Yankees 2023 Season Preview
The New York Yankees thought they had strengthened their rotation in the off-season by adding Carlos Rodon. Funny thing about adding injury-plagued players after one good year…the injuries seem to come back. Rodon starts the year on the injured list with forearm and back issues. Last year he went 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 1.03 WHIP for the San Francisco Giants. Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Luis Severino are as good a top three as there is but the drop-off to Domingo Germán (4.40 career ERA) is fairly steep. Jhony Brito looked good at all of his recent minor league stops (4.25 strikeouts-per-walk). He might bump Germán to the bullpen.
Anthony Rizzo hit .222 last year and he blamed the shift. But the shift wasn’t new last year. What was new was the pressure of playing in New York and a substantial decrease in his ground ball to fly ball percentage compared to his best years of 2018 and 2019 with the Chicago Cubs. Simply put: he’s been trying to hit dingers. Fortunately for him and his ego he can blame the shift. But while in Chicago he had 100 runs batted in while not hitting more than 27 home runs. He hit 32 last year but drove in only 74. It is interesting to note that according to The Athletic he was shifted on 82.6 percent of the time last year, either with three infielders on the right side of the infield or with four outfielders to stop the line drives to left field…or both.
The biggest barometer of the Yankees season will be DJ LeMahieu. When he’s healthy, he’s a hall-of-famer. Consider this: he hit .261 last year, with a hernia and a broken foot. If he’s not right, they may make the playoffs but his approach is too crucial in the postseason to be without.
Sure the Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge trio is dangerous and can carry a team through stretches in the summer. But in the fall? It will come down to pitching and how much the Yankees can acquire at the trade deadline.