2018 Yankees: They Could Be in Trouble if Stanton or Judge Goes Down

Mark Lathrop

Friday, February 16, 2018 1:02 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 1:02 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop continues his team previews with the New York Yankees of the AL East. The future looks bright for this club, but do the futures look bright as well?

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the New York Yankees out of the AL East. The Yankees flew over their 82.5 total line with a 91-win season in 2017 that took an AL Wild Card spot. The market has adjusted for 2018 with a win total line set at 94.5 at BetOnline.

Pitching Staff

The Yankees pitching staff does not have many holes in it, with strengths in both the starting rotation and in the bullpen. Anchored by the trio of Luis Severino, Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees return a top 3 that put up 11.2 combined WAR last year. CC Sabathia will try to eat up innings (and hopefully not much else) and stay healthy, while Jordan Montgomery will look to build on a very respectable 2.7 WAR in his rookie campaign.

The Yankees' bullpen is likely the best in baseball with five players that put up over 1 WAR last year. Aroldis Chapman is the closer by proxy, but the Yankees have 3 arms who could fill that role with any other team.

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Yesterday, #99 spoke to the media about his off-season shoulder surgery, his eagerness to talk shop with @Giancarlo818, and the motivation his new manager has already given him. @BryanHoch has the recap! pic.twitter.com/JrvFHFOhZB

— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 15, 2018


Let’s get to what everyone will be interested in seeing when the season begins: What a lineup of new addition Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will perform like. Judge and Stanton alone are projected to put up more WAR on offense than four entire MLB lineups did in 2017. The rest of the lineup for the Yankees, less catcher Gary Sanchez, is not as offensively inclined. The infield for the Yankees is especially underwhelming, with no player projected to put up more than 1.6 WAR. What I’m saying is that if the Yankees add an infielder with some pop to their roster, I would not be surprised.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

There are a few players on the Yankees' roster who could put them over the top in the division if they perform well. On offense, 25-year-old Greg Bird showed flashes of talent in 2015 before missing 2016 and showed that again in late 2017. He will be somewhat protected in this lineup and could have surprising season in terms of RBI production.

On the pitching staff, Montgomery is projected to take a step back from his 2.7 WAR 2017 season. Being that he is only 25 and coming off a solid rookie season, a step forward is not entirely out of the question either. He’s tall, a lefty and has good command – all great things. In the bullpen, Dellin Betances is the key and could make a game with New York only 7 innings this season. Betances lost control in 2017 to the tune of a 6.64 BB/9 rate. My first concern is that would be a signal for an elbow issue. However, if he can pull that together he would gain the nearly 3 WAR he put up in 2014 through 2016.

With so much of the Yankees' offense tied up in 2 players, one of which is an injury risk (Stanton), and a very competitive AL East Division, I lean 'under' the 94.5-win total currently offered by the markets. However, I will wait until my sabermetrics-based model and rosters are complete before making a final call.

Pre-Model Free MLB Projection: Under 94.5 WinsBest Line Offered: BetOnline
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