Jan 23rd 2020
Eli Manning retiring. Jeter goes into the hall of fame with all but 1 vote. Giants hiring Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens as coordinators. New York sports seems to be at an all-time high, right? Wrong! Knicks are a mess, Giants front office is incompetent, Jets are on a 50-year rebuilding project and Mets ownership still won't spend a dime after firing their manager after a 2-month stint. But there is always the Yankees. The Yankees are listed as early favorites to win the MLB Championship at 4/1 odds. It may seem very low to bet a future at those odds, but when you start breaking down this Yankees team from top to bottom, they are on the verge of a dynasty. And by the time MLB playoffs start rolling, one can truly expect the Yankees to be in the neighborhood of even money odds, creating a very valuable hedge opportunity.
The Yankees signing Gerrit Cole certainly increases their chances to win a pennant. The Yankees failed to have that dominant number one starter that can be relied upon to start any game 1. Tanaka has been a great post-season pitcher for them but having Cole allows Tanaka to settle in as the number 2 starter, a role that fits him much better than being the ace. Luis Severino is one who is coming off an injury-plagued season, and you can only expect him to build off those invaluable playoff experiences. Luis as a number three is a deadly option to have, as many say he has ace ability. Happ is the question mark on the staff - but with being in the back-end of this rotation should take a lot of stress off him. If Happ can just eat up innings and give his offense a chance, he should get 12-15 wins without an issue and will be a quality starter. James Paxton agreed to a $12.5M contract to avoid arbitration and will be the 5th starter in this rotation. Paxton probably will be asked to produce at least 150 innings and 150 strikeouts, which he has done three years in a row. This pitching staff will be lethal come playoff time for any team to face and will strike fear into any opponent.
The Yankees offense has been the teams' backbone for regular-season success, but they must find a way to produce in the post-season. A middle-of-the-order consisting of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Voit, Gary Sanchez, and Giancarlo Stanton in some order has to be a real headache for any pitcher in baseball. Stanton has to produce in a big way this year, or the New York media and fans will be all over him. I truly expect a breakout year for Stanton as a result. A healthy Voit playing every day has the possibility to surpass 35 home runs and 120 walks. The real benefit for the Yankees is his OBP. His healthy stretches predict he can easily hover around a .370 mark, and if things break right, .400 isn’t out of the question, which means a big positive for the offense. LeMahieu in the leadoff spot is a perfect way for the pinstripes to start a game as he hit .327 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs over 145 games. His high OBS (.375) is masterful ahead of the Yankees’ sluggers. Torres, who has every GM drooling over his ability, will only improve with experience. Gleyber has hit cleanup in the past, but with a healthy Yankees lineup, he will probably end up in the 2 or 3 spot in the lineup. Gardner has career-highs in home runs (28) and RBIs (72) last season, earning himself another extension with the only team he’s ever played for. Gardner’s ability to work the count and rack up pitch totals for pitchers is perfect in the 9-spot. He will set LeMahieu up perfectly to take advantage of weary arms.
To put it plainly, this Yankees lineup is on the verge of breaking records and having a huge season.
Now back to the 4/1 odds to win the MLB Championship. I know what you are thinking, regardless of how good this team is, those odds are low for a futures' play. But let's look at this game by game - Yankees will be in the range of -250 to -400 favorites all year long this 2020 season. Their over/under total for wins right sits only at 101.5 wins - which is also a strong wager possibility. I believe this team will be in the range of 115-120 wins this season. As offensively they will be scoring 5-6 runs a game, and with this pitching staff, those runs should be plentiful to win a majority of the games. As bad as NY sports has been the past few years, the Yankees are on the start of winning several championships with this team. Their biggest rivals, Astros, 2nd favorite at 8/1, are now facing a huge controversy and have a new manager to adjust to. The Red Sox are now not even contenders to win the AL East, as Tampa Bay is projected to give the Yankees the most fight in the division. One thing I can say for certain, Yankees own the Rays and it would be no different in the playoffs. When all is said and done, Aaron Boone has one job this year - to cash in on the Yankees at 4/1and win or he will be gone.