Publish date:

1 YANKEES

Author:

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP NEW YORK

Aaron Boone is a very lucky man, inheriting a good team that got even better over the winter.... It's a real thing, new guys coming into New York and putting too much pressure on themselves—but it's not going to happen with Giancarlo Stanton because he doesn't need to be the guy....Aaron Judge has eight-foot-long arms so his swing gets long, but after struggling in the second half he proved in September that he can make adjustments.... The lightbulb went off for Didi Gregorius. He felt he had to be a star in Arizona and is comfortable in New York.... Aaron Hicks lifted the ball more last season and is seeing that the approach is sustainable in Yankee Stadium.... This is the best bullpen in baseball. Dellin Betances and Dave Robertson could close on any club, so even if Aroldis Chapman goes down, they're still in good shape. With that unit, you just need five, six good innings from your starters, and they'll get that on most nights.... Sonny Gray will be even better this year—he was meant to pitch on a big stage like New York. Jordan Montgomery has a high arm angle, a big overhand curveball, and he pitches inside with his fastball: You look at him and you see Andy Pettitte.... Credit to this organization: It stuck to a plan—trading veterans for prospects—and it's going to reap rewards for a while now.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

For anyone who grew up during Peak Steinbrenner, the most remarkable thing about the 21st-century Yankees is their stability. Aaron Boone becomes just their third manager in 23 seasons, following long runs by Joe Torre and Joe Girardi. Boone, who spent the last eight years in the broadcast booth, has no managerial experience, and he follows a man, in Girardi, who in most seasons helped the Yankees to a better record than their underlying performance would've suggested. It didn't help the perception of Boone's readiness when on March 10, he neglected to have a pitcher ready to replace Dellin Betances in a spring training game. The Yankees have added Giancarlo Stanton and Neil Walker to a team that was one win short of the World Series, but their year could come down to whether the rookie in the dugout can learn his job on the fly.

OVER / UNDER

93.5

The Yankees won 91 last year but their +198 run differential suggests they should have won 99. Adding Stanton will push them close to the century mark.

THE LINEUP

1. LEFTFIELD

Brett Gardner

.260 BA/15 HR/17 SB

2. RIGHTFIELD

Aaron Judge

.253 BA/.525 SLG/38 HR

FANTASY BREAKOUT

3. FIRST BASE

Greg Bird

.246 BA/.489 SLG/26 HR

A lefty extreme flyball hitter, Bird has a swing that plays perfectly in Yankee Stadium.

4. DH

Giancarlo Stanton

.279 BA/.654 SLG/54 HR

5. CATCHER

Gary Sánchez

.265 BA/.515 SLG/30 HR

6. SHORTSTOP

Didi Gregorius

.268 BA/20 HR/5 SB

7. CENTERFIELD

Aaron Hicks

.249 BA/15 HR/10 SB

8. THIRD BASE

Brandon Drury

.261 BA/11 HR/2 SB

9. SECOND BASE

Neil Walker

.267 BA/16 HR/3 SB

THE STAFF

1. RH STARTER

Luis Severino

14 W/3.58 ERA/10.2 K9

2. RH STARTER

Masahiro Tanaka

12 W/3.99 ERA/1.20 WHP

3. RH STARTER

Sonny Gray

12 W/4.27 ERA/1.36 WHP

4. LH STARTER

CC Sabathia

9 W/4.68 ERA/1.41 WHP

CLOSER

Aroldis Chapman

29 S/2.91 ERA/13.2 K9

THE SKIPPER

Aaron Boone