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2018 Yankees Predictions: The Super Last Minute Edition

First year manager Aaron Boone has a loaded roster at his disposal.

What’s left for me to tell ya? The New York Yankees are gonna be good.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Mets fan. That’s a reality that will always effect my view of the Yankees. But in a way, being a Mets fan – or rather, coping with being a Mets fan – has taught me to remove myself, emotionally, from whatever rivalry people think exists here in New York. Because about as much as I love the Mets, I love baseball. And if I want to watch relevant baseball after, like, July, I have to watch the Yankees. Hating the Yankees takes a certain dedication that I’m simply not interested in.

I could be off, or maybe just stunned by what they’ve managed to put together over the last several seasons, but it looks like the Yankees may have assembled one of the best teams modern baseball has ever seen. And I’m not hyperbolizing. Just pull up a new tab and google “Yankees Lineup.” You’re probably thinking, “Ok, yeah, Judge and Stanton,” but are you also thinking Sanchez, and Gregorius, Gardner, and Hicks?

By the way, here’s the official 2018 New York Yankees opening day lineup:

1) Gardner LF
2) Judge RF
3) Stanton DH
4) Sanchez C
5) Hicks CF
6) Gregorius SS
7) Drury 3B
8) Walker 2B
9) Austin 1B

Probably no need to rehash what’s going on there in the top half of that line up, but that’s uuuhhhh.. that’s a pretty tough lineup. Dealing with one 50+ home run hitter is likely a chore in and of itself – then you have to deal with another. Then you’re throwing to a guy who broke a home run record in his first handful of games as a rookie. And by the sixth batter, you still have to face a guy who hit over .270 last year, followed up promising young talents in Drury and Austin. And that’s just the offense! Headlined by Luis Severino – the opening day starter – the Yankees pitching staff is spattered with All-Star appearances. If there’s any leak in that boat at all, you might find it in the bullpen, but with arms like Chad Green’s, and closers like Aroldis Chapman and 4-time All-Star Dellin Betances those leaks seem fairly manageable if not downright negligible.

Empire-looking though they may be, it is worth considering that, despite all the hype, and despite a deep 2017 playoff run, the Yankees are not defending a division title. While the impact of the Stanton trade is huge, no doubt, the makeup of the 2018 Yankees has not changed too dramatically over the offseason. Keeping in mind the late-season addition of the likes of Sonny Gray (also a former All Star, by the way), and acknowledging age in CC Sabathia and an abysmal fourth-quarter performance in Betances, the pitching staff is mostly unchanged. Look north to Boston, where the Red Sox have also assembled a squad that is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Perhaps of most importance, Boston managed to lock down JD Martinez for the next five seasons and still boast one of the game’s best talents in Mookie Betts. And much like the one-two punch of Judge and Stanton, the Sox offer a pitching duet of Chris Sale and David Price – a 6-time All Star and a Cy Young Award winner, respectively. While knowing that the Yankees will certainly be a top team this year, you also can’t deny that Boston will be as well. And thus, the AL East is by no means a sure thing.

That said, the Yankees will win the AL East, and then the World Series. Sure, there a lot of uncertainties. A new manager. A lot of strikeouts. Key pitchers who faltered last year. Recurring injuries to potential stars like Greg Bird. But the reality is that the Yankees have put together professional baseball’s version of a “super team.” Boston may be good, yes, but New York is now boasting a look-ma-no-hands mentality that challenges the rest of the league both on and off the field. The Sox have talent, but they don’t have stars. I fully expect the big, young personalities of this New York Yankees club to outshine the rest of the league this season, and anything short of a World Series won’t be enough.

(Other random predictions, and yes – you can @ me: Neil Walker will hit 25 home runs. Stanton will not play more than 140 games. The Yankees will win 105 games. Aaron Boone will not be AL Manager of the Year. Judge will win AL MVP.

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