After a 100-win campaign that saw them finish eight games back of Boston in their division, the Yankees added…pitching depth. James Paxton adds an ace caliber pitcher to a pitching staff that bordered on dominant last season.
Paxton brings a 3.24 FIP and 3.02 xFIP to a starting staff that sported its own FIP and xFIP of 3.84 and 3.77 respectively. The biggest thing he brings to the starting staff is strikeouts (32.3% of batters faced). The 30-year old did struggle with home runs last year as he gave up 1.29 home runs per nine innings; and that’s going to be a major concern in hitter friendly Yankee Stadium. He was absolutely dominating on the bump last season for Seattle, and having that kind of dominance at the top of its rotation is something New York has been missing since the peak days of CC Sabathia.
Luis Severino was the closest New York had to a pitcher as Paxton last season, but his strikeout rate was a little lower while his walk rate was lower to. By having Severino and Paxton on the same staff, New york added a ton of depth to its starting pitching that will help the club’s push for another championship.
Even the bullpen really isn’t an area of concern for New York. As Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances still anchor the back end. The middle of the pen is a little soft, but they aren’t going to see a lot of action with that starting staff…so it’s not the end of the world.
Offensively, there were very few holes in an offense that earned a wRC+ of 111 while having a surprisingly low BABIP of .285. What made the offense truly impressive was their patients at the plate as the Yankees walked in 10% of their plate appearances (tied for second in MLB). Since the Yankees didn’t lose anyone that was a major contributor in 2018, there’s no reason to believe that their offense will drop off too much from 5.22 runs per game in 2018.
It’s hard to see an offense with Giancarlo Stanton (127 wRC+), Aaron Judge (149 wRC+), and Aaron Hicks (127 wRC+) in it struggling to score runs. The worst qualified batter on New York’s roster was Neil Walker and he earned a wRC+ of 82 while earning a awful wOBA of .291 — the 33-year old is no longer in New York’s line-up. General manager Brian Cashman has ditched some of the dead weight that was on his roster offensively, while increasing the depth of his pitching staff, in pursuit o another championship for New York.
With Boston taking a step back, there really isn’t anyone in the AL East that can compete with New York. This roster is deep, and filled with talented athletes; it makes me wonder if the 2001 M’s (and 1906 Chicago Cubs) record of 116-wins will he threatened by this group from the Big Apple.
Proud alum of Washington State University, crazy sports nut, and drinker of beer.