This goal of this year’s Yankees team is that of winning the World Series and recreating the Dynasty. So we’ll take a look at the four most important Yankees in achieving the final victory in the 2018 World Series.
The New York Yankees have had their share of ups and downs this season and though the team has struggled more so recently, they still maintain the second best record in MLB. However, unlike say the Oakland A’s who would be happy just making it to the playoffs the Yankees goals are more significant.
Since their loss to the Houston Astros in Game Seven of the 2017 ALCS, the New York Yankees have had their eye on the Commissioner’s Trophy. And in the offseason, the Yankees bolstered those World Series or bust aspirations with the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton.
This made the Yankees the heavy favorites until the Boston Red Sox snagged JD Martinez, evening up the odds. The Yankees have some work to do if they are to catch Boston in the AL East Division and these Yankees must play a big part.
1. Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge is without question one of the best players in all of Major League Baseball. This season Judge was showing a level of consistency we had not yet seen from the big man. In each season Aaron has made tremendous strides of improvement. Judge’s brief cameo in 2016, he struck out a whopping 44.2% of the time. Then in 2017 Judge cut down his strikeout percentage to 30.7.
While he still struck out a lot he was much better. Which was evident by his unanimous Rookie of the Year win and finishing second overall in the MVP voting. However, Judge had a solid six-week stretch that derailed his momentum and cost him the MVP.
In 2018 however, Judge corrected his play yet again and has been a consistent player all season long. Although currently on the DL (due to a HBP) Aaron Judge should return before seasons end. And his return can not come soon enough for the Yankees are in desperate need of his services. When Aaron Judge is in the lineup, the Yankees are a much better team, a more patient team. Aaron Judge sees approximately 4.38 pitches per plate appearance through his short two-plus year career. What makes this so significant is that the MLB average of P/PA is 3.89. When Aaron Judge is in the Yankees lineup, it is a much better lineup.
Luis Severino is the unquestioned ace of the New York Yankees starting pitching rotation. And throughout the first half of the season, he was the epitome of dominant. But since the All-Star break, he has struggled. Over his last seven outings, Sevy has an ERA of 7.50 and has given up 30 runs in 36 innings pitched.
In order for the Yankees to achieve their ultimate goal of winning the World Series, they need the first half Severino. When Severino is going right he is one of the three best pitchers in the American League, as evidenced by his top three finish in the 2017 AL Cy Young voting. When Severino is pitching like the Ace of this staff, that is when the staff is at it’s best.
Aroldis “The Cuban Missile” Chapman is set as the Yankees “Fireman or Stopper.” And like Severino in the first half, there were no real issues facing Chapman. But since it has been revealed that Chapman is dealing with tendinitis in his left knee. Aroldis is said to be “managing” the injury but has struggled throughout the second half. Chapman, unlike most pitchers, doesn’t get hit when he struggles.
However, he throws pitches repeatedly out of the zone, walking batter after batter. Chapman must find a way to deal with the knee issues in order for the Yankees to truly have a chance to win in October. A healthy Chapman showed what he is capable of during the 2016 World Series for the Chicago Cubs. That is the Aroldis Chapman that the Yankees need to win the World Series.
4. Aaron Boone
Aaron Boone has been the target of much frustration throughout his first campaign as Yankee manager. Many of his decisions have been second-guessed and triple questioned. It was a surprising hire by General Manager Brian Cashman during the offseason. Boone represented a different style entity than that of previous manager Joe Girardi.
However, if the Yankees are to make a serious run at the crown Boone must learn from the mistakes he has already made. The questionable decisions Boone made were at the forefront during the “New Boston Massacre.” Leaving pitchers in for too long, starting Triple-A caliber players and seemingly not being able to push the right buttons. During the playoffs, manager’s decisions are extremely scrutinized and even more so for a first-year manager.
Boone has the ability to deflect the media from the bad performances of his players. Which is a wonderful trait in the skipper, but he also must have the pulse of his club and get the best out of them. If Boone can learn quickly from his previous mistakes he can give the Yankees the different voice the Cashman was looking for during the offseason.