2018 New York Yankees Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
The good thing about being GM of the Yankees is that you don't have to be particularly creative. If you see a player you want then you don't have to orchestrate a trade or tweak your budget or find savings elsewhere. You just throw as much money as it takes at the problem and you're done. So, when the reigning NL MVP, who happened to be the best power hitter in all of baseball, was suddenly available, they threw together an insultingly lopsided trade and ate his massive contract like it was nothing. They already had the top slugger from the AL last year, so power isn't a concern. And neither is hype - it's truly out of control surrounding this squad.
So, can they live up to those massive expectations? Or will the holes they still have get in the way of their success?
Yankees 2018 Projected Lineup
You can't talk about this team without talking about manager Aaron Boone. He was easy to like as a player, and few have anything but positives to say about him - he was a very good, hard working and insightful commentator and reportedly a very smart guy. But he has never managed, and breaking in with the Yankees is hardly the easiest thing to do. He could very well be fine, but there is a juggling act to do in New York constantly because patience is non-existent among fans and the media. If this season doesn't go as planned - and people are planning the parade route already - then Boone could be the cause, and even if he isn't he'll take a lot of the blame.
The Yankees have been all about excess for decades, and it shows in their outfield currently. They have six guys - Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier - who are viable outfielders. Stanton and Judge will obviously get their time - either in the field or, in the case of Stanton, at DH. But that's a lot of bodies beyond that. It gives them some flexibility and some depth to deal with injuries, but it can also be a distraction and a tough situation to handle - especially for a new manager. It will be interesting to see how they wind up dealing with what they have.
Power is obviously not going to be in short supply. Stanton and Judge are freaks at the plate, and Gary Sanchez had 33 home runs as a rookie. A guy to keep an eye on this year, though, will be Greg Bird. The first baseman was viewed as the top hitter in the system back in 2015, but he has really struggled to stay healthy lately. The job at first is his if he can stay on the field, and he has impressive power if he can access it. The team hardly needs a boost in power, but Bird has a chance to provide some if he can have the breakout year he is capable of. Didi Gregorius also produced 25 home runs as a shortstop last year and still has upside to improve. This team is a nightmare for opposing pitchers.
Playing rookies worked so well for the Yankees last year that they seem poised to do it again. With Chase Headley, Starlin Castro and Todd Frazier all gone, the team has holes to fill at second and third. Gleyber Torres is the team's top prospect, but he is coming off Tommy John surgery last year and could take a while. Miguel Andujar is ready, though, and is flashing power in early spring action. The team traded for veteran Brandon Drury to provide some depth options, but we should see a further youth movement sooner rather than later.
Yankees 2018 Projected Rotation and Closer
Luis Severino had a major breakout season last year and comes into the season as the No. 1 starter. He has ace potential but is only a season removed from a pretty lousy 2016, so we should hold off on the coronation for a while yet. And Sonny Gray is talented and looked solid in his brief time in New York last year, but being a regular is New York is very different than being one in Oakland. Again, there is a lot to like but nothing is certain. Masahiro Tanaka was far from consistent last year, and CC Sabathia looks like he is done. More uncertainty. And Jordan Montgomery was a pleasant surprise as a rookie this year, but he still has to back that up. There are people who like this rotation a lot more than I do. The upside is there, but if anything gets in the way of the potential of the team this will be it.
On the plus side, the bullpen is great. The combination of Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle is a potent tool for the team. All four guys can pitch late in games if needed, so the Yankees can just keep coming at you. They also have Adam Warren and Chad Green, who are both excellent. There aren't many bullpens any better than that.
Yankees Futures Odds
The public is predictable when it comes to some things, and one is that they simply love to bet on the Yankees. This team has clearly improved significantly, and the public has responded aggressively - probably too aggressively. New York is favored to win the World Series at +500, favored to win the American League at +275, and favored to win the AL East at +100. Hard to see value in any of those from where I sit. The season win total sits at 94.5, with reasonably balanced action in early betting. Luis Severino's season win total is at 14.5, with Sonny Gray at 13.5. Stanton is favored to win the home run crown at +375, with Judge the second choice at +650. They are the only two options below +1400. Gary Sanchez is a long shot at +6600.
Yankees 2018 Predictions
I tend to be a bit bearish on this team - but mostly because everyone is so bullish. Stanton is a great addition, but the team is young on the field, and the rotation is not perfect by any means. The upside is there, and it would legitimately be a disappointment if they didn't win the AL East, but I think the floor is lower than many people seem to think. I would take the "under" on the season win total without too much hesitation.
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