18 doubles, 15 homeruns), he scored 54 runs with 52 RBIs and 51 walks. His OBP was .372, BABIP was .290, .475 SLG, 127 wRC+, and an .847 OPS.
The Yankees did lose a couple of key guys like Starlin Castro (Marlins) and Chase Headley (Padres), but they have prospects ready to step up with Tyler Wade, top prospect Gleyber Torres (who many fans are excited about), and then they have Miguel Andujar who is just about ready.
The off season has been a good one for the Yankees as well since they made a huge splash by trading for NL homerun leader and MVP Giancarlo Stanton.
In terms of pitching they are bringing back the same staff, and last year were top 5 in the league with their starting rotation, and they had the best bullpen in baseball. There are also some young arms in the minors that are hungry and major league ready, especially Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield.
There is still the possibility that Cashman will make an additional move or two, including a possible bridge at 3rd if they are still unsure if Andujar is ready. There were talks about bringing Todd Frazier back, but he wants a longer deal than the Yankees are likely to give. The same goes for Moustakas whose name has come up in rumors. Overall they are pretty well rounded, and they have an option for 3rd base on the current roster with Torreyes as well.
This biggest question mark right now is the new coaching staff with Aaron Boone as the skipper. Larry Rothschild is the only member of the coaching staff that will be back, and he will be a great mentor to help Boone through his first season as a manager since Larry has past management experience.
This team is ready to go on a tear, and in many ways is similar to the mid 90s Yankees where fans knew something special was brewing. The anticipation for the upcoming season is through the roof and fans are anxiously waiting for spring training. Hopefully in the coming years we see multiple championships!
Rays Recall Austin Meadows
In addition to Meadows, right handers Austin Pruitt and Chih-Wei Hu, along with lefty Hoby Milner, will be joining the big league roster.
Meadows, 23, posted a .292/.327/.468 line over 165 plate appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this season, prior to being sent over in exchange for starting pitcher Chris Archer.
Orioles’ Adam Jones Discusses Vetoed Trade, Free Agency
Baltimore Orioles veteran outfielder Adam Jones has seen the organization undergo a major rebuild, and have traded away pieces to start from scratch. Jones was expected to be traded but it has been reported that the veteran exercised his 10-and-5 rights to veto a trade that would’ve sent him from Baltimore to the Phillies shortly before the non-waiver trade deadline.
“It just wasn’t right for me” Jones said, during an interview with Sara Perlman of MASNsports.com.
“I was playing center field at the time, and they wanted me to go play right field and platoon. That was the situation there, and it’s understandable. That’s how their roster was constructed, and that’s National League ball — double-switch and all that kind of stuff. … It wasn’t the right move for me, especially going into free agency. I’m not going into free agency looking like I’m [Nolan] Arenado, [Manny] Machado or [Bryce] Harper — obviously not — but I want to continue to create and maintain my stock. Going there to platoon, obviously in a good environment, a winning environment, would’ve hurt me in the long run. If I was 36, 37, a little older and toward the end of it all, of course — that would’ve been a very ideal and smart move, because it’d make sense. … I wish the Phillies the best, because I believe they have a really good team.”
Jones also discussed his pending free agency, adding, “Whoever wants me to run around [in the outfield] for them, whether it’s center, right, left, I could care less. I just want to play.”
Yankees Activate Aaron Judge
Judge has not been cleared to hit in a live game, he will be able to play in the field and run the bases while he finished his preparations for his full return. Although Judge isn’t fully back, this step is welcomed for a Yankees team that his been dreadful at the plate for over a month, and has seen their lead for the top Wild Card spot dwindle.
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