Early season Yankees overreactions
With the baseball season still only having just begun here in being mid-April, there has already been a flood of overreactions from fans, despite us being less than 10% through the tumultuous 162-game MLB season. With that being said, I’ll examine whether the following statements from the first few weeks of the season are warranted or simply just overreactions.
Didi Gregorius is a top-three SS
Just as he did during his tremendous 2017 season, Didi’s been tearing up pitching the first few weeks of the 2018 season. Gregorius is already slashing .311/.433/.689 with three HRs, six doubles, and a team-high 13 RBIs. To go along with his stellar defense, he has a 1.1 overall WAR through just 14 games. Now an XBH machine, he continues to climb up the ranks as one of the best shortstops in baseball. With that being said, unbiasedly, is Didi Gregorius a top-three SS in baseball? It’s certainly close, but in the end Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor are definitively better than Gregorius, although maybe not by as much as one would think. Also consider Dodgers' shortstop Corey Seager and Didi is likely the fourth or fifth best shortstop in baseball. So, saying Didi is a top-three SS isn’t all that wild of a statement because he is right there with Seager and others, but it’s still a bit too high of a ranking...for now.
Verdict: Overreaction, but not far off
Yanks need starting pitching
Yankee fans have long been calling for the front office to acquire another starting pitcher (Chris Archer and Alex Cobb anybody?), but this seems to be unnecessary. The Yankees are expected to have the third-best rotation in the AL, behind the Astros and Indians, as they’re pretty solid top to bottom. With Jordan Montgomery being the fifth option, and a solid one in that, trading for a SP doesn’t seem necessary at this point - barring an injury. Even then, there’s still prospects Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield continually improving in the minors. Unless it’s for a top-flight pitcher, such as a guy like Gerrit Cole who the Yanks may end up regretting not trading for in the off-season, the idea that picking up a mid-tier SP is a necessity is an overreaction.
no longer an elite RP
Betances was once debated as a top three reliever in baseball, potentially being the best. Those opinions have quickly faded away since his downfall last fall and into the postseason. So far in 2018, it seems as if Betances has carried those struggles over. After allowing a run in each of his first two outings of the season, the 6’8” righty looked like he was figuring things out by not allowing a run in three consecutive appearances, looking like the normal, dominant Betances the league has become accustomed to. Well, the series opener against the Tigers on Friday night showed he’s not exactly back. Worries are setting in, as it seems like forever since Betances has pitched like an elite reliever. For now, it’s certainly fair to say that Betances is no longer an elite relief pitcher.
The lineup isn’t as good as we thought
Heading into the season, the overwhelming consensus amongst the league was that the Yankees would have the best offense in baseball. With injuries plaguing the whole team, specifically some key bats (Bird, Hicks, Drury), and some massive slumps from Gary Sanchez and newcomer Giancarlo Stanton, the offense so far hasn’t performed the way many thought they would. Still early in the season, the Yanks still have plenty of time to figure things out. The reigning NL MVP will surely figure things out eventually and the same can be said for the best offensive catcher in the league. With Hicks now back in the lineup, added depth in Brandon Drury, Clint Frazier, and Jacoby Ellsbury hopefully returning soon, and the likely call up of top prospect Torres, this offense should be hitting its strides here shortly.
Bullpen is overrated
Along with the league-wide belief that the Yanks have the best offense, most thought the same about their bullpen heading into the season and in some cases, people believed this may be the best ‘pen ever assembled. With six truly above-average-to-elite arms, the bullpen has once again underwhelmed to start the season, blowing many leads reminiscent of the middle part of the 2017 season. The only two guys who have really lived up to expectations a few weeks in has been arguably the team’s two best relievers in Aroldis Chapman and Chad Green, with David Robertson coming in as a close third. Robertson has been subpar, allowing four runs in 8.2 innings while striking out 8. Betances, as mentioned before, has struggled tremendously. Tommy has really been inconsistent with his command, allowing eight walks and six runs in 7.1 innings of work (6.14 ERA). Warren has been in his 4.2 innings, as the team has sparingly used him so far this season. Right now, it’s too early to say this bullpen is “overrated”, but if the blown leads and under performances continue happening into the summer, this statement may be considered valid.
Verdict: Give It Time
With a 7-7 record through 14 games and already five games behind the Red Sox, there’s been a lot of criticism surrounding the Yankees from fans so far this season. It’s certainly still too early, but as the year progresses, we’ll see if these are statements hold true or were just early season overreactions.