By Adam Westendorf
Welcome everyone! My name is Adam Westendorf and I will be a contributor here at Eddie’s Corner for the Yankees portion of the website. I would first like to welcome everyone who comes through our website and hope that you all enjoy.
The Yankees season beings today against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Luis Severino will toe the rubber to get the season underway for the Yankees. With all that being said I want to take a look at the roster and give you my best projections about each of the players on the opening day 25 man roster. So the likes of Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Jacoby Ellsbury will not be included in my projections even though all three of those players will be up and contributing at some point this season.
The format for hitters will go as follows. Batting average, On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, Home Runs, Runs scored, Runs Batted In, and Stolen Bases.
C- Gary Sanchez: .272 BA .340 OBP .510 SLG 37 HR 84 R 94 RBI 2 SB
Gary Sanchez is the best offensive catcher in baseball. Everyone in baseball remembers when he came up for the final two months of the 2016 season he set the world on fire. Sanchez could have hit 40 home runs last season if he didn’t miss a month at the start of the season. Expect bigger numbers from Sanchez as he is being over looked by the likes of Stanton and Judge.
C- Ausin Romine: .230 BA .260 OBP .315 SLG 6 HR 17 R 22 RBI 0 SB
Austin Romine more than likely won’t see a ton of time behind the plate. He is your typical backup catcher who will see at most three games a week. Don’t expect much from him from a hitting stand point.
1B Tyler Austin- .240 BA .310 OBP .400 SLG 12 HR 19 R 34 RBI 3 SB
With Greg Bird sidelined for six to eight weeks because of ankle surgery, Tyler Austin is your opening day first basemen. I expect him to split time with Neil Walker at first. Austin will only be holding down first until Bird gets back from injury.
2B Neil Walker- .260 BA .360 OBP .440 SLG 20 HRs 60 R 55 RBI 1 SB
That Neil Walker signing sure looks good now doesn’t it? Walker can play all over the diamond and will see time regularly at either second or first base. I expect Walker to hit for a little more power now that he gets to use the short porch in right field. If he wants to keep his starting role he must play well because the likes of Tyler Wade and Gleyber Torres are coming for him.
2B Tyler Wade- .270 BA .340 OBP .390 SLG 4 HR 34 R 19 RBI 12 SB
I thought for sure Tyler Wade would open up as the starting second basemen, but new Yankees manager Aaron Boone is going with Neil Walker. That being said expect Wade in the lineup a lot because of his versatility. Not a lot of power, but makes good contact and has a lot of speed.
3B Brandon Drury- .280 BA .327 OBP .456 SLG 24 HR 57 R 62 RBI 1 SB
When I heard that the Yankees traded for Drury I was all for it. I think that he is poised for a break out year with the Yankees as he will get to play regularly. Drury has the perfect swing for Yankees stadium as his power goes to right-center field.
SS Sir Didi Gregorius- .282 BA .310 OBP .456 SLG 22 HR 72 R 58 RBI 2 SB
If you continue to come back to our website you will learn quickly that Didi Gregorius is my favorite player. Didi broke out last year hitting a career high 25 home runs. I don’t expect him to get to that mark again but he has hit 20+ in each of the last two seasons and I don’t expect that to stop.
INF Ronald Torreyes- .252 BA .305 OBP .372 SLG 2 HR 20 R 13 RBI 4 SB
Torreyes is the odd man out in a very crowded infield. Everyone loves him because of all the interactions with Judge, but he was a productive player last year when pressed into action.I don’t expect him to play a lot but when he does the lineup won’t skip a beat.
LF Brett Gardner- .258 BA .348 OBP .402 SLG 18 HR 93 R 54 RBI 20 SB
Gardner will be the Yankees lead off man to start the year. He is the model of consistency over the past five season and I don’t expect anything to change this year. Unless he hits better against left handed pitching, expect a lot of his off days coming against lefties.
CF Aaron Hicks- .273 BA .377 OBP .484 SLG 27 HR 66 R 56 RBI 17 SB
Aaron Hicks would have been on pace for 30 home runs and 20 steals last year if he didn’t get hurt. I have him going into a huge break out year if he can stay healthy. That is always the big question with Hicks is if he can stay healthy or not.
RF Aaron Judge- .274 BA .420 OBP .610 SLG 48 HR 121 R 130 RBI 11 SB
Aaron Judge should have won the MVP last season with his historic rookie campaign. However, Aaron Boone wants to set up his lineup where Judge will either be hitting two or three. With the protection of Stanton or Sanchez hitting behind Judge, he will continue to pound baseballs out of the yard.
