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Breaking: Yankees acquire LHP James Paxton in exchange for LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson, and OF Dom Thompson-Williams

The Yankees have made their first splash of the offseason by acquiring the Big Maple, James Paxton, from the Seattle Mariners. Fresh off his second-consecutive season at the top of the Mariner’s rotation, Paxton did not come cheap as the Yankees traded away their top prospect, Justus Sheffield, along with breakout prospects Erik Swanson and Dominic Thompson-Williams.

Predicting the Yankees' All-Stars for 2018


As we near the All-Star break, the Yankees currently hold the best record in baseball at 47-22. As the best team in baseball, they’re surely expected to have multiple representatives at the All-Star Game. Who will make it? One can only guess and I made some predictions below*:

Photo Credit: Getty Images




*stats prior to Monday’s games

Locks:
Aaron Judge
After struggling the second half of 2017, Judge has returned to form here in 2018. His average has recently fallen down to .279, but he’s still putting up high power numbers (18 HRs and .567 slugging percentage), along with reaching base at a high clip (.397) and playing an underrated right field defensively. The AL outfield is by far the easiest position to predict for the All-Star Game, as superstars Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Aaron Judge are all locks to start. Although not nearly the same numbers as the other two, Judge still ranks tied-for-fifth in the AL in homers with 18, tied-for-ninth in RBIs (45) and runs scored (46), and seventh in the AL in slugging percentage (.564). Although he won’t be participating in the Home Run Derby, you can certainly expect to see him in the ASG for the second consecutive year.

Luis Severino
Severino is probably the safest bet of all these Yankees to make the All-Star game. He’s been one of the league’s best pitchers, along with Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander of Houston. Already sitting at 10-2, his ERA so far is 2.09 and he’s well on his way to 20 wins potentially. Severino has carried this Yankees rotation and has established himself as one of the premier pitchers in baseball. After a horrible 2016 that featured him being demoted and spending time in the bullpen, he’s really turned his career around and lived up to the massive potential that he came through the minors with. His 2.09 ERA ranks second in the AL, as he’s also fifth in strikeouts (118), tied-for-first in wins (10), and third in innings pitched (99).
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Aroldis Chapman
Chapman has regained the title as the best closer in all of baseball. He’s been as dominant as ever this season for the Yanks, totaling 20 saves thus far which ranks third in the AL. That doesn’t exactly illustrate how good he’s been, as the Yanks have had numerous occasions where they’ve been in non-save situations due to their high-powered offense. Chapman has arguably been the best reliever in the majors, as he’s pitched to a 1.17 ERA in just 30.2 innings. He’s also registered 53 strikeouts along with a WHIP of 0.85. Chapman is without a doubt on his way to his fifth All-Star Game appearance and his first since 2015 when he was with the Reds.

Likely:
Gleyber Torres
Coming into the season, Torres as we all know was a top prospect with immense expectations. After starting off in the minors, the Yanks quickly realize starting Neil Walker at second base wasn’t the best short-term nor long-term solution for their team that’s, besides Starlin Castro for a season or two, has struggled at the position ever since Robinson Cano left in free agency. Somehow, Torres has exceeded those preseason expectations and has lived up to the potential. With just 48 games and 166 ABs under his belt, Torres has slashed .283/.337/.554 and has led yet another youth movement surge along with fellow rookie Miguel Andujar. Torres won AL Rookie of the Month honors in May and also won AL Player of the Week in the last week of May. In an offense that features sluggers Judge, Stanton, Sanchez, and Gregorius, Torres has managed to carry this offense over the past few weeks. For the year, he’s hit 13 homers and 34 RBIs along with a WAR of 1.7, which ranks third on the Yanks amongst position players behind Judge and Didi Gregorius. Keep in mind, Torres has put up these stats in ⅔ the games and plate appearances as everyone else which makes it all that more impressive.
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50/50:
Gary Sanchez
His stats certainly aren’t All Star-worthy at the moment, but the only reason he would make it is from the fan vote and the lack of a standout at the catcher position. With the benefit of playing for the most popular franchise in baseball, he could potentially make it in just based on that fact. Add in that there’s no clear-cut guy at the catcher position in the AL and Sanchez has a better chance to make it than one would think. Sanchez has now dropped below the Mendoza line for the season (.192 BA), although he has had some horrendous luck as evidenced by his BABIP. His BABIP, which measures one’s batting average on balls put in play, currently sits at .199. That ranks second-lowest in the majors and indicates the bad luck he has had. For comparison, his BABIP last season was .304 and .317 the season before. If he can somehow greatly improve those stats and go on a tear these next few weeks, Sanchez will have a much higher likelihood of making it to his second consecutive All Star Game. Despite somewhat disappoint stats from El Kraken, he still leads catchers in homers, RBIs, and runs scored and because of that coupled with the aforementioned reasons, I think he’ll end up making the ASG.

