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Thread: Yankees 2021 Season Thread

  1. #1

    Yankees 2021 Season Thread

    With the team likely done with additions (save a possible reunion with Gardner on the cheap), itís time to start the season thread. Yanks made it to the ALDS and lost a thriller to the eventual AL champion Rays mostly because their owner and GM got cute and burned two starters in a day for game 2, a game we should have won. Either way, a new year is upon us and time to look at the lineup, rotation, and pen

    Lineup
    C- Sanchez and Higashioka- Sanchez was horrible last year. Heís never been a good catcher, but his bat made up for it. Last year, his bat was a huge minus, leading to his benching in the POs. Heís already lost the trust of their ace and will likely lose more established pitchers (like Kluber) and turn this into a true time share or even find himself as the backup. My bet is he starts the year as the starter with the Yanks hoping he can find his 30+ HR swing. His upside is massive, but his downside is also massive. Enter Higashioka. Higgy is a solid defender with a good arm and power. Heís actually not that dissimilar from Sanchez offensively, although he doesnít have the talent to reach Sanchezí ceiling. Higashioka will be the opening day starter as the personal C for Cole, but I do expect him to catch only about 40% of the games at best early on. He has turned into a very important player on this team, and could ultimately be the full time starter if Gary proves 2020 wasnít an aberration.

    1B- Voit and Ford- Luke Voit took his 2018 hot finish and 2019 hot start and put together a massive 2020 shortened season as the AL HR champ. Heís got power to spare and should be a 40HR type player in 21 if he can stay healthy. Ford, OTOH, took a step back last year in limited duty. With the Yanks pretty RHed, I do expect to see him find a spot on the bench and rotate into the lineup as an injury replacement.

    2B- Lemahieu is back. Best pure hitter in the AL is back atop the lineup ready to tear apart the opposing teamís pitcher.

    SS- Torres had a rough shortened season, but at his age and with his ceiling, thereís a strong likelihood he rebounds. Heís a 30+ HR hitter with the chops to hit for average long term. His conditioning was an issue in 2020 and my bet is he comes into camp in great shape.

    3B- Urshela was a find for 2019 and showed even better in 2020. His defense is top notch, he hits for a good average and added power to his repertoire. Heís locked in as the 3b.

    Utility- Wade, Estrada, and Andujar- Wade has proven to have a solid glove and good speed, but hasnít translated his minor league numbers into any sort of consistent offensive production. Estrada has a good glove, less mobility than Wade and likewise hasnít translated his numbers in the minors into production as a big leaguer. Andujar was second in ROY voting in 18 then tore his labrum and struggled to find consistent ABs in NY last year. His issues arenít offense, itís his defense thatís the issue as heís backing up 1B, 3B, DH, and LF.

    LF- Frazier. The kidís time has finally come. He mashed last year and showed very well defensively in the OF last year as a RFer (although very poorly in limited innings as a LFer). Heís pegged as the Yanks full time LFer and should finally have no hindrance to 500ABs.

    CF- Aaron Hicks- weird year offensively. BA was down, power was down, walk rate was a career high and his contact rate was way up with a really low BABIP. There is always the health concern, but he stayed healthy last year. And the other concern worth watching is the defense. Traditionally a plus defender, he was near 0 in UZR/150 in 2019 and plummeted to -11 in 2020. Hard to know if thatís just sample size or if he is starting to lose a step. In YS, CF defense is really important, so stay tuned

    RF- Aaron Judge. Monster offensively. Great D. Cannon for an arm. Canít stay healthy. Theyíre taking a different approach this offseason with less weights and more Yoga/stretching/flexibility. If he can avoid the IL, he should put up an enormous year

    UTIL OF- Tauchman had a weird 2020. His minor league numbers pointed to an offensive monster but he never got the chance in Colorado. In 19, he puts up a 2.4 WAR in a half seasonís worth of games and mashes 13 bombs. In 20, he hit no homers and barely slugged .300. His defense also regressed. Hard to say which player he is, but if 2020 Tauchman is who he is going forward, he might as well be cut. If he can return to 19 Tauchman, then heíd be a hell of an asset for the Yanks

