Monday, March 23, 2015

ICYMI: The Best Case Scenario for the 2015 New York Yankees

Ideally, what is the best case scenario for the New York Yankees? What cards have to fall just right and what acquisitions have to succeed for the fans to call this team a success in 2015? Me being the optimist that I am, although I was accused of not being in recent weeks, I wanted to take a look at just how far this team could go if all the stars aligned and all the dominoes fell where they may.

It starts with health and ends with effectiveness. I think every team that has ever won a World Series or has made the playoffs can and would say that, luck cannot be quantified nor relied on in Major League Baseball. The Yankees luckily had all three in 2015 with 35 starts each from both Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia. Sabathia was never the ace he was in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s but still managed to win 15 games with a low 4.00 ERA while Tanaka was the first Yankees pitcher to win 20 games in a season since Sabathia with 22, just because it’s one more than Sabathia’s 21 in 2010.

Mark Teixeira was also much healthier in 2015 and had to take fewer and fewer days as the grind of the season wore on. Teixeira never came close to hitting .300 again but a very respectable .260 with 38 home runs kept the Yankees in a lot of ball games. Carlos Beltran was on base when almost all 38 of those Teixeira home runs cleared the fences proving that he still had something left in the tank and that his production was affected by the elbow spurs. Beltran never hit the 30 home run power New York may have hoped for but he did flirt with .300 for much of the season before settling in with a .289 average in 151 games played, 135 of them in right field. Alex Rodriguez was not only effective in 2015 he was surprisingly good all things considered. Considering that he is 40 years old and coming off a second hip surgery with a yearlong steroid suspension and a platoon role with Garrett Jones thrown in Alex still shows a good batters eye at the plate and some good opposite field power. Rodriguez only hits 12 home runs in 2015 but his OBP is 125 points higher than his batting average and in years past a lot of his doubles would have been home runs inside Yankee Stadium.

Finally the Yankees got a ton of help from their farm system that they finally began to rely on more heavily. Tyler Austin came up when Chris Young injured himself assaulting a pitching machine (yes, he struck out again) and shined for the Bombers while Luis Severino came up in September and put the rest of the league on notice for 2016. The bullpen was easily the best in the game as the Yankees boasted the first four-headed monster with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam Warren and Jacob Lindgren while the likes of David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve shined in their 6th and 7th inning roles. The Yankees rode their fresh legs and their young arms and their veteran presences all the way to the World Series because probably seven times out of ten talent always wins out over luck.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)