The season has just begun, but there are high hopes for the Bronx Bombers in 2019.
Some are already saying it is “World Series or Bust” this year. And odds-makers at the top betting site, YouWager agree. The Yankees are 11/2 (+550) to win it all. This puts them as the odds-on favorite in front of the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Boston Red Sox.
The Shape of the AL East
It is early. Too early to say anything definitive about how the rest of the division, and rest of the American League, for that matter, is going to shake out. But it is nice to see the Red Sox off to a slow start. After completely crushing pretty much everyone all season in 2018, they are currently 3-8 and exactly opposite of their 11-2 start last season over the same stretch.
So far, this is the 3rd worst start by a defending champion. Even Chris Sale is starting out slow, with two losses and posting an ERA of 8. This is good news for the Yanks, as the Sox have never made the postseason after opening the season this poorly.
The Tampa Bay Rays are surprising with their 8-3 start. They are playing fundamental baseball and have pushed themselves to the top of the division.
The Yankees are 5-5 (at the time of writing) but are already showing signs of that potentially potent lineup. Last Thursday, the Yanks dropped two hum-dingers on the Orioles. Then on Sundays’ outing against the O’s, Clint Frazier blasted two dingers and Gary Sanchez smashed three over the wall.
Last season was a 100-win campaign and to get routed in the ALDS was a nightmare. But the Yanks had a productive offseason and have created a lineup that is quite adjustable. The Yanks can swap DJ LeMahieu in and out to give both Gardner and Tulowitzki days off. On top of that, they can roll the lineup around to limit strikeouts, most notably by throwing Aaron Hicks between Judge and Stanton.
The Yankees pitching rotation was looking like one that would strike fear in the hearts of opponents. But Luis Severino maybe out for some time, So what are the Yanks to do? Should they pick up the unsigned Dallas Keuchel as a stop gap?
If they can make sure they stay shored-up with regards to their starting pitching, the Yankees have a legitimate shot at winning the division and going on to take the pennant. Right now they are projected to win 95 games and have an 84.6% chance of making the postseason. The only teams that have higher projections to win it all are the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. Luckily one of those squads is in the National League. The other is projected at just five-tenths of a percent of a higher probability of being Champs in 2019 (12.4% vs. 12.9%). That said, the boys in Vegas like the Yanks better and they tend to get things right more often than projections based on simulations.
The Yanks strength of schedule is pretty tough this season, but it looks like they can still dominate in the AL East and make that postseason push. The offense is there, they just have to make sure that the pitching staff stays strong and healthy. If so, we could very well see the Yanks get into their first series since 2009.