Tuesday, March 8, 2016


By Michael Wong

Tampa Fla.--Stop number four on my trek through all of the Major League spring training camps continues as we check in with the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla.  What quickly stands out with the Yankees this season is what is on paper looking like the most dominant 7-8-9 trio in Major League history after the team dealt for consensus number 1 closer Aroldis Chapman to join dominant arms Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.  The three all have some of the very best K rates among relievers in the game and the Yanks plan to ride them to overcome a somewhat shaky rotation.  With all that said, let's check out some of the main themes that surround the Yankees this season. 

1.  Wow that bullpen is ridiculous.  It really is scary to say the least.  However when it comes to fantasy baseball, Chapman is the one who has most of the value in non-holds leagues.  Miller pretty much got screwed with the arrival of Chapman as he lost the closer role despite winning the reliever of the year award in 2015.  Be that as it may, Betances and Miller both will put up over 100 strikeouts which is quite valuable in inning-capped formats but they don't pitch enough innings to move the needle when it comes to ERA and WHIP.  Meanwhile Chapman faces a lengthy suspension from Major League Baseball due to the domestic incident involving his wife that included gun shots being fired in his garage which means Miller closes for a month-plus of the season. 

2.  Time to stick a fork in Jacoby Ellbury?  Boy has Ellsbury been the poster child for being frustrating to own.  A guy who has always had magnificent talent but who annually is one of the most injury prone players in the game, it was more of the same for Ellsbury in 2015 as he missed a slew of games with more health woes.  On top of that, Ellsbury's numbers slid more than a bit as his stolen base rate dropped and the power never materialized despite him being a lefty in Yankee Stadium.  Now an old 33-years-old, the steals could quickly start to vanish and the body betrayal could get worse.  Avoid Ellsbury like the plague.

3.  How much longer can Masahiro Tanaka pitch with the tear in his UCL?  That is the million dollar question with Tanaka who only pitched 154 innings in 2015 due to forearm soreness which no doubt is related to the tear.  Tanaka also saw his ERA rise almost a full run from his terrific 2014 and he also began to give up a ton of home runs due to a loss in velocity which again can be blamed on the elbow.  Like with Jacoby Ellsbury, owning Tanaka brings more headaches than he is worth as any one pitch could mean Tommy John surgery. 

4.  Brett Gardner is really becoming a sell guy in July huh?  For the second season in a row, Gardner has seen a sharp drop in his numbers across the board once July is in the books.  Gardner plays an all-out style that is tough on the body and now that he is into his 30's, it is easy to understand why he wears down as the season goes on.  On the positive side, it looks like the 2014 power jump is legit as Gardner replicated it last season but his steals are now in the 15-20 range instead of being in the 40-plus region he once operated in.  If you can find a taker for Gardner in July, by all means draft him.  However he too seems like he is too much trouble to deal with.

5.  Let's get into something positive here.  How good can Luis Severino be?  This kid has some scary good talent as Severino combined good control with a fastball that elicits a high number of strikeouts.  The Yankees have said that Severino could throw 200 innings this season which is higher then we thought he would be at and that makes him even more of a solid investment.  The hype is sizable here which means he won't come cheap at the draft table but Severino looks like a future top-of-the-rotation pitcher. 


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