The New York Yankees are in their final stretch for the American League Playoffs. It has been an up and down season for the Yanks. But with the return of Aaron Judge to the lineup and Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen, the Yankees are regaining their full strength. At full force, the Yankees can compete with anyone in the Majors. Let’s take a quick look at the players that are strengthening that hope. And some that must turn it around quickly to help the Bronx Bombers succeed. And be sure to check out previous looks of this list for 3 Up and 3 Down.
1 Up- Luke Voit
Since his recall from the Minor Leagues, Voit has been instrumental in the Yankees success. Before last night game, Voit has nine home runs, and 20 rbi’s since joining the Yankees. Also with the Yankees, Voit has a slash line of .323/.400/.634 which are some very incredible numbers. To the point, Voit has taken over the first base job from Greg Bird.
1 Down- Greg Bird
Speaking of Greg Bird, to say that Bird has struggled this season would be an understatement. It has become a reoccurring theme with Bird that he gets injured and misses a lot of time. This season after returning from injury Greg Bird has not been able to find any semblance of success. Due to his inability to find his swing, Bird hasn’t played much. Over his last seven games, Greg has only had 19 at-bats. In those 19 AB’s Bird is slashing .105/.190/.211 and only two rbi’s. Bird is going to need to get it going at the plate. But without getting into the lineup that isn’t going to happen. If Bird doesn’t show progress over the final ten games, he will be unlikely to make the postseason roster
2 Up- Aaron Judge
The lifeline for the Yankees has returned, Aaron Judge. It has been clear that as Aaron Judge goes so do the Yankees. Judge’s return has boosted the moral and joy in the Bronx Bombers dugout. Not to mention Judge’s return lengthens the Yankees lineup and makes them that much more dangerous.
2 Down- Gary Sanchez
Like Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez has struggled with performance and health this season. Those struggles have lead to questions about what to do with Sanchez during the AL Playoff run. His defense has been questionable and unreliable and can place the Yankees in jeopardy. And it can be overlooked if his bat makes up the difference. But to this point in the season, his bat has been just as questionable. Prior to last night’s game, Sanchez is slashing .186/.287/.402 with 16 home runs and 47 rbi’s very un-Sanchez-like numbers for a full season. Especially when considering during just 53 games to close out the 2016 season, Sanchez put up 20 homers and 42 rbi’s while slashing .299/.376/.657. Everyone believes that Gary is a much better hitter than he has shown this season. But Gary can salvage this season with a good performance in October.
3 Up- Justus Sheffield
On Wednesday night, Justus Sheffield (the Yankees number one rated prospect) made his Major League debut. And while Sheffield would allow some traffic, he would not allow a run. If Justus can hone the skill set of being a reliever he can provide the Yankees with another option for the postseason. It was spoken of on the Wednesday night broadcast, but Sheffield’s favorite player was David Price. Price made his Major League debut in 2008 coming out of the bullpen for the Tampa Bay Rays. Sheffield finds himself in the same position Price did ten years ago. And Sheffield like Price can impact the Yankees postseason run with lights out pitching from the bullpen.
3 Down- Brett Gardner
The undeclared captain of this Yankees team is Brett Gardner. However, for the impending free agent, he is not having a great season. Gardner is a player that starts out hot and cools off as the season progresses. This season, however, Gardner has struggled from the beginning. And over his last 30 games, Brett is slashing just .193/.264/.303 with just two home runs and eight rbis. Gardner’s veteran presence and gritty, gutty pesky style has always endeared him to the Yankee faithful. But this season it has seemingly grown old. Many fans have called for the Yankees to move on from Brett Gardner following the conclusion of the season. But as with Gary Sanchez, if Brett were to have an impactful postseason, he may be able to play himself back into a position with the 2019 New York Yankees.
B.O.L.O.- Luis Severino
So Severino started the year out as a rockstar and looked like a runaway for the AL Cy Young award. But the second half of the season was a complete 180 and Sevvy seemingly reverted back to his 2016 form that saw him demoted to the bullpen. But that wasn’t the case Wednesday night as Luis looked like the old dominant Sevvy once again. Severino was in full control over arguably the best team this season in the Boston Red Sox. If Luis Severino has refound the 2017/first half of 2018 form, then the entire American League is going to be put on notice.