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Opening Day Delay Benefits New York Yankees: MLB Predictions

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Opening Day Delay Benefits New York Yankees: MLB Predictions
James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

Will the delay to Opening Day ultimately benefit bettors holding NY Yankees MLB futures odds tickets?

Earlier this week, the only people who had profited from the virus were those selling toilet paper, face masks and hand sanitizer. Panic-buying has emptied store shelves of bathroom tissue, with face masks and hand sanitizer being offered for sale at premium prices on eBay, which tells me a lot about the intelligence of both the buyers and sellers.

That has since changed with everything from concerts to the NCAA Tournament being canceled as public health officials do everything they can to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Many of the final dominoes fell Thursday, including Major League Baseball cancellation the rest of Spring Training along with delaying the start of the 2020 season by a minimum of two weeks.

Later Start Should Help Some Injured Yankees

The cancellations are certainly no benefit to the thousands of people who depend on those events for their livelihoods, from popcorn vendors to parking lot attendants. The NCAA Tournament is an absolute boon to sportsbooks, and as those casinos go silent over the next few weeks, the effect will surely trickle down to hotel employees as well as restaurants, bars, etc., that depend on them being crowded and booked to the max.

At the risk of appearing callous to those people and downplaying the whole mess, the decision by MLB to delay the start of the season does have its silver lining for some teams, especially the New York Yankees. The favorite to win a 41st American League Pennant, and sitting either just in front of or just behind the Los Angeles Dodgers on MLB futures boards to win the World Series, New York execs, players and fans were just as bummed as the rest of the sports world to see games and events canceled or postponed.

Still, the delay should benefit the Yankees by giving several key players time to heal injuries. New York persevered through a 2019 campaign that seemingly had one crucial cog in the machine after another go on the Injured List, and we learned just how deep the team is as less-heralded players stepped up to help the team to 103 wins before falling to Houston in the ALCS.

DJ LeMahieu #26 of the New York Yankees celebrates with Aaron Judge #99. Mike Stobe/Getty Images/AFP

Potential For Paxton To Miss Fewer Starts

Among those who missed time last year were Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and both have been sidelined in Spring Training as well. Judge has a stress fracture to a right rib, and the timetable for an exact return has not been set.

Stanton was nursing a strained calf that was expected to keep him out until mid-April, meaning it’s possible he could be ready to play whenever the new Opening Day comes. Various injuries restricted Stanton to just 18 games last year while Judge missed about two months, and having both of those sticks in the lineup obviously means a lot for the Yankees in 2020.

The delay should clear up questions surrounding both Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar regarding their availability for Opening Day. Sanchez has missed time this spring with a back issue as well as the flu (not the virus), and the backstop should be ready to go when play resumes. Andujar is coming off a season derailed by shoulder surgery and appeared in 11 games this spring with the team giving him some reps in the outfield in hopes of adding some versatility to the runner-up in the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year.

Unless the entire season gets canceled, it won’t help Luis Severino who is on the mend following Tommy John’s surgery last month. Losing him for a second consecutive year only accentuates the importance of signing free agent Gerrit Cole over the winter. The delayed start should benefit James Paxton, however. The southpaw had back surgery in February, and the initial prognosis was Paxton would be out through May. That has been moved up to mid-May now, and if the regular season doesn’t resume until late-April, as many believe, that could mean Paxton only misses 3-5 starts, not the 10+ as the injury first meant.

Luis Severino #40 of the New York Yankees on October 15, 2019. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

Would Reduced Number Of Games Benefit All Bullpens?

Just how long it is before baseball does return becomes the $64,000 question. If the regular season could start in mid-April, the games missed the first two weeks could be tacked on at the end or made up during the course of the season, meaning a full 162-game fixture. That best-case scenario seems iffy at best, however, and the general consensus is the schedule will be shortened with 144 and 154 total games being tossed around.

A shorter season, in theory, would seem to benefit relievers across baseball. We’ve seen how taxed bullpens have been for teams once they reach the postseason the past few years, so it figures that if a reliever throws 5-10 fewer games or innings, their arms would be fresher come October. New York has the top bullpen in the American League, so that could be a positive for manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees in search of a 28th World Series Championship.

Whenever play does resume, one thing that won’t be any different is New York being chalked to the hilt on the MLB odds. In uncertain times, it’s at least comforting to know some things in life never change.