So, moving on from the batters, we come to survey the pitchers who have made the opening day roster and those who were around in Spring Training but didn’t quite make it. No real surprises here and once the team had decided to re-sign CC Sabathia, everything was settled except the last couple of relief appointments.
(Normally I would have far more coverage of Spring Training than I have this year but with Easter coming early, my other preoccupations have prevented that. My apologies to my regular readers).
If you would have asked me at the end of the 2017 which position the Yankees would sign someone new for in the off-season, my prediction would not have been rightfield. Rookie of the year, Aaron Judge, it seemed had that all stitched up.
Also, if you’d asked me who after Judge was the least likely player to leave, one of my first choices would have been 2b Starlin Castro who impressed so much at the plate and defensively and proved a fearsome double play combination with Didi Gregorius.
Including 1st October (End of regular season)
The Yankees’ pitching has been amazing in 2017. Every time someone under-performed, someone else stepped up to fill the gap. When Aroldis Chapman lost his way, it just happened that Dellin Betances was on form. When Betances struggled, Chapman regained his form. Adam Warren injured? Chad Green pitches phenomenally to fill the gap. Masahiro Tanaka not quite up to the ace billing? Then here’s Severino doing everything as a starter he couldn’t do in 2016 and CC Sabathia doing more than his aging limbs should allow. Let’s look at the whole picture
includes 1st October (to end of regular season)
The New York Yankees were sensational with their bats during September – especially Jacoby Ellsbury who was so consistent and Aaron Judge who having struggled with his mechanics since the All-Star break suddenly bounced back with immense power. Let’s look at how the whole line-up performed:
The Yankees had an amazing month in June. Staggering in the way it came together… and then fell apart.
Through to the 12th of the month, they went 8-3 with the bats exploding. Thereafter, it was 5-12. This left them with a month of 13-15 and a clear leadership swept away with Boston opening, in turn, a clear lead on the boys from the Bronx.
A lot of this was due to injuries but also the team saw some of their players returning to the form they might have expected at the beginning of the year. Let’s review it all… starting with the guys with the lumber.
The Yankees got off to a strong start in April – stronger than most had anticipated. They tussled for the lead in the American League East with the Baltimore Orioles.
In May, even more surprisingly, they maintained that trajectory whilst Baltimore faded slightly and the Boston Red Sox came into the picture. But by the end of the month, there was a couple of games clear lead that the Yankees had carved out ahead of their two rivals. Impressive.
The Yankees’ pitching rotation, going into the season, looked quite evidently their greatest weakness.
By contrast, their bullpen looked like their greatest strength.
What would happen if the bullpen lived up to its billing and the rotation was more consistent than expected?
That would be April 2017, which is the way that it has worked out in practise!