It’s been a whirlwind 2017 campaign for the Yankees, yet New York still has another half-season to play.
The youthful Yankees started the season off with a splash, going 15-8 in April. The team leveled off a bit in May, going 15-12, but they were still exceeding expectations. June and the start of July have been a different story, however.
Once a few games ahead in first place in the American League East, the Yankees are now 3.5 back after going 15-21 since May.
The team has gone through some serious struggles lately, but New York remains an exciting, young team. Win or lose, there’s no arguing that these Yankees are fun — a word that’s rarely been used to describe the franchise since it last won a World Series in 2009.
As the All-Star break comes to an end and the second half gets underway, let’s break down what we can expect from these up and down Yankees the rest of the way.
A Better Bullpen
First and foremost, the Yankees should expect their bullpen to turn things around as soon as play resumes on Friday. The unit, a strength early on in the season, has been a disaster lately for New York.
The trio of Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard and Aroldis Chapman have been especially awful. Luckily for the Yankees, all three relievers have terrific track records — there’s no reason to believe each arm won’t straighten itself out. In addition, the Yankees now have a healthy Adam Warren and a suddenly reliable Chad Green providing assistance in the late innings of ballgames.
A Clean-ish Bill of Health
The Yankees bullpen has been the No. 1 reason for their recent slide, but No. 2 has to be injuries. As of right now, the team has six players on the disabled list — Tyler Austin, Greg Bird, Matt Holliday, Starlin Castro, Aaron Hicks and Dustin Fowler — but injuries have attempted to derail the team all season. At one point or another, Warren, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, CC Sabathia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Aroldis Chapman were all sidelined as well.
If all goes according to plan, Austin, Holliday, Hicks and Castro should be able to return soon.
Despite their recent struggles, general manager Brian Cashman has already made it public that the Yankees will be buyers at the trade deadline. The team’s needs are obvious: a first baseman and starter before all else, a third baseman and a reliever on the back burner.
The Yankees have more than enough assets to swing some pretty big deals, but don’t be surprised if Cashman elects to make some more conservative moves. The Yankees have put together one of the best farm systems in baseball and will be hesitant to tear it apart.
Speaking of the farm, expect to see some more kids in the Bronx in the second half. The Yankees have already seen 10 players debut this season, but that number could grow — and that’s before September call-ups.
Some possibilities include Chance Adams, Jorge Mateo and Domingo Acevedo. Count on seeing Miguel Andujar again, too.
Of course, youth is often accompanied by growing pains. We surprisingly haven’t much of the sort from the Baby Bombers — again, blame recent struggles on relievers and injuries — but a learning curve should be expected.
With a team full of rookies, some are sure to struggle here and there. That said, the Yankees should at the very least remain in Wild Card contention the rest of the year with the playoffs a strong possibility.
- Aaron Judge on pace for a 200-strikeout season like no other
- Yanks to be careful buyers as trade deadline approaches
- Heyman | Price high on Quintana with Astros and Yanks waiting