Friday, December 4, 2015

Injuries, Depth, Versatility and the New York Yankees

Scranton, PA. Where all the talent comes from. 

The New York Yankees have been hampered by the injury bug more so than not over the past three or four seasons. Ever since Derek Jeter thought he could play through a fracture in his ankle during the 2012 season that left him on the field in pain in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers the Yankees have had more DL time than most teams around the league. The problem in New York has been despite the large payroll the team has been exposed during these DL stints and injuries due to a lack of depth. The Yankees offense went stagnant in a sweep at the hands of the Tigers in that ALCS and the offense remained stagnant for much of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In 2015 the team was moving right along until Mark Teixeira and Nathan Eovaldi went to the DL in the second half leaving the club backing into the playoffs in an eventual Wild Card round loss to the Houston Astros. Fool me once with injuries, shame on you. Fool me twice with injuries, shame on me. The Yankees have been fooled four times in a row now but they don’t look poised to make it a five-peat.

When the Yankees lost Mark Teixeira last year the offense got exposed, especially against good left-handed starting pitching, but this year may be different. The Yankees now have a much clearer idea what they have in Greg Bird and the big first baseman will be the first one called up in the event of a Teixeira injury.

If the Yankees were to lose Alex Rodriguez for any significant amount of time in 2015 the team likely doesn’t make the postseason without him and his 150+ games at DH. This time around the Yankees can inject some right-handed power and youth into the position, either in case of an injury or to keep Rodriguez fresh to prevent another second-half fall off, by letting Gary Sanchez get some at bats there. He’s likely going to be the backup catcher anyway so why not keep his development going while getting him regular at bats rather than allowing him to rot on the bench.

The Yankees pitching staff went to pieces at the end of the 2015 season with a few exceptions. The biggest exception was Luis Severino. Having a full season of Severino in the rotation can only help while Bryan Mitchell looks to put it all together finally, Rookie Davis continues to knock on the door and while whoever the 2016 version of Kyle Davies and Chris Capuano are stay stashed in Triple-A as depth.

Did I really make it this far without mentioning Aaron Judge? The first outfielder, regardless of position, to go down brings up Judge in my opinion barring a 40 man roster crunch. If that’s the case then obviously Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams are still on the roster and ready to contribute alongside Ben Gamel. But really, call up Judge. The Yankees outfield is set with three center fielders on the roster. The positions are so interchangeable that it doesn’t matter at this point with the exception of Carlos Beltran who is a right fielder only at this point. Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner could play any of the three positions if needed at any given time.

Finally, the bullpen. The Yankees will already have one of the deeper bullpens in the league before even mentioning the “Scranton Shuttle” which is comprised of Caleb Cotham, Branden Pinder, James Pazos, Nick Goody, Nick Rumbelow and others. That’s before mentioning, and the Rule 5 Draft may have a lot to say about this list, the likes of Mark Montgomery and a slew of relievers that were left unprotected.

The Yankees have depth and have depth at almost every position but shortstop. The Yankees are seemingly ready for the 2016 season and we’re not even to the Winter Meetings yet. Don’t expect a lot of major moves or signings, that’s because the team doesn’t necessarily have to. Although another bat would be nice, just saying. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

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