    DH. Stanton is a more injury prone Judge. Has the offensive potential to be an MVP. Has the body of a regular on the IL. Theyíre doing the same offseason regimen to avoid soft tissue injuries as theyíre doing with Judge. If he can stay healthy, he will have a humongous year, but thatís a big IF

    My expected lineup

    1. Lemahieu 2B
    2. Judge RF
    3. Hicks CF
    4. Voit 1B
    5. Stanton DH
    6. Torres SS
    7. Urshela 3b
    8. Sanchez C
    9. Frazier LF
    Wish List
    [] New owner
    [] New GM
    [] New Manager
    [] New Hitting Coach

  2. #2
    Starters

    1. Cole- one of the best starters in baseball, Cole returns as the unquestioned ace of whatís suddenly become one of the deepest rotations in the AL. Still in prime, heís set up for a monster 21

    2. Kluber- Kluber is 2 on this list as I expect the Yanks to separate Taillon and Cole because of their similarities. Kluber has a couple CYís under his belt, but is more a movement and command guy vs a power guy. Kluberís issues are two fold. One is age, at 36, most pitchers start to fade. Second is health, having thrown only one inning since May of 2019 after having an arm fracture on a comebacker and a teres tear one inning into his Rangers tenure. If healthy, I expect him to be solid. If healthy and able to show standard stuff, he could be more. Lots of ifís, but on a one year commitment, heís worth it.

    3. Taillon- power, stuff, command, Taillon has ace level stuff. Coming from Pitt, though, heís been groomed as a sinker baller which will undoubtedly change. If he takes to using his power akin to Cole and Morton before him, he could give Cole a run for his money as the ace. Taillon is a bit different than Kluber in terms of health risk. He missed time with testicular cancer that heís now cured of. Then he needed TJS which knocked him out for a year and a half. Now 18 months post procedure (20 by opening day), he enters ST fully healthy and could be one of the best acquisitions of the offseason

    4. Montgomery- Montgomery had a solid year plus from his debut season, but TJS and bicep issues afterwards wrecked 18 and 19 for him. He returned in 20 with solid peripherals (FIP and xFIPís in the mid to high 3ís), but problematic production (5.11ERA). His fastball was up a half a tick from his debut season and now that 2021 wonít be a sprint season, I expect Montgomery to show heís a quality back end major league starter.

    5. German- I think German has a leg up for the 5 spot because I think the Yanks would rather Schmidt and Garcia get a little more minor league seasoning. German has stuff to spare and had a solid 19, but his issue isnít physical, itís mental. If heís locked in, he is a quality 5. If heís still a head case, then he could find himself on a new team shortly

    6. Garcia- likely to start 21 in AAA, but will spend a lot of time in the Bronx when a starter goes down. He had a solid debut season and had the moxie and stuff to be a solid starter for a long time.

    7. Schmidt- another top 100 prospect with power stuff akin to Taillon. He hasnít had the chances Garcia has had, but heís got more power for sure. He will likely spend more time in the Bronx than Garcia, IMO, as I expect Schmidt to transition to the pen at mid season and can be a real asset with his power.

    Others
    King, Nelson, Loaisiga

    In the wings:

    Luis Severino- will be healthy come May but will be slow played until his stuff is sharp and crisp. Most post TJS pitchers return around 14 months, but arenít back to their pre TJS command and power until 18 months, which puts him back to prior in September. I expect him back before then. Heís a legit #2 starter and would be a big boost down the stretch and into the POs

  3. #3
    Deity moonslav59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonianmarch View Post
    Starters

    1. Cole- one of the best starters in baseball, Cole returns as the unquestioned ace of whatís suddenly become one of the deepest rotations in the AL. Still in prime, heís set up for a monster 21

    2. Kluber- Kluber is 2 on this list as I expect the Yanks to separate Taillon and Cole because of their similarities. Kluber has a couple CYís under his belt, but is more a movement and command guy vs a power guy. Kluberís issues are two fold. One is age, at 36, most pitchers start to fade. Second is health, having thrown only one inning since May of 2019 after having an arm fracture on a comebacker and a teres tear one inning into his Rangers tenure. If healthy, I expect him to be solid. If healthy and able to show standard stuff, he could be more. Lots of ifís, but on a one year commitment, heís worth it.

