By Ivan Morrobel
Published: October 31st, 2018
If you go by the traditional “World Series or bust” motto that most New York Yankee fans have become accustomed to, then this year’s team flopped when they were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series (ALDS).
The Yankees undoubtedly began this season with high expectations.
A team that was given the moniker “Baby Bombers” in 2017 reached a plateau that left this year’s Yankees with little wiggle room for any shortcomings. However, the front office made some major changes by hiring former third baseman Aaron Boone as the manager and acquiring the 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton.
Initially, the Yankees were forced to cope with an infield that was questionable, before turning into something more youthful and talented when they decided to call-up two eventual Rookie of the Year candidates in Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. But along with the newcomers, the Yankees dealt with more hiccups than expected as the 2018 regular season progressed.
As they managed to stay afloat in the AL East with the postseason around the corner, the Yankees made several acquisitions. Luke Voit, Zach Britton, J.A. Happ, and former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen were among the players who were brought on-board to provide depth and bolster the team’s needs. However, outside of Voit who hit .333/.405/.689 with 14 homers, Happ, Britton and McCutchen displayed lackluster performances.
Right-hander Luis Severino, who appeared to be nearly unhittable in his first 20 starts when he posted a 2.31 ERA, was nightmarish during the second half of the season.
Sonny Gray was acquired via trade last year and was expected to be one of the best starting pitchers in the Yankees’ starting rotation, but instead had one of his worst seasons to date and lost his job as a starter.
25-year-old backstop Gary Sanchez had an inferior year as he never found his approach at the plate which generated his .186 batting average in 89 measly games. In addition to Sanchez missing close to fifty percent of the season, Greg Bird, Aroldis Chapman, and Aaron Judge missed significant time with various injuries.
Now, evidently, the injuries and inconsistency may have very well nixed the Yankees’ season, though they managed to reach several feats.
The Bronx Bombers won 100 games for the first time since 2009. Despite losing to the Red Sox in four games, it’s safe to say that this ball club has become a force to be reckoned with. The Yankees have a core group of young players that have yet to reach their full potential. Ultimately leaving room for improvement as they proceed in their respective careers.
They also broke the single-season home run record (267) which was last set by the 1997 Seattle Mariners (264). Although their lack of power in the playoffs burdened them as they struggled to score runs in critical situations, the Yankees are more than likely going to break their own record over the next couple of seasons.
Throughout the season, the Yankees were notorious for their stunning bullpen. Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Chad Green showed how good they are once again, along with a respectable duo at the top of their starting rotation in Severino and Masahiro Tanaka. Also, 36-year-old Happ, who is a free agent at the moment, performed well in most of his outings with a 2.69 ERA as a member of the Yankees. The team’s pitching as a whole combined for a 3.78 ERA (10th overall).
And while the Yankees weren’t able to have a ticker tape parade this year, the main takeaway for their fanbase should be experience. Many fans fail to realize that a majority of the Yanks’ success relies on young and inexperienced players. Yes, they took a step back after making it to Game 7 of the ALCS last year, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to failure unless you’re general manager Brian Cashman.
In spite of being dismissed at the hands of their nemesis, the Yankees deserve a letter grade of B as a whole.