New York Yankees 2019 Season Preview: Fantasy Analysis

2018 Record: 100–62

Projected 2019 Record: 97–65

2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook

Coming into the 2018 season, the Yankees were dubbed the best team in baseball. Not only had Aaron Judge established himself as a premiere slugger in the MLB during his rookie season, but the Yanks had also added the leagues other premiere slugger in Giancarlo Stanton.

Yet, the Yankees did not win the AL East. They were bested by the Red Sox by a pretty large margin of 8 games. This was crazy given that the Yankees won 100 games and, generally speaking, met the expectations that fans, and critics set for them in the preseason. They won the top wild card spot and made it to the ALDS, knocking out the Oakland A’s in the process. They were met in the ALDS, however, by a Red Sox team that proved to be unbeatable, ultimately ending their 2018 season.

Despite their disappointing end to last season, the Yanks made some moves to strengthen both their lineup and bullpen in the offseason, and are once again among the favorites

2019 Yankees Storylines

100 wins was not enough for this historic franchise. The Yankees decided to go out this offseason and strengthen their team even more, adding players such as Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki, and Zach Britton. These moves greatly strengthen the deep Yankees bullpen that already features the likes of Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. However, with so many talented players and only a limited number of positions to fill on the team, questions surrounding the roles of each player arise.

Who will play shortstop? Obviously Tulowitzki is an option, but the Yanks are more likely to go with Didi Gregorius or Adeiny Hechevarria. Also important is what the outfield will look like. The only guaranteed spot, right field, will surely be given to Aaron Judge. Finally, how will all of the new talent fit into the already-talented bullpen?

Yankees Starting Pitchers

Luis Severino: Severino is undoubtedly the most talented starter the Yankees have. The hard-throwing righty was recently resigned with the Yankees and is eager to continue proving his worth to the team. He went 19-8 in 2018 with a 3.39 ERA and 220 strikeouts in 2018 over 191 innings. Expect something similar from the star in 2019.

James Paxton: Paxton is exciting to join the Yanks organization after a strong season in 2018 with the Mariners. He’s coming to New York as part of a 3-player exchange which, most notably, sent top-rated lefty Justus Sheffield to the Mariners. Paxton looks to play a pivotal, number 2 guy role in the rotation. He went 11-6 in 2018 with a 3.76 ERA and 208 strikeouts over 160 innings. He also threw a no-hitter.

Masahiro Tanaka: Japan native Masahiro Tanaka gears up for his 5thseason with the Yankees. In his first 5 seasons, Tanaka has only had one mediocre year (2017) and has generally turned in solid performances for the Bronx bombers. He went 12-6 in 2018 with a 3.75 ERA and 159 strikeouts over 156 innings.

JA Happ: Happ is exciting to be returning to the Yankees after one of the best years of his career. Over the 2018 season, which he spit between the Blue Jays and Yankees, Happ posted a 17-6 record, a 3.65 ERA, and 193 strikeouts over 177.2 innings pitched. The southpaw looks to continue baffling hitters with his change-up and hopefully put up similar numbers this upcoming season.

CC Sabathia: A veteran and a leader, Sabathia will play his final MLB season in 2019 with the Yankees. He has had a historic career, which has included 6 all-star game appearances and an AL Cy Young award. Sabathia went 9-7 in 2018 with a 3.65 ERA and 140 K’s over 153 innings. He hopes to close out his career on a positive note.

Yankees Relievers

The pure strength of the Yankees bullpen at this point is simply jaw dropping. If their bullpen wasn’t already good enough last season, the addition of Adam Ottavino and Zach Britton will surely do the trick. You are now looking at the following scenario: even if a Yankees starter does not go more than 5 innings, they have enough all-star relief to hold down a game easily. Ottavino and Britton join a bullpen that already features the likes of veteran David Robertson, set up man Dellin Betances, and closer Aroldis Chapman. Opponents better hope they can get to the Yankees starters early, because once these guys come into the game, run scoring opportunities are close to none.

Yankees Hitters

When it comes to hitting, the Yankees are just as loaded as their pitching. After all, a team that features the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton alone are already stacked. But that’s not all. Shortstop Didi Gregorius is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, batting close to .300. And while Gary Sanchez struggled during the 2018 season, he looks to return to his original rookie form. Over his first two seasons, Sanchez mashed 53 home runs in 177 games.

In 2018, the Yankees managed to win 100 games despite the fact that Judge was out of the lineup for two months. Stanton, in his first year as a yankee, blasted 38 homeruns and knocked in 100 RBI’s, nothing compared to what he’s proven capable of.

And you can’t forget about the Yankees’ young core, led by Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. Both put up strong numbers in their rookie year, and Andujar nearly won the AL Rookie of the Year award (he was bested by the Angles Shohei Ohtani).

Finally, this is likely to be the last season on the Yankees for Brett Gradner. Gardner has only played for the Yankees in his 11 years and has been a central part of the Yankees’ outfield since the start of the decade.

Despite having already broken the single season home run record, the Yankees look to have an even stronger season offensively in 2019.

Yankees Projected Lineup:

  1. Aaron Hicks
  2. Aaron Judge
  3. Didi Gregorius
  4. Giancarlo Stanton
  5. Luke Voit
  6. Miguel Andujar
  7. Gary Sanchez
  8. Brett Garnder
  9. Gleyber Torres

2019 Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters

Giancarlo StantonGiancarlo Stanton – When you look back at last season, you wouldn’t understand why people were upset with Giancarlo Stanton. He didn’t blast 50+ HR, but he hit 38 and had over 100 RBI and R each. Stanton has always been strikeout happy, and that isn’t going to change, but hitting over .260 with his power potential still makes him one of the top fantasy bats in baseball. Looking ahead at 2019, we can expect a jump in HR production, but expect everything else to remain the same.

Aaron HicksAaron Hicks – Aaron Hicks might not be the Aaron you were thinking about, as Aaron Judge might come to mind as the other masher. Hicks is coming off a strong season where he hit a career high in HR (27). Hicks is projected to hit high in the order, in front of names like Stanton, Judge, and Sanchez. He is going to be an excellent source of runs to combine with his power, and the same goes for RBI with how deep this lineup is.

2019 Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers

Luis SeverinoLuis Severino – We will need to stop freaking out over Luis Severino’s second half performance last season. His first half ERA was 2.31, and his second was 5.57. However, nothing really changed outside of some truly bad luck. He had a lower xFIP in the second half compared to the first, and his K-BB% stayed exactly the same. This is where things change, he had a .379 BABIP compared to .278, and just a 63 percent LOB%. His HR/FB also went up 6% in the second half. Look for Severino to return as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

James PaxtonJames Paxton – The Big Maple is now in the Big Apple. James Paxton was traded over the offseason from Seattle, and has easily been their best pitcher. He solidifies the Yankees as one of the best rotations in baseball, but what does that mean for Paxton’s fantasy projections? Getting to 180+ innings has never happened for Paxton, and I would expect him to hover around 150-160. He has electric stuff, especially his high velocity fastball that he relies on quite often. He boasted an 11.6 K/9 last season, and has always had strong control. He is going to give up some HRs at times, but overall there isn’t a big difference in what he is posting over the last few seasons.

 

  
Noah Wadhwani lives in Sacramento, California but grew up in Boston as a die-hard New England sports fan. He is currently a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley and is intending to major in applied mathematics or economics. Aside from sports, Noah’s other main passion is travel and has spent time living abroad in Denmark and Argentina.

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