2018 has not gotten off to the start most Yankees fans had hoped for. After adding MVP Giancarlo Stanton along with other pieces such as Neil Walker and Brandon Drury to an already deadly lineup, the Yankees seemed primed for another deep run. However, through 10 games, the Yankees are a mediocre 5-5 causing many fans to call for Aaron Boone’s head while sprinkling in boos for Giancarlo Stanton. Let’s not overreact here. The Yankees are going to be just fine. But let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly through 10 games for the Bronx Bombers.
It’s always good to start with the positives, and Sir Didi has been fantastic. Gregorius is slashing an incredible .375/.524/.906 through 10 games. This goes along with 3 home runs, 10 RBIs and a whopping 10 runs scored. These numbers put him 3rd in the AL in batting average and home runs. He is also leading or tied for the AL lead in RBIs (10), total bases (29), OPS (1.413), runs created (15) and extra base hits (9). To top it all off, in the Yankees home opener against Tampa Bay, Didi knocked in 8 RBIs, including 2 home runs. If you had to pick an MVP after 10 games, Didi Gregorius may very well be your guy.
If Sir Didi is your AL MVP right now, Sevey might have a say for the CY Young. In 2 starts, Severino has gone 13 innings, allowed just 2 runs, and struck out 14 while walking just 4. Sevey is already 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA and looks virtually unhittable. The Yankees have found an ace in Severino. A true test will come Tuesday night, as Severino goes head to head with Chris Sale and the smoking hot Boston Red Sox.
I feel like the Yankees lone lefty that isn’t Aroldis Chapman deserves a shoutout. In 4 innings of work this season (and in some tough spots) Shreve has allowed just 2 hits and has struck out 5. In a bullpen that has been shaky at several points this season, Shreve has been a guarantee to shut down an opposing lineup. Shreve is starting to look like the 2015 version of himself, a year in which he tossed 58.1 innings and struck out 64, pitching to a career-low 3.09 ERA. If this version of Chasen Shreve continues to stick around, the Yankees are in good hands when it comes to taming left handed batters.
I know, I know. You probably remember in Spring Training when I went off on Austin Romine and his years and years of horribleness. But with Gary Sanchez struggling and now injured, Romine has stepped up big time. He has gone 6/15 at the dish, driving in 4 runs including a game-typing opposite field single in the bottom of the 8th Sunday against Darren O’Day. What I’ve been most impressed with is Romine’s ability to go inside out and drive the ball to the opposite field. I know there will be a time later in the season where I regret praising him, but for now keep up the good work Austin. We appreciate you.
Gary might deserve to be listed in the ugly section so far this season. However, after getting beat up for 14 innings in Friday night’s loss against the Orioles, I think El Gary deserves a break. It hasn’t been pretty for the power hitting catcher. A 0.63/0.91/.188 slash line is never pretty no matter what point of the season it is. On the bright side, Gary has put the ball in play, striking out just 5 times in 32 at-bats. After the aforementioned 14 inning game, Sanchez reportedly came into manager Aaron Boone’s office and said he was still feeling pain in his right calf. Sanchez has been shut down since. Given the Yankees have an off day Monday before heading to Boston, Yankees fans are hoping The Kraken is ready to go come Tuesday night.
I hate going after Gardy, but it feels necessary right now. His .238/.347/.357 slash isn’t exactly the worst. What’s bothering me is the amount of strikeouts. 12 strikeouts in 42 at-bats leaves Gardner just 1 behind the strikeout prince Aaron Judge (I think we can safely say Giancarlo Stanton is the king so far), for 3rd most on the team. This is not what you want out of a veteran lead off hitter. Gardner has not yet attempted a stolen base, but on the positive has scored 9 runs already. Age might finally be catching up to the 34 year-old, but I do cut him some slack due to being forced into a centerfield role due to the injuries of Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Robertson has pitched the most innings out of any reliever, going 6.2 while allowing just 3 hits and striking out 5. In fact, Robertson hasn’t even allowed a run in 5 out of his 6 appearances. My fault came on April 1st against Toronto. With the Yankees leading 4-3 in the bottom of the 8th, Robertson came in and loaded the bases before allowing a game winning grand slam to Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak. This cost the Yankees a win and therefore my favorite brawl sprinter is unfortunately also on my bad list today. D Rob has been on-point otherwise and his fastball and nasty breaking ball have been effective for most of his appearances. Look for Boone to possibly give Robertson an added day of rest Tuesday as both Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle have now had multiple days off.
