The New York Yankees championship window is closing shut. They were quiet this offseason when it came to free agents, but they made two important trades to acquire shortstop Starlin Castro and closer Aroldis Chapman.
The AL East is expected to be one of the most contested divisions in Major League Baseball. Boston added some big free agents, Toronto’s offense is a beast, Baltimore is always dangerous and Tampa Bay is on the rise.
Does A-Rod, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira have one more championship run left in them?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the New York Yankees.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 87-75
Key Additions: SS Starlin Castro, RP Aroldis Chapman, OF Aaron Hicks, RP Vinnie Pestano, 2B Donovan Solano, OF Chris Denorfia, RP Kirby Yates, SS Jonathan Diaz, 3B Ronald Torreyes, C Carlos Corporan, SS Pete Kozma, 1B Chris Parmalee & SP Anthony Swarzak
Key Losses: SS Stephen Drew, OF Chris Young, SP Adam Warren, RP Justin Wilson, SP Chris Capuano, RP Andrew Bailey, C John Ryan Murphy, SS Brendan Ryan, 2B Jose Pirela & RP Caleb Cotham
Interleague Schedule: NL West
Projected Starters: Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Starlin Castro, Chas Headley, Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran & Alex Rodriguez
Projected Starting Rotation: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, Luis Severino & CC Sabathia
Closer: Aroldis Chapman
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Dustin Ackley – This is a true sleeper. I’m not sure why I still have hope Ackley somehow turns his career around. He was once the #2 overall pick for Seattle, but has had trouble getting on base in his career. He’s a lefty, so the short porch in rightfield at Yankee Stadium could help out his numbers. I wouldn’t draft Ackley unless you’re in a deep AL-only league, but just keep an eye on him.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: C Gary Sanchez – I feel like I’ve been talking about prospect Gary Sanchez for most of my life. He’s only 23 years old, but he’s been in the top ten in the Yankees farm system since he was 17. If Brian McCann gets injured, Sanchez could be called upon. He has double-digit power and his for an okay average.
Team Analysis: The Yankees come into the season with just about all their pieces from last season. They didn’t make any huge splashes in free agency and opted to trade starter Adam Warren to the Cubs for middle infielder Starlin Castro. They also traded for closer Aroldis Chapman, who will take over the same role for the Yankees once he serves his suspension.
The Yankees are long in the tooth and this might be their last shot for guys like Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez to win another ring. They will need to rely on young pitchers like Luis Severino and Michael Pineda to contend.
I love the Yankees bullpen and if they have the lead going into the seventh inning, it will be hard for teams to come back with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman pitching late in the game. I do worry about their starting rotation. They are young and inexperienced when it comes to pitching in a pennant race. If CC Sabathia can regain a little of his former ability, they should be fine.
The Yankees will be tied up in a battle in the AL East. All five teams in the division have a shot at the playoffs this season. There will be no easy games.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 86.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 87-75 (1st in AL East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.