The MLB postseason is nearly upon us and the brackets are slowly starting to come together. In the days leading up to the big day, I will be breaking down the current playoff teams and what their chances are of bringing home the Commissioner's Trophy. The first team on the list is the AL East division champ New York Yankees.
It's not all that surprising to see the New York Yankees sitting atop of the AL East once again. What is incredibly surprising however, is the route they took to get to where they are today.
Not many teams possess the depth to lose 30 players to the IL in a season and still win more than 100 games, but that is exactly what these 2019 Yankees did. They crushed the previous record of players on the IL (26) and still managed to field an all star caliber team every night.
It's not like they were losing some scrubs either. Miguel Andujar, Dellin Betances, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Giancarlo Stanton are just a handful of the names that have missed significant time this season due to injury.
With so many stars hitting the shelf the question is real simple... how the hell did they pull that off? To answer that question you need to look at the incredible play of some of their depth/role players, first and foremost with the bats of both D.J LeMahieu and Gio Urshela. LeMahieu, the least surprising of the two, had a slash line of .329/.377/.523 while career highs in RBIs (99) HRs (26). To top it off, he was able to play all around the infield to give the Yankees the much needed flexibility that they needed.
Urshela meanwhile, had a breakout season himself. In 128 games, the 27 year old had a .316/.356/.535 slash line with 73 RBI and 20 HR. The two infielders helped soften the blow of the early loss of Didi Gregorious, Troy Tulowitzki, and Miguel Andujar.
The main key to success with this team however, lies within their bullpen and the continued dominance it has shown. Apart from the recently returned Luis Severino, and the recently hot James Paxton, the rotation has looked like a dumpster fire this season; even more so with Domingo German out following his alleged domestic assault.
Luckily for the Yankees, it's been shown year after year that you can win a World Series with a lock down bullpen, and this team was built under that guise. With four or five capable closers holding down the back end of the bullpen, it's very easy to consider this pen as the best in all of the sport. Even with the heartbreaking loss of Dellin Betances to a season ending injury, they still possess a lethal back end that can eat up a lot of innings.
1. D.J LeMahieu, 3B
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Didi Gregorious, SS
4. Giancarlo Stanton, LF
5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
6. Gleyber Torres, 2B
7. Gary Sanchez, C
8. Luke Voit, 1B
9. Brett Gardner, CF
Gio Urshela, Austin Romine, Cameron Maybin
1. James Paxton
2. Luis Severino
3. Masahiro Tanaka
4. J.A Happ
5. C.C Sabathia
Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zach Britton, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, Stephen Tarpley, Ben Heller
What do they have to do to win?
With the Yankees it's a very simple strategy... Clobber the ball. With a bullpen like theirs, If this team can manage to slug their way to a lead in the fourth or fifth of inning every game, then we may be looking at a 28th World Series for the evil empire.