Five most important players for the Yankees to be successful in 2019
The Yankees open 2019 with one goal in mind, to win a World Series Championship. Anything less would be considered a disappointment. In order to achieve this, New York will need solid production from the entire roster, but a couple players stand out as most important for the Yankees to secure their 28th title.
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5. 3B Miguel Andújar
This offseason, the Yankees made a big bet that Miguel Andújar could improve when they decided to pass on Manny Machado. With Andújar, who is still just 24 years old, it really comes down to his defense. His bat was great in 2018, slugging 27 homers to go along with 92 RBIs and a .297 average. This led to Andújar placing second in the American League Rookie of the Year vote behind only Shohei Ohtani. That said, to confirm his spot as third baseman of the future, Andújar must improve defensively. Last season Andújar had -25 defensive runs saved. The uncertainty with Andújar is what makes him so important to the Yankees success in 2019. If he could hit like he did in 2018 and improve his fielding, he will be one of the best third basemen in baseball and give the Yankees a major lift. If he continues to struggle defensively, he will likely lose at-bats and New York may find themselves looking for a replacement.
4. DH Giancarlo Stanton
After the 2017 season when the Bombers acquired Giancarlo Stanton, they thought they were getting an MVP type of player. He did have an outstanding year in his last season in Miami, batting .281 with 59 homers and 132 RBIs. Stanton was not quite as good in 2018. He struck out 48 more times while slugging 38 home runs and 100 RBIs. That is not a bad year by any means, but not the exceptional campaign he put together with the Marlins. Some of this is definitely because it took him awhile to get acclimated to playing in New York and facing pitchers he did not see often, so Stanton has a good chance to get back to where he was in 2017, which could really put the Yankees’ offense over the top.
3. SP James Paxton
James Paxton has everything it takes to be a great pitcher in New York and give the Yankees’ rotation a big boost. Paxton has dealt with numerous injuries over his career that have held him back from being one of the best pitchers in a baseball, but he has been very effective when healthy with a 3.42 career ERA. If Paxton is able to stay healthy in 2019, he is capable of being a top pitcher in the American League to pair with Luis Severino at the top of the rotation. There is also risk with Paxton, if he gets injured or is ineffective it will really hold New York back. Like Andújar, the uncertainty around Paxton is what make him so important. If he reaches his potential the Yankees will have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball but if not, it could be the weakness of the team.
2. SP Luis Severino
Luis Severino is currently suffering from inflammation in his right rotator cuff and is not expected to return to action until sometime in May. Although this is a tough blow for New York early on, Severino will be one of the most important players for the Yankees when he returns. In order for the Yankees to reach their goals, he will need to be the ace he was in the first half of 2018. The top competition for the Yankees all has at least one dominant starting pitcher that New York needs Severino to be able to counter in any potential playoff series. If Severino could take the next step in 2019, he could help carry the Yankees to their goals.
1. RF Aaron Judge
Heading into 2019 the most important player for the Yankees to be successful is their best player. New York needs Judge to stay healthy and productive in order to beat out the Red Sox and win the AL East. They also need him on the field because he has become the unquestionable leader of the team. Judge should be considered an MVP candidate in 2019 and has everything it takes to lead the Yankees back to the World Series.
Article by: Mark CianoFollow @markciano23