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New York Yankees 2018: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Expert Insight

Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge

Call it rebuilding. Call it transition. Call it a minor lull for baseball’s most decorated franchise. Whatever it was, it’s over. The Yankees are back. 

Last season’s success came as a surprise, as the Bronx Bombers finished one game short of the World Series, but this year’s Yankees will sneak up on no one. By trading for Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees added the reigning National League MVP to an already explosive lineup built around a young core of homegrown stars. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino are the products of a much-improved farm system, while Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks and Chad Green are the results of cunning trades by longtime general manager Brian Cashman.

A re-signed CC Sabathia, re-acquired David Robertson and resilient Brett Gardner are the only on-field links from the 2009 championship to today, and each stands as a symbol of the Yankees’ spending power, shrewd maneuvering and suddenly bountiful player development system.

The Yankees have built — or rebuilt — a team capable of not only advancing to this year’s World Series but also consistently challenging for championships well into the future.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Yankees

“They’re primed to make a deep run. There’s nowhere for a pitcher to breathe against that lineup, and everyone will benefit from adding Giancarlo Stanton to Aaron Judge. Greg Bird and Didi Gregorius are only getting better, and they’ll continue to thrive in complementary roles. Brett Gardner already has a great eye, and he’s going to get a ton of fastballs to hit at the top of the order. Stanton and Judge can be pitched to; like most big guys, they have a hole up and in, because it’s tougher to get extension and keep the ball fair. But only the best of the best have the command to consistently exploit that weakness, and of course those guys hammer mistakes. I have a lot of confidence in Luis Severino; he’s found his footing now, and he’ll be one of the best pitchers in the game for the next decade. Bringing back CC Sabathia was a smart move. It’s amazing how he’s learned to do more with less, changing speeds and pitching to both sides. And what’s not to love about their bullpen?”

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Youth movement

From 1997-2015, every Yankees Opening Day roster had an average age older than 30 years old, but that trend changed the past two seasons. Their average age on Opening Day in 2016 was 29.097, while their average age last year was 28.915. It was the Yankees’ youngest Opening Day roster in 25 years. This year’s roster might include just four players older than 31.

Back for more

By re-signing a one-year deal, CC Sabathia has a chance to solidify his spot among all-time Yankees pitchers. With 11 victories, he’ll rank top 10 in franchise history in wins, and he’s only 15 strikeouts away from ranking fifth all-time in that category. Reliever David Robertson is 66 away from having the third-most games pitched in Yankees history.

Face of the franchise Drafted in 2005, Brett Gardner is now the longest-tenured Yankees player by a large margin. His 35.2 career WAR, according to, ranks 24th all-time among Yankees position players, ahead of Elston Howard, Bobby Murcer and Roger Maris.

Luxury tax

After consistently paying baseball’s luxury tax because of their exorbitant payroll, the Yankees have so far stayed beneath the $197 million competitive balance threshold for 2018. That could change with added salary during the year, but the team seems determined to reset its financial penalties before the much-hyped 2018-19 free-agent class.

Back to October

Before last season, the winningest franchise in baseball had not won a postseason game since the 2012 division series. The Yankees had been swept in the 2012 ALCS, missed the playoffs in 2013 and ’14, lost the Wild Card Game in 2015, and missed the playoffs again in 2016. Last year, they came one game away from the World Series, losing the ALCS in seven games. 

Close calls

Despite a strong bullpen, the Yankees actually struggled in close games last season. They went 5–6 in extra innings, 18–26 in one-run games and 29–35 in games decided by two runs or fewer. Their record in one-run games was their worst since 1981. They did have 41 come-from-behind wins and five walk-off wins.

Projected Lineup

LF    Brett Gardner (L)
RF    Aaron Judge (R)
DH    Giancarlo Stanton (R)
SS    Didi Gregorius (L)
C    Gary Sanchez (R)
1B    Greg Bird (L)
CF    Aaron Hicks (S)
3B    Miguel Andujar (R)
2B    Ronald Torreyes (R)
C     Austin Romine (R)
OF     Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
INF     Tyler Wade (L)
1B/OF    Tyler Austin (R)
RHP     Luis Severino
RHP     Masahiro Tanaka
RHP     Sonny Gray
LHP     CC Sabathia
LHP     Jordan Montgomery
LHP    Aroldis Chapman
RHP    Dellin Betances
RHP    David Robertson
RHP    Chad Green
RHP    Tommy Kahnle
RHP    Adam Warren
LHP    Chasen Shreve