I think we all saw this coming. After hitting a homerun in his first at-bat as a Yankee and being anointed King of New York, it’s been all downhill from there for the reigning NL MVP. 20 strikeouts in 42 at-bats. 20. Count em. This includes 2 games in which Stanton struck out 5 times. Stanton became the first player in Yankees history to have multiple 5 strikeout games. Mind you, he’s been in pinstripes for 10 games. A heavy dose of sliders low and away seem to be Stanton’s weak spot and the AL is on notice. After adding another 5 strikeouts to his Yankees resume today, Stanton is on pace for 324 strikeouts, which would break the MLB record by 101 strikeouts. Wowza. On the bright side, Stanton has hit 3 bombs to go along with 7 RBIs. The boos from Yankees fans continue to get louder, and although I don’t agree with it, what else would you expect from the Bleacher Creatures. Whether it be the cold or the AL, Stanton has not looked pretty at the plate, landing him on the ugly list.
Early season bloated ERAs are always fun to look at. 20.25 for Holder in just 2.2 innings is pretty impressive. Holder has allowed 7 hits and 6 earned runs so far this season. After allowing 3 more runs to Baltimore on Friday, Holder was sent down to Triple-A to reevaluate. This led Yankees fans to breathe a sigh of relief as young flamethrower Domingo German was called up in his place. Perhaps more impressive was the 3 runs in 4 hits Holder allowed to basically a Double-A team in the Rays in just 0.1 innings of work. Could be awhile before we see Johnny Baseball back with the big league club.
The Injury Report
(Pic credits Fox Sports)
This is painful to look at. Losing Greg Bird in a season that many hoped would be a breakout hurt enough to start the year. Ellsbury and Frazier hurt, but seemed replaceable. This was quickly deemed wrong as starting CF Aaron Hicks went down with another muscle strain and backup OF Billy McKinney went down after crashing into a wall in Toronto. These injuries have caused Judge, Gardner and Stanton to essentially play every day in the outfield. At third, the injury to Brandon Drury seems much more serious than a 10-day DL stint. Drury has come out and said he has been battling migraines and vision issues for most of his career now. Drury going down has thrusted Miguel Andujar into the everyday third base role. Andujar was sent down to work on his glove and seemed to have an MLB-ready bat. Since being called up, it seems to have flipped. Andujar has looked lost at the plate but very competent with the glove. Finally, CC Sabathia. CC seems to be a guarantee to have a DL stint at some point in every season, but this one came early. This is why many people advocated for the Yankees to go after guys like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn in the offseason. As of now, the Yankees have yet to name a starter for Sabathia’s previously scheduled start on Thursday. Options include Luis Cessa, which will probably lead to 3 innings of 4 run ball, or possibly seeing Chance Adams get the ball and a chance to prove himself as a starter. Either way, the Yankees injury report so far this campaign and is certainly at least part of the blame for the recent struggles.
Notice I did not have as many ugly’s as I did good. I think the overreaction from Yankees fans so far this season has been noticeable. Aaron Boone has not done a great job managing this team so far, that I won’t argue against. However, managing a team with an injury list this long and putting together makeshift lineups like the one we saw Sunday is never easy. Scoring runs and hitting the ball hard has not been a problem for the Bombers. As the Yankees begin to get healthy and the bullpen starts clicking, this is the same World Series caliber team we were all expecting this offseason. This is a team that started off 6-4 last season, just a game better than the current campaign. Yes, it’s been tough to watch as the Red Sox beat up on everyone in their path. Yes, blowing a 5-0 first inning lead is not fun. But don’t give up on the Yanks just yet.
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(Pic credit: Baseball Essential)