May 28, 2020

Yankees Biggest Flaws Getting Exposed Early

With the Yankees coming within a game of the World Series last year, and the team adding Giancarlo Stanton to an already potent lineup, there was justifiable excitement about the 2018 Yankees season.  That enthusiasm led many to predict the Yankees would win either the pennant or the World Series.

Hidden behind that enthusiasm was a potentially flawed Yankees roster with some notable question marks.  Looking at the 8-8 Yankees so far this season, those question marks have really held back this team.

The first question mark was the Yankees infield.

Heading into the season, the only sure thing the Yankees had was Didi GregoriusTo his left and to his right were question marks, including but not limited to the injury prone Greg Bird, who has once again found himself on the disabled list.  So far, those question marks, whether they be seasoned veterans or intriguing prospects, just have not panned out:

Tyler Austin .262/.354/.500
Tyler Wade .094/.171/.156
Miguel Andujar .225/.256/.450
Neil Walker .173/.246/.192
Brandon Drury .217/.333/.391
Ronald Torreyes .385/.385/.500

The Yankees were snakebit a bit by Drury’s migraine issues, and they do have some good depth with Torreyes, who is a fine utility player, but overall, with a team needing to figure out three infield spots on a nightly basis, the Yankees don’t have enough pieces to the equation right now.

They also need more pieces to the starting pitching equation.  So far, Luis Severino is showing last year’s breakout season was no fluke.  Unfortunately, he is the only Yankees starting pitcher who is pitching well this season:

Masahiro Tanaka 2-2, 6.45 ERA
Jordan Montgomery 1-0, 4.70 ERA
Sonny Gray 1-1, 6.92 ERA
CC Sabathia 0-0, 4.00 ERA

Fortunately for the Yankees, they were able to weather the storm created by Sabathia’s hip injury and not have to dip into the minors for another starting pitcher.  Unfortunately, the stocky 37 year old with knee and hip issues is their second best starter right now.

To a man, each of the Yankees starters have shown at one point or another they could pitch better than this.  It’s also true, they are a group with injury issues who have pitched worse in their careers.  With these question marks and limitations, they were supposed to be buttressed by one of the best bullpens we’ve ever seen.  To date, they’ve under-performed with a 4.48 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

How the bullpen is performing and utilize should cause more attention to be focused upon Yankees Manager Aaron Boone.

Boone was brought into the Yankees to do things differently and to better relate to the players.  One of the oft cited examples was Gary Sanchez, who just never seemed to click with Joe Girardi.  To wit, Sanchez has started this season hitting .190/.217/.414, has thrown out just one base stealer in seven attempts, and has yielded a passed ball and 10 wild pitches.

Overall, this is a really strong Yankees team, and it promises to be better whenever Bird returns, and the Yankees have the farm system, GM, and ownership to make a splash at the trade deadline if this team’s issues carry on much further than originally expected.

That said, this very talented Yankees team has three big question marks, and so far those question marks are what is holding back what has been a .500 team so far this April.