Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The 2015 Yankees Have Quietly Become Dangerous

Due in large part to the latest collective bargaining agreement, luxury tax thresholds, draft slot caps, caps on international spending and other restrictions I truly believe the era of the “Super Teams” is over in Major League Baseball. When I say super teams I mean the teams that go out there and win 105 games a season and snowplow their way through the competition all the way to a World Series title. The 2009 Yankees come to mind and so do the 1998 Yankees as both teams were extremely dangerous and never out of any contest. Quietly and somewhat quickly I believe the 2015 version of these Yankees have also become quite the dangerous team as well in an era without the super team.

The 2015 New York Yankees can do it all on any given night, the problem is that the team doesn’t tend to do it all every single night which is what separates them from the super teams of the past. New York’s offense behind Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann in the middle with Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner setting the table is one of the best in the American League and in all of Major League Baseball. The team can simply outslug you, especially inside Yankee Stadium, or they can single and double you to death, and the team gets especially frustrating for the opposing teams pitcher with two outs and runners in scoring position. The team is also clutch. While we won’t see another “Year of the Walk-off” like we did in 2009 this team has many late victories that either saw a game tied late or saw the team come from behind to win late, Sunday’s game as the perfect example of this.

The starting pitching can be stellar at times, even if it is just for five or six innings at a time, while the bullpen is one of the best in the league. With the bullpen the way it is currently constructed this Yankees team can turn any contest into a five or six inning contest every single night with the flexibility, durability and ability to mix and match innings and situations. If the offense gets behind late the bullpen almost always throws up zeroes to give the team a chance to come from behind and/or win the game late and the bullpen also rarely every blows a lead. The confidence that Joe Girardi has in the bullpen in evident on a daily basis when the likes of CC Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi are taken out of games at just 85 pitches or so every fifth day.

This may not be a super team, and with a long second half to go this may not even be a playoff team for all we know, but this team is definitely dangerous. The team is 6-1 this season with former or reigning Cy Young Award winners on the mound opposing them and they always seem to bring their “A” games against the best of the best around the league. This team may not be a super team but if it makes it to October healthy and still on this roll they may be the most dangerous team in all of Major League Baseball in 2015. 

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