RF- Giancarlo Stanton- .270 BA .382 OBP .630 SLG 56 HR 118 R 134 RBI 1 SB
The Yankees big off-season acquisition. The trade for Stanton came quickly and as a surprise to the baseball world. Stanton has had some health concerns in the past missing a lot of time, but last year played in 159 games. Health is the only thing that will hold him back.
With the position players wrapped up I will move on to the pitchers. For starting pitchers I will project: Wins, innings pitched, earned run average, and strikeouts. As for the bullpen pitchers, I will only be projecting earned run average, strikeouts and saves.
RHP Luis Severino- 17 W 202 IP 3.10 ERA 232 K
Severino was the ace of the Yankees staff last year and has earned the right to be the opening day starter. Finishing third in the Cy Young voting last year behind Corey Kluber and Chris Sale that is great company to be in. I am projecting him to win the Cy Young this year.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka- 14 W 174 IP 3.76 ERA 184 K
Tanaka struggled in the spring during his starts, which doesn’t bode well after his early season struggles of last year. After his first 14 starts last year, he returned to form and was the pitcher we all know he can be. Here is to hoping that we don’t have to wait that long for him to be the guy we need him to be.
LHP C.C. Sabathia- 14 W 168 IP 3.96 ERA 115 K
C.C. was such a big factor in the post season last year. Starting Game 5 against the Indians on the road and holding them at bay to hand the ball to the lights out bullpen. C.C. comes back another year older but has taught himself to pitch after losing his velocity.
RHP Sonny Gray- 16 W 182 IP 3.38 ERA 171 K
Sonny Gray was traded to the Yankees last year at the deadline. After being hurt in 2016, Gray came back last year and pitched a lot better than people think. I think he is going to bounce back to his dominant 2014 form and be the second best pitcher in the rotation.
LHP Jordan Montgomery– 13 W 161 IP 3.63 ERA 156K
Jordan Montgomery was a pleasant surprise last year winning the last spot in the rotation out of spring training. He took advantage of his opportunity and pitched very well until they shut him down because of his innings limit. Going into this year I think he will build on his success and get even better.
RHP Jonathan Holder- 2.65 ERA 44 K 0 SV
This spot in the bullpen will be a revolving door with guys coming up and down. Holder won the job out of camp over Domingo German and Luis Cessa. Holder will have to pitch well to keep his spot on the roster and earn more high leverage situations.
LHP Chasen Shreve- 3.24 ERA 62 K 0 SV
Shreve is the only other lefty in the bullpen other than Aroldis Chapman. With that on his side, I think it would be very hard for them to send him down. Shreve when he can stay within the strike zone can be effective but has some issues controlling his stuff.
RHP Adam Warren- 2.12 ERA 52 K 0 SV
Warren is the Yankees’ swing man. He will be the guy to give them length if a starter struggles early in the game, but also can be brought in in the later innings to get big outs.
RHP Chad Green- 1.60 ERA 108 K 0 SV
Chad Green was so dominant out of the pen last year that I don’t know why they brought him to camp as a starter. Now back in his bullpen role, he will continue to dominate hitters and help shorten the game for the Yankees.
RHP Tommy Kahnle- 2.60 ERA 94 K 0 SV
Kahnle came over with David Robertson and Todd Frazier in a trade deadline deal. Kahnle had a breakout year last year finding success in one of his first seasons transitioning to the bullpen. He will be used in a number of ways at the end of games.
RHP David Robertson- 1.57 ERA 96 K 2 SV
Just like Kahnle, Robertson came over in the same deal. I was excited hearing the news that he way coming back to New York. He will start the year as the main seventh inning guy, but if Betances struggles the way he did down the stretch last year Robertson will take over that eighth inning role.
RHP Dellin Betances- 2.00 ERA 127 K 2 SV
Dellin Betances is the best right-handed non-closer in baseball. His ability to throw 100 MPH and break off his curve to 84 keeps hitters off balance. Betances looked to be as dominant as usual until the game in Detroit when he hit James McCann in the head. I think after that he didn’t trust himself and he lost his control. Now after a full off season under his belt, I look to Betances to return to form.
LHP Aroldis Chapman- 1.25 ERA 116 K 40 SV
Chapman, just like Betances last year, went through a bit of struggle — not being able to command the zone early on in the year and was then demoted from the closers role. That didn’t last long. As soon as they figured out his mechanical issue, it was back to dominance for Chapman. Chapman is the guy and will get the bulk of the save opportunities and expect him to convert almost all of them.
There you have it. Those are my projections. Are any of them going to be right? Probably not, but they are projections. This team will be so fun to watch the entire year. From a lineup stand point they could break the home run record. The bullpen could be the most dominant pen ever. Also let’s not forget about Gleyber Torres who will be with the team this year more than likely. So here’s to a brand new year of Yankees baseball and the chase for 28.