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Know Your Enemy: New York Yankees

Heavy favourites for the division title, the Yankees will use the time off to get some of their injured pieces back

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While everyone is practicing their social distancing while worrying about far more important things, I’m hoping I can give you a little reprieve from that, even if it is just a reminder that baseball is at least a month away, and realistically probably more.

The Yankees enter 2020 as the favourites to win the division, with Fangraphs giving them a 56% chance of capturing the division title. While they may not approach their 103-59 record from a year ago, getting into the mid-90s in wins should be a realistic possibility, given a 162 game season is actually played.

Outgoing Players

Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Cameron Maybin, OF
Sir Didi Gregorius, SS
Austin Romine, C
Jacoby Ellsbury, IL
Mike Bird, 1B
CC Sabathia, SP
Dellin Betances, RP
Cory Gearrin, RP

With the exception of Sabathia’s 22 starts, none of the above players spent much more than even half the season on the active roster. There are some big names in there, but none of them are irreplaceable, and the Yankees had enough in house Major Leaguers that their replacements were already there.

Incoming Players

Gerrit Cole, SP

That’s it. He’s the only one that the Yankees added from outside the organization to the 40 man roster. It was obviously a huge signing, as Cole’s 9 year, $324m contract was the largest by total years and average annual value over the winter, and was the second largest guaranteed Free Agent contract in the history of the sport.

The Yankees did add a few players on Minor League deals that came with an invite to Spring Training, including Chris Ianetta and former Blue Jay Josh Thole to give them some depth for the catching position. On the pitching side, Chad Bettis and Nick Tropeano are guys that the Yankee Magic will likely turn into serviceable starters again, so don’t forget those names.

Injured, or Otherwise Unavailable

The Yankees planned on starting the season with some pretty big names on the Injured List. Outfielders Aaron Judge (stress fracture of one his ribs), Giancarlo Stanton (strained calf) and Aaron Hicks (Tommy John surgery last October) will all be a lot closer to being healthy and ready to go once the season finally starts.

On the pitching side, two big names in James Paxton (microscopic lumbar discectomy) and Luis Severino (TJ surgery in February) will be out for a while, Severino not coming back until 2021. Also missing from their pitching staff for the first 63 games is Domingo German, who was suspended for 81 games last September for an “incident” involving his girlfriend. When this human turd returns from his suspension, he will likely be back in the Yankees’ rotation, as they have no tolerance for a no tolerance policy.

Likely Batting Order

DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Brett Gardner, CF
Gleyber Torres, SS
Gary Sanchez, C
Luke Voit, 1B
Miguel Andujar, DH
Mike Tauchman, LF
Gio Urshela, 3B
Clint Frazier, RF

This is likely to be their batting order until the outfielders come back, and how that ends up lining up for them at that point depends on how last year’s surprising players carry over their newfound success.

Pitching Rotation

Gerrit Cole, RHP
Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
J.A. Happ, LHP
Jordan Montgomery, LHP
Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP

It’s certainly not as strong of a group as they were hoping. Top prospect Deivi Garcia will be along at some point to help out, and the above mentioned Tropeano and Bettis will likely factor in at some point too.


Anchored by the big arm of Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees will once again have one of the best bullpens in the history of the game. Bridging the gap between the starter and Chapman will be some combination of Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle and Chad Green, while Jonathan Holder, Luis Cessa and whoever they end up with as their 8th man in the bullpen will get the lower leverage outings.

2020 Outlook

Fangraphs has their win projection at just 89, although that was likely factoring in more missed time for their big players. I would take the over on that (again, given there are 162 games to this season). PECOTA is a lot more optimistic for them, pegging them at 96 wins and an 80.7% chance of winning the division. Their chart for the AL East is a great representation of their projections for all:


If the season is 162 games, and the over/under for the Yankee win total is 95.5, I would take the...

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