Like a lot of folks, I love to make baseball predictions. Like a lot of folks, I have limited success. Here’s a look at some of the predictions I made for the Yankees at the end of March, with a bit of July commentary:
Catcher: Gary Sanchez plays like he has something to prove and proves it by ripping 25 home runs and making the AL All-Star team.
Well, right off the bat, a prediction I just nailed. Except for the fact that he has reached the power prediction in half a season.
First Base: THIS is the year of Greg Bird. He takes the job from Luke Voit in May and slugs over .500 on the season.
Second Base: Gleyber Torres continues his improvement; another All-Star game selection. He moves into the upper class of MLB second basemen. DJ LeMahieu performs very capably in utility role. His solid performance at second base particularly makes it tempting for Aaron Boone to frequently put Torres at shortstop.
Gleyber has had a great second season, performing very capably at second and shortstop. His All-Star snub was fixed as he was recently added to the AL All Star team. I was kinda right on LeMahieu, though my “capably” performance prediction greatly underestimates the MVP caliber performance we have seen.
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki starts out hot, then the strain of his recent injury history and rust of not playing last year catches up – at the same time Didi comes back. Gregorius is a bit rusty at first, but rounds into shape by the end of the season. Gleyber also logs about 25 games at shortstop. All in all acceptable shortstop play.
My bottom line of “All in all, acceptable shortstop play” was correct. It was who did it that I missed. Gleyber and Didi have combined for solid and sometimes elite shortstop performance. I was a bit overly optimistic about Tulowitski’s ability to stay healthy.
Third Base: Miguel Andujar regresses slightly at the plate, but makes up for it with defensive improvement. LeMahieu adds solid play as well. No regrets in passing on Machado.
Andujar’s injury makes this prediction impossible to validate. The performance of Gio Urshela and LeMahieu on the other hand has backed the “No regrets” prediction well thus far. Of course, I never saw Urshela coming.
Right Field: MVP-type season from Aaron Judge.
Again, injuries make this tough to evaluate, though Judge has played very well when healthy.
Center Field: Mixed bag as Aaron Hicks struggles with health and performance and splits time in center with Gardner. Gardner starts the season fast, but his offense wilts in the summertime heat. His defensive performance remains solid.
Gardner actually looks to be picking up a bit as of late. I’m sad that I’ve basically got Hicks right so far, though he’s played well over the past couple of weeks.
Left Field: Hicks’ struggle with health will put Giancarlo Stanton in left field more often, and he splits time with Gardner and Clint Frazier. Like many stars imported by the Yanks, watch him settle in during his second season with the club and have an MVP worthy season.
I still think a healthy Stanton would have been a force this season. Let’s hope he can come back soon and stay healthy the rest of the summer.
Designated Hitter: Stanton and Voit will get most of the DH at bats. Voit will not produce like last summer’s 1.095 OPS, but will be a steady contributor to the offense with over 20 home
While I did not get Voit’s position right, my performance prediction was pretty much on base thus far.
Luis Severino – Shakes off the early injury problems to turn in an ace performance. Has something left in the tank for postseason.
Darned injuries! Hoping this still happens.
James Paxton - Big Maple shows he is made for New York and becomes a fan favorite, turning in an All-Star performance. He will take well to postseason in Yankee Stadium.
Paxton shown flashes of dominance, but hasn’t quite reached the heights I predicted. Let’s hope the summer warms up his performance.
Masahiro Tanaka- Another consistent 2-3 WAR performance from Tanaka.
Looking good on this one.
JA Happ – After a fast start, Happ struggles a bit later in the season. His presence and consistent innings in rotation are valuable.
Perhaps I just got this one backwards?
CC Sabathia – Struggles a bit with health, performs at league average level on guile and guts.
CC’s ERA+ is 111, so just a bit better than expected. I do think I got the “guile and guts” right. It’s been fun watching and appreciating CC this season.
Aroldis Chapman – Has some human moments during the season, but final numbers will be solid.
Dellin Betances – Struggles with command through season, but will be an asset in postseason.
Injured, has yet to throw a pitch this season.
Zack Britton – A healthy Britton is a huge weapon out the Yankee ‘pen. Reaches the All-Star game as setup reliever.
Britton has been solid, but I’d say not elite.
Adam Ottavino – Not as overpowering as he was in Colorado, but fulfills #4 role in bullpen well.
“Otto” has been a “go to” member of the bullpen.
Chad Green – Performs capably in “jack of all trades” bullpen role.
After a very rough start, seems to be fulfilling this prediction. Hey, he leads the team in “opens”.
At the end, I think the Yanks will beat the Washington Nationals in six games for the World Series Championship.
The opportunity is there for the Yanks. As for the Nats are 26-11 since May 23 after a brutal start.
All in all, I’d say I’ve done OK with my predictions to this point. Predicting success for a team this talented isn’t all that risky. A couple of the limbs I went out on, like Tulo and Bird, just broke. Paxton remains to be seen.
Of the predictions I got right, I’m most pleased about Voit, as it would have been easy to write off his summer 2018 performance as a flash in the pan.
Overall Grade: C+. Check in with me in October.