    3. Taillon- power, stuff, command, Taillon has ace level stuff. Coming from Pitt, though, heís been groomed as a sinker baller which will undoubtedly change. If he takes to using his power akin to Cole and Morton before him, he could give Cole a run for his money as the ace. Taillon is a bit different than Kluber in terms of health risk. He missed time with testicular cancer that heís now cured of. Then he needed TJS which knocked him out for a year and a half. Now 18 months post procedure (20 by opening day), he enters ST fully healthy and could be one of the best acquisitions of the offseason

    4. Montgomery- Montgomery had a solid year plus from his debut season, but TJS and bicep issues afterwards wrecked 18 and 19 for him. He returned in 20 with solid peripherals (FIP and xFIPís in the mid to high 3ís), but problematic production (5.11ERA). His fastball was up a half a tick from his debut season and now that 2021 wonít be a sprint season, I expect Montgomery to show heís a quality back end major league starter.

    5. German- I think German has a leg up for the 5 spot because I think the Yanks would rather Schmidt and Garcia get a little more minor league seasoning. German has stuff to spare and had a solid 19, but his issue isnít physical, itís mental. If heís locked in, he is a quality 5. If heís still a head case, then he could find himself on a new team shortly

    6. Garcia- likely to start 21 in AAA, but will spend a lot of time in the Bronx when a starter goes down. He had a solid debut season and had the moxie and stuff to be a solid starter for a long time.

    7. Schmidt- another top 100 prospect with power stuff akin to Taillon. He hasnít had the chances Garcia has had, but heís got more power for sure. He will likely spend more time in the Bronx than Garcia, IMO, as I expect Schmidt to transition to the pen at mid season and can be a real asset with his power.

    Others
    King, Nelson, Loaisiga

    In the wings:

    Luis Severino- will be healthy come May but will be slow played until his stuff is sharp and crisp. Most post TJS pitchers return around 14 months, but arenít back to their pre TJS command and power until 18 months, which puts him back to prior in September. I expect him back before then. Heís a legit #2 starter and would be a big boost down the stretch and into the POs
    Nice summary, but I wonder how you'd write about all these pitchers, if they were wearing a Sox uniform.
    Sox 4 Ever

  4. #4
    All-Star bkzwhitestrican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonslav59 View Post
    Nice summary, but I wonder how you'd write about all these pitchers, if they were wearing a Sox uniform.
    Cole: due to regress
    Taillon: broken
    Kluber: old and broken
    Montgomery: big dork
    German: needs to beat his wife in order to be good
    Garcia: little person
    Schmidt: could be good in 2024

  5. #5
    Deity moonslav59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkzwhitestrican View Post
    Cole: due to regress
    Taillon: broken
    Kluber: old and broken
    Montgomery: big dork
    German: needs to beat his wife in order to be good
    Garcia: little person
    Schmidt: could be good in 2024
    LOL!

    Good stuff and fairly accurate.

    Can I ask you to one more thing? What would be Jacko's take on this 2021 fictional "Yankee rotation":

    Sale
    Richards
    Eovaldi
    ERod
    Pivetta
    Perez
    Houck
    Whitlock
    Mata

    Sox 4 Ever

  6. #6
    All-Star bkzwhitestrican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonslav59 View Post
    LOL!

    Good stuff and fairly accurate.

