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New York Yankees 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

New York Yankees 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

New York Yankees 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

After winning at least 100 games in consecutive seasons, the Yankees sputtered last year, going 21–21 to start the abbreviated season until a late sprint got them the fifth seed in the expanded playoff field. They need much more consistent starting pitching and better health from their injury-prone lineup to return to the top of the AL East and restore their status as strong World Series contenders.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Yankees

"I don't care how good their lineup looks, the Rays' pitchers can neutralize it. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton simply can't hold up all season. They're wound too tight; it's like their muscles are too strong for their joints, and I don't see the injuries slowing down. Luke Voit slimmed down a bit last year and looked great — even though he's got so many moving parts in that swing, he still finds a way to get the barrel to the baseball. I don't know why they held on to Gary Sanchez. I'm not sure I've seen anybody look that bad if it's not on purpose. His offense was just putrid, and Kyle Higashioka is so much better behind the plate. They need more depth in that rotation — Gerrit Cole can't pitch every day — but Deivi García has got guts. Zack Britton has one of the best pitches in the game, the sinker that looks like a changeup or split but comes in at 96. Aroldis Chapman's not throwing 105 anymore, but he's still up around 100 with a slider; watch out for that new splitter, too."

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Beyond the Box Score

Puppet Master? After Aaron Boone's disastrous decision in the ALDS to try to outsmart the Rays by using Deivi Garcia as a surprise opener — followed by a reluctant J.A. Happ — media focus intensified on just how much independence Boone really has. GM Brian Cashman has become increasingly reliant on analytics, but Cashman insisted after the season that Boone had autonomy for in-game decisions. "I know there's that narrative," Cashman said. "It's been asked several times about the manager being a puppet and all that. None of that is true. I've never ordered a manager to do anything specifically."

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2021 Athlon Sports Baseball Preview

Sneaker King

Clint Frazier collects sneakers like fans collect baseball cards. Frazier, who enjoyed a breakout 2020 season, devoted an entire basement room in his Atlanta home to displaying his collection, storing them in cubbyholes nine squares high and at least that many wide. He's an Air Jordan loyalist (or, perhaps, addict) and orders custom-made cleats and sneakers from an L.A.-based designer called The Shoe Surgeon, who created a slick pair with pinstripes and red baseball seams.


Cut Weight, Hit Bombs Luke Voit used the coronavirus shutdown to trim his bulky physique, shedding 13 pounds from his 255-pound frame. He started every weightlifting session with a mile to mile and a half run, increased his cardiovascular exercises, and stuck to a low-carb diet, eliminating night-time snacking and most "cheat meals" on weekends. "I wanted to be really clean, just to be a little bit quicker for this year," Voit said. "It worked out really well."


Walk This Way Aaron Hicks' .379 on-base percentage was a career high. Hicks tied for fifth in the majors in walks, with 41, and was the only AL player with more than 40 walks and fewer than 40 strikeouts. Unfortunately, his career-best strikeout rate (18 percent) did not translate into a better batting average — Hicks batted only .225, largely because of bad luck. His .256 batting average on balls in play was well below the league mark of .292, making him a candidate for a big jump in average.


Executive Access Zack Britton and Gerrit Cole are teammates on the Yankees' pitching staff and clients of the superagent Scott Boras. In December, they also joined the eight-man executive subcommittee for the Major League Baseball Players Association, a role that will take on heightened importance in the final year of a Collective Bargaining Agreement that players hope to change significantly.

Projected Lineup

LINEUP

2B    DJ LeMahieu (R)

RF    Aaron Judge (R)

CF    Aaron Hicks (S)

DH   Giancarlo Stanton (R)

1B    Luke Voit (R)

SS    Gleyber Torres (R)

LF    Clint Frazier (R)

3B    Gio Urshela (R)

C     Gary Sanchez (R)

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BENCH

C      Kyle Higashioka (R)

OF    Mike Tauchman (L)

1B    Mike Ford (L)

INF   Thairo Estrada (R)

OF    Brett Gardner (L)

ROTATION

RHP     Gerrit Cole

RHP     Corey Kluber

RHP     Jameson Taillon

LHP     Jordan Montgomery

LHP     Deivi Garcia

RHP     Luis Severino*

BULLPEN

LHP     Aroldis Chapman (C)

LHP     Zack Britton

RHP     Chad Green

RHP     Darren O'Day

LHP     Justin Wilson

RHP     Luis Cessa

RHP     Jonathan Loasiga

RHP     Domingo German

*Note: Luis Severino will miss the start of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

2021 Prediction: 1st in AL East