As the 2018 season creeps closer, the New York Yankees seem to be the most well rounded team heading into spring training. From the surface, with names like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius, and so on, you can make the argument that Aaron Boone may simply pick names out of a hat to compile a deadly 9 man starting lineup. However, even with a roster full of devastating offensive power, things can't be as effortless as we all imagine them to be.
Here is a list of 5 key rules the Yankees need to follow in order to win a pennant, and hopefully a World Series, in 2018. No, these things do not HAVE to happen in order for the Bronx Bombers to sit atop the American League, but this could be their recipe for a record breaking season.
1. IF JORDAN MONTGOMERY IS IN THE STARTING ROTATION, REMOVE ALL INNING LIMITATIONS IN 2018
One of the most frustrating decisions of 2017 was the mid season demotion of lefty pitcher, Jordan Montgomery. In the month of June, Montgomery started in 5 games and pitched to a 4-0 record. More importantly, during that 5 game stretch, he held a 2.59 ERA in 31.1 IP. The Yankees never officially admitted to an innings limit on Montgomery, but when you replace him with Jaime Garcia, after the numbers he put up on the big league level, there's really no other explanation. If the Yankees don't, in fact, acquire another SP, it's not the end of the world. But if Jordan Montgomery is your 5th starter, LET THE KID PITCH.
2. GIANCARLO STANTON MUST PROTECT AARON JUDGE
I don't care where you want to hit these guys in the lineup, 2nd & 3rd, maybe 3rd & 4th. Allowing Stanton to protect Judge, however, is crucial. In 2017, Aaron Judge held an average of .357 on balls put in play as opposed to Giancarlo Stanton, with a .288 BAbip. This means that if Judge can limit his K's in 2018, his batting average and OBP should see a substantial increase. And what better way to see more pitches in the zone than by having the reining NL MVP and home run leader hitting behind you. Don't worry, Stanton will have plenty of protection himself, but it's imperative that he protects #99 in this lineup.
3. FIND A HOME FOR GLEYBER TORRES
This one is simple. No more of the "Torres will come up when he's ready" talk. Gleyber Torres needs to be in the starting lineup come Opening Day. Ready or not, Torres is the Yankees' future, and they need to find a home for him. With the 2nd and 3rd base positions currently vacant, the Yankees can place him where they feel most comfortable. Let him work out his kinks on the big league level and show what he can accomplish in the Bronx.
4. GET DELLIN BETANCES BACK ON THE RIGHT TRACK
There's no arguing that Dellin Betances, when on top of his game, is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. With a career 314.1 IP under his belt, Betances holds an astonishing 2.29 ERA with the Yankees. His weakness, especially in 2017, has been his lack of command. If the Yankees can find a way to get Betances back on track, throwing strikes and staying effective, this team will win 100+ games in 2018. The depth he brings to this bullpen is incomparable. Don't give up hope on Betances so quickly. Let's make him dominant again this season.
5. GIVE ADAMS A 'CHANCE'
There's one thing we can all guarantee in 2018, injuries will occur. And at some point in time a SP will inevitably head to the DL, opening a spot for a AAA call up. Chance Adams needs to be the "organizational depth" in 2018, if still a member of the New York Yankees at the start of the season. The days of Luis Cessa "spot starting" need to be LONG behind us. If CC goes down with a knee injury, or Tanaka's elbow starts acting up, who better than Chance Adams to get the call? The anticipation surrounding Adams will keep Yankee fans intrigued and if he's as good as advertised, he should fill the void seamlessly.
-Chris Jr. (@ChrisJr_NYYST)
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