    Can I ask you to one more thing? What would be Jacko's take on this 2021 fictional "Yankee rotation":

    Sale
    Richards
    Eovaldi
    ERod
    Pivetta
    Perez
    Houck
    Whitlock
    Mata

    Sale: can't pitch on windy days otherwise he might blow away
    Richards: hasn't pitched a full season since his tee-ball league
    Eovaldi: team needs to carry extra scotch tape to keep his elbow attached
    ERod: I hear COVID affects pitcher spin rates by up to 30%
    Pivetta: moderate chance to make the AAA rotation
    Perez: due for a breakout season after pitching to an almost 5 ERA over 9 seasons
    Houck: promising prospect, Bloom will likely trade for a backup outfielder
    Whitlock: not good enough to make yankees 40 man roster, likely #3 starter for Sox
    Mata: who??

  7. #7
    Deity moonslav59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkzwhitestrican View Post
    Sale: can't pitch on windy days otherwise he might blow away
    Richards: hasn't pitched a full season since his tee-ball league
    Eovaldi: team needs to carry extra scotch tape to keep his elbow attached
    ERod: I hear COVID affects pitcher spin rates by up to 30%
    Pivetta: moderate chance to make the AAA rotation
    Perez: due for a breakout season after pitching to an almost 5 ERA over 9 seasons
    Houck: promising prospect, Bloom will likely trade for a backup outfielder
    Whitlock: not good enough to make yankees 40 man roster, likely #3 starter for Sox
    Mata: who??
    No.

    I'm saying if this was the Yankee rotation....
    Sox 4 Ever

  8. #8
    All-Star bkzwhitestrican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonslav59 View Post
    LOL!

    Good stuff and fairly accurate.

    Can I ask you to one more thing? What would be Jacko's take on this 2021 fictional "Yankee rotation":

    Sale
    Richards
    Eovaldi
    ERod
    Pivetta
    Perez
    Houck
    Whitlock
    Mata

    Quote Originally Posted by moonslav59 View Post
    No.

    I'm saying if this was the Yankee rotation....
    I liked mine better. No way I'm writing a fluff piece for your guys :P

  9. #9
    Deity moonslav59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkzwhitestrican View Post
    I liked mine better. No way I'm writing a fluff piece for your guys :P
    Hey, I tried.
    Sox 4 Ever

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by moonslav59 View Post
    Nice summary, but I wonder how you'd write about all these pitchers, if they were wearing a Sox uniform.
    Iíve been pretty blunt on all the pitchers. Dispute any of the above. For the Sox, youíve got two guys (Sale and Rodriguez) who missed all of last year who are coming back at some point in 2021. Sale is in the Severino camp outside of the fact that Sale showed diminished stuff before blowing out his elbow. ERod is in a camp all his own. No clue what months of bed rest will translate into beyond conditioning early on. Youíve got the rest of the rotation as either failed prospects with big stuff (Pivetta), injury prone veterans who have been middling at best(Perez and Eovaldi) or promising prospects previously profiled to close (Houck). Hard to compare the two rotations at all as the Yanks will blow the Sox away this year.

  11. #11
    Bullpen-

    Closer- Aroldis Chapman- Chapman is still an elite closer, but his 2020 was interesting to say the least. K rate rose, BB rate fell but the HR rate tripled from 19. Heís also had three post season home runs hit off him that defined (or nearly in the Cubs case) the end of his teamís playoff run. Heís down 2mph from his start with the Yanks (100.1mph) but is still plenty powerful enough at 98.1 mph. Slider mix was less in 2020. I think the Yanks need to consider him a 1 inning guy, even when tempted to get a second inning out of him. Heís great at what he does, but two of those post season homers were in his second or more inning of work. (The Astro one was tainted by the garbage can bang).

    Setup Zach Britton- didnít allow a single homer in the regular season last year. He has embraced what he is and saw his BB rate drop and his ERA stay under 2 for a second straight year. Heís an effective reliever capable of stepping in for Chapman should he get hurt.