Miguel Andujár
Another shining rookie for the Yanks, Andujár has exceeded expectations along with Torres and could also make the All-Star Game. At the moment, José Ramirez is the clear-cut guy for starting at third baseball for the AL. Ramirez has slashed .288/.382/.607 with 21 homers and 47 RBIs, both of which are top five in the AL. If it weren’t for Mike Trout’s greatness, he’d be a competitor for the AL MVP award. Behind Ramirez, Andujár has easily been the second-best third baseman in the AL. Despite some defensive hiccups and a low-OBP (.321), he’s still batting an excellent .293 while slugging .518, thanks in large part to his 22 doubles which ranks top five in the AL. His slugging percentage ranks top 25 in the AL and Andujár, and along with all the doubles, he’s also put in eight homers on the season and 28 RBIs in 58 games. So why wouldn’t Andujár make the ASG if he’s been the second-best third baseman? Well, it all depends on how the coaching staff wants to arrange the roster. If they want to go with three deserving shortstops and one third baseman rather than two of each position, then Andujár will not make it unfortunately. He’s surely deserving of an All Star bid in his rookie season, but the shortstop position may be too loaded for him to make it in as a backup infielder.

Long Shots:
Chad Green
Once a spot starter for the Yankees, Chad Green has not only turned into a reliable reliever for the team but also one of the best relievers in baseball overall. In fact, one could make a case that he’s the best non-closer reliever in baseball. He has followed up a breakout 2017 season with yet another dominant first half of the season, proving last season was no fluke. Now, why is he a long shot to make the ASG? Well, it’s awfully hard to make it as a non-closer, as only one or two get the chance to make it. In 33.1 innings of work, Green’s given up just seven earned runs (1.89 ERA), while striking out 43 and accumulating a WAR of 0.7, very close to Chapman’s 1.0.

Dellin Betances
After an abysmal ending to 2017 that included a horrible postseason, Betances followed that up with a rough start to this season that had many Yankee fans doubting his future with the team, including myself. He has since bounced back and shown signs of returning to the elite reliever he was at one time. In 31 innings of work, he’s pitched to a 3.19 ERA and 1.03 WHIP while striking out 55 batters. So, he’s certainly kept his strikeout numbers up and has lowered his WHIP since the rough start to the season. He’s now not allowed a run since May 23, as he’s made nine scoreless appearances in that span. The only time Betances has struggled as of late is when manager Aaron Boone seems to try and get two innings out of him, which has turned out to be a disaster each time. With that being said, as stated before, it’s incredibly hard to make the ASG as a non-closer and Betances hasn’t been good enough nor consistent enough to warrant that kind of consideration this season.

Didi Gregorius
Gregorius has awed Yankee fans for the past few years now in the way he handled taking over Derek Jeter’s spot. He continued his ascend toward being one of the best shortstops in baseball in April, as he was a leading AL MVP, although it was just after a month. Gregorius not only hit a slump in May, but he started to carry it into June before picking things up as of late. He’s now 16-for-51 (.314) on the month and has now regained the hot bat he had at the beginning of the season. By now, his stats aren’t All Star-worthy after his horrific May, as his average has fallen down to .259 and he’s now at 14 homers for the season. To go along with the fact that he’s fallen off, he also has to deal with insane competition at the shortstop position in the AL, as Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Andrelton Simmons, and Manny Machado will all be fighting to make the Midsummer Classic. Like Sanchez, he’s unlikely to make it in because of his average stats but in a minimal chance, he could make it just because he plays for the Yankees.

Giancarlo Stanton
Acquired this offseason in what was a thief of a trade by the Yankees, Stanton has had a bumpy start to his career in pinstripes. His stats are identical to what they were at this time in Miami last year, but in a market like New York, they expect even more. Booed on multiple occasions at Yankee Stadium, Stanton has struck out more than one would like. In fact, he’s struck out in 35.5% of his ABs, with 92 in 259 ABs so far. With that being said, he’s been much better than the fans have made it seem like. With 16 homers on the season, he ranks tied-for-11th in the majors in that department to go along with 37 RBIs and a .243/.320/.479 slash line. Those are solid stats for a guy that’s looked lost at the plate at times and has yet to go on a hot streak. Unfortunately, though, those stats aren’t All Star-worthy, particularly when JD Martinez, a top five hitter in baseball this season, is a DH this season.

Prediction: Judge, Severino, Chapman, Sanchez and Torres will make the ASG.

 Article by: Spencer Schultz

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