New York Yankees All-Star predictions
The New York Yankees have mightily exceeded expectations so far this season, and it is no mystery to why they have started so strong. They have gotten the most out of their roster, and the players as a whole have come out of the gates firing. The Yankees have had many players outperform their preseason projections and their young players are thriving earlier than expected. The question remains, however, how many of these players will travel to Miami in July to be a part of the Midsummer Classic?
The following players are among the American League’s elite in terms of stats and on the field production. If the All-Star game were today these players would definitely be on the team and should be on the team in July if they continue to play well.
There is no doubt that July 11 should be Judgement Day. Aaron Judge has had an unreal season so far in 2017, after struggling in his first taste of big league action last summer. He is first in the American League in home runs, second in OBP, second in SLG, and first in runs. He also has ran the bases well and played solid defense in right field. The key to Judge’s rise, pun not intended, to stardom has been his pitch selection and ability to hit the ball hard when he makes contact. He currently holds the top two spots on the leaderboard of Statcast’s fastest exit velocities for the season. Unless he completely falls off in terms of production, he should be sharing the outfield in Miami with the likes of Mookie Betts and Mike Trout in July.
Everyone in baseball forgets Starlin Castro is only twenty-seven years old and already has three All-Star appearances. A player the Yankees obtained for basically only Brendan Ryan, Castro has given the Yankees the second base production they have lacked since Robinson Cano wore pinstripes. Castro is third in the league in batting average, leads the league in hits and multi-hit games, and is second only behind Judge in runs scored. At this point in the season, Castro deserves to start over some star second basemen like Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano.
The recently named closer has continued to pitch well this season, despite an offseason filled with slander from his own employers in arbitration. While Betances has pitched himself into and out of some sketchy situations, his stats are incredible and are All-Star worthy. Only Andrew Miller and Nick Goody, yes former Yankee Nick Goody, have lower qualified ERAs among relievers in the American League. He strikes out almost two batters an inning and his stock should only rise as he accumulates saves.
Good stats, but injuries hurt
The following players have had strong seasons, but injuries have prevented them from having stats that are competitive with the rest of the players at their respective positions in the league.
Aroldis Chapman began the season lights out for New York and had a microscopic ERA heading into May. He did not look the same in his last few appearances as he threw more sliders to compensate for his diminished fastball velocity and poor command. He is now on the disabled list and will not be back until the middle of June. If Chapman had escaped the arm problems that most likely are a result of being over pitched by the Cubs, Chapman could have had his sights set on his fifth All-Star selection.
The runner-up in the AL ROY race last season started off the season struggling and then was sidelined with an arm injury for almost a month. Since he came off the disabled list he has looked more like his old self as his average is up to .290 and his throwing arm looks as strong as ever. If El Kraken can put up solid numbers, he could very well win the fan vote for the American League catcher position, due to his popularity that arose from his reign of power last summer.
Gregorius is coming off his best season in the majors and was scorching hot in the World Baseball Classic, until an injury sidelined him for almost a month of the regular season. Since he has returned he has been terrific and is hitting a solid .304, while playing outstanding defense at shortstop. Unfortunately, the American League is stacked with quality shortstops such as Carlos Correa, Jean Segura, Xander Bogaerts, and Francisco Lindor, so Sir Didi will most likely be the odd man out unless his average remains this high for the next two months.
Stats fall short
The following players have had overall productive seasons but are not yet in the category of being an All-Star.
Holliday has been streaky since arriving to New York, but has provided veteran leadership and clutch home runs all season. In a league where David Ortiz is no longer the obvious choice as the starting designated hitter, there is an opportunity for Holliday to have a chance to make the team, if he can consistently put up big numbers. Holliday is third in runs batted in and home runs among DHs.
Pineda is the only starter to receive a mention in this article, which may be surprising, but his stats are overall solid for the season. His strikeouts per nine innings are almost identical to last season, where he led the American league. He has walked only eight batters in almost fifty innings and is in the top fifteen for the lowest batting average against among AL starters. While it’s a longshot, he has the stuff to be a phenomenal big league pitcher, but whether he can actually put it together is still up in the air.
Brett Gardner started off this season dismal, but has been on fire as of late. He has already matched his home run total from last season in 400 less at-bats and is on pace to have the highest batting average and OPS of his career. He continues to play solid defense and appears to be running more often than he has in recent years. If he can continue this pace, Gardner could sneak on as an injury replacement or a final vote nominee.
Tyler Clippard is now the eighth inning pitcher for the Yankees after Chapman’s injury and has been solid for most of the young season. His 1.08 ERA and .140 BAA are phenomenal, but his lack of being “flashy” and the likelihood of him declining in the statistics department will most likely prevent him from adding a third selection to his resume.
Final Predictions: Aaron Judge, Starlin Castro, Dellin Betances, and Gary Sanchez
Article by: Ryan Thoms