    Setup Chad Green- Green is the right handed setup man for the Yanks who had a weird last two years. Heís been effective, yet in 2019, he had a BABIP of .346 and an ERA north of 4. In 2020, he had a BABIP of .145 and an ERA of 3.51. Looking at peripherals, itís hard to say 2020 was a banner year. Still very effective, but a HR rate of 1.75/9IP as a late inning reliever just wonít fly. Heís always been a fly ball pitcher, so he likely will never duck under 1, but he needs to trend closer to it for sure. Greenís also useful as a multi-inning reliever

    Middle- Justin Wilson (assuming the rumors are true that they are near an agreement). Wilson was dealt for Green and Cessa and would be a welcome addition to the middle innings, which have become decidedly right handed. Heís a power armed guy with the penchant for the K, the walk and limiting home runs. His addition would really help to solidify the middle innings and also provide another option in the late innings for injury or rest of the prior 3.

    Middle- Luis Cessa- Cessa has taken an interesting journey to his relief career. Started as a big armed starter who couldnít avoid the long ball. Two years ago he had some success transitioning to a breaking ball first reliever and he took that into overdrive in a very successful 2020 stint. He threw his fastball a career low 35% of the time. The hyper reliance on the slider and the occasional change up saw his HR rate plummet and his usage rise. The one worrying factor for me is that relievers should see a rise in their velocity yet his is down nearly 2mph from his peak.

    Middle Relief Darren OíDay- 38 yr old relievers who top out around 87 donít usually move the needle. OíDay, on the contrary, has no issue with his performance beyond health, and thatís a big one. Heís missed a lot of time the last 3 seasons and guys donít usually get healthier at 38. Either way, heís a strange add to this team, but can be effective nonetheless. Also, for a sidearmer, heís been surprisingly effective vs lefties, although one should not expect him to face a lot of lefties when lining up his usage

    Long Relief- Jonathan Loaisiga- Loaisiga isnít far removed from being a top 100 prospect. His issue is less effectiveness and more health, although he was healthy for 2020. Last year, he appeared in 12 games, started 3 yet only threw 23 innings. Heís the epitome of a swing guy. And last year, he seemed to drop the HR rate, hone in on the walks and put together a very solid 3.52 ERA. He isnít your usual swing guy, though. Most of those guys are sinker-slider crafty types. Loaisiga is all power, averaging over 96 mph with his fastball. Big difference with Blake as the coach was using the fastball. He used it 67% of the time, up from 56% the year prior and also saw an emphasis on his change, a scrapping of his slider, and less reliance on the curve (down to 17% from 30%)

    Last spot- lots of guys capable. Some with deep arsenals, others with power, some reclamation types etc. The names on this list include Brooks Kriske, Michael King, Clarke Schmidt, Asher Woj, Nick Nelson and others.

    For 2021, the Yanks pen is loaded and the system behind them is full of impact arms capable (not expected, but capable) of being dominant forces in the pen. As has been the last couple years, the Yanks should have one of the best pens in all of baseball, if not the best

  12. #12
    Dietrich, Goody and Luetke signed to ST invites. All 3 have a chance, IMO, to make it. Dietrich has to outplay Bruce. Thereís currently one open spot in the pen up for grabs. We shall see who shows the best

  13. #13
    Loaisiga to be a jack of all trades this year per Boone. Expect him to be an opener and a multi inning reliever. Sounds like being a true starter is out of the question due to his myriad injuries, but with his stuff, the Swiss Army knife approach would be pretty useful for the Yanks

  14. #14
    All-Star bkzwhitestrican's Avatar
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    Schmidt is the first to fall. Out a month with an elbow strain, hopefully doesn't turn into the usual narrative, where after four weeks they announce he needs TJS.

    Puts more pressure on German (if he doesn't get released) and Deivi.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by bkzwhitestrican View Post
    Schmidt is the first to fall. Out a month with an elbow strain, hopefully doesn't turn into the usual narrative, where after four weeks they announce he needs TJS.

    Puts more pressure on German (if he doesn't get released) and Deivi.
    The yearly prospect elbow injury in February. With his history, breath should be held
    Wish List
    [] New owner
    [] New GM
    [] New Manager
    [] New Hitting Coach

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