Monday, March 26, 2018

It's almost time to make our predictions

Once again, folks, we have reached that ultimate summit of anticipation, as Opening Day - aka, Boswell's beginning of time - stands only three days away. That means it's time to lay our 2018 Oscar, Nobel Prize, Pillsbury Bakeoff Yankee win projections.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, I shall call upon each of you to inscribe your expected number of Yankee victories over the coming season - and explain why. Come October, whoever came closest in win totals will receive the Alenna P. Allison Watch, awarded annually to the most promising IT IS HIGH rookie in spring training. Last year's winner was John M, who shall carry the juju priest ODUMODU's blessing into the new season. 

Some questions to ponder in your win projections:

1. Is this Tinkerbell chatter about a newly rededicated Gary Sanchez true, or just another load of blustering Gammonite crapola? Players are always showing up at Tampa in "the best condition of his life... incredibly chiseled... not an ounce of fat... man, I'd do him!..." yatta-yatta-yatta. Even when true, it doesn't guarantee success. (Remember Stringbean Sabathia, the Genny Craig version?) Still, if Sanchez improves his defensive game, he becomes baseball's best catcher, hands down, and that's not nuthin. In fact, if Sanchez self-improves, he would put himself on course to become the next Yankee captain. Imagine that.

2. What happens at the trade deadline, if Baltimore and/or Toronto have been sandblasted out of the race? Neither team has tanked lately. They're overdue, and their fan bases would be pissing bile. That could thrust Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado into trