Thursday, April 5, 2018

How Are Things Looking So Far?

Although it's only been six games, I figured I'd give you all a run-down of what I think so far, and what the rest of the season has in store. If you expect a long-winded explanation of things you'll be disappointed. Not enough has happened to go that far. I'll save that for a few more weeks or so.

Pitching
I don't want to look hard at the numbers, seeing as how the sample size is so small right now. 

Going Down
  • I'm sad to say this, but the entire starting rotation is going to get worse. That's not to say they are going to be bad, they just aren't going to be this good. Not a single one of the five starters this season have an ERA+ under 200. Sonny Gray's ERA of 2.25 is the highest, while the other four have ERAs under 2.00. I'm sorry, but that won't continue. 
Going Up
  • The only guy in the bullpen that has looked good so far this year is Chad Green, who has given up just 1 hit while striking out 7 over 3.1 innings. Chapman has been striking out more guys that normal, too. Other than that, though, the relievers have been hard to watch. But that will not continue. Aroldis will not give up a hit an inning, Betances' ERA will not be 9.00, and D-Rob's ERA will not be 12.00, and Kahnle will not give up a home run every other time he makes an appearance. 
But just in case you're still worried about pitching still, there are guys like Domingo German, Domingo Acevedo, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and others ready to step up.

Batting
Note: the numbers quoted are for before the game on 4/4

Going Down

  • When it comes to hitting, there's only one guy that I see getting worse from where he's currently at. Chances are you've already said that name out loud or in your head, so I'll go ahead and say it too... Didi Gregorius. No, Didi is not going to finish 2018 with an OPS+ of 269. His home run rate is not going to be almost double what it was in 2017 (8% compared to 4.4% last year). But you know what? I don't think he's going to finish only a little better than average, either (his OPS+ was 106 in 2017). Didi will strike out a bit more, walk a bit less, and his fly ball rate will go down, but other than that  he's making hard contact as well as he normally has (his line drive percentage this season is exactly the same as last season... 25%). 

Going Up

  • While it's hard to watch Giancarlo Stanton strike out as much as he has (12, including 9 times in the last two games), he's still been huge for the Yankees' offense. Three home runs, two doubles, and four walks, good for an OPS+ of 182. His batting average is currently .217, and over the previous three seasons that number was .245. Oh, and about those 12 strikeouts... his current strikeout percentage is 44.4%, compared to a career percentage of 27.8%. So while he will strike out fairly often, it's unlikely to be nearly as much as we've seen.
  • Gary Sanchez currently has an OPS+ of -7, due to a current slash line of .087/.087/.261. Call me crazy, but I have a feeling he's going to end the season with numbers slightly higher than that. Hell, I don't have to dig into the numbers to convince you otherwise. Well... maybe I do with some, but that would be a waste of time because anybody that thinks Gary will be that bad is too crazy for me to talk off the ledge anyway.
  • Brandon Drury is having a nice start to his career with the Yankees. His OPS+ at this time is 134. I fully expect that number to go down, but I don't expect it to go down that far. His line drive percentage is quite a bit higher than he's averaged in his MLB career (47%, as opposed to a career percentage of 27%), but the rest of the numbers suggest that what we've seen is not far off from what we can expect from here on out. 
  • Like Stanton, Aaron Judge has been underrated so far this season. He hit his first home run of the season yesterday, and so many people seem to look at that number alone when evaluating the start of his season. But his OPS+ so far is actually 163. His walk rate will likely go down a bit (although with Giancarlo batting behind him, you never know), and he's hitting the ball a little harder than he did last season (line drive percentage of 38% compared to 26% in 2017), but it looks like he's going to have another huge season for the Yankees.
  • Just in case you haven't been able to keep up on things so far this year, the Yankees will soon be getting back the guy slated to start in centerfield this season... Aaron Hicks. Not to mention that the guy that should have been their Opening Day first baseman, Greg Bird, will hopefully be back and healthy soon too. Not to mention Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury are currently on the disabled list with them.
  • Speaking of reinforcements, the Yankees have an incredible supply of young guys ready to step up. Actually, one of them already has, as Aaron Boone will be looking for ways to get Tyler Austin more at bats. Tyler Wade is not starting off hot, but many believe he can be a big help in the future. Miguel Andujar is chomping at the bit, Gleyber Torres will soon be pushing for a promotion, and Billy McKinney will be back in not too long.
In summary, the 2018 New York Yankees are still a World Series contender. If you want to jump off the Yankees' bandwagon, be my guest. There are still plenty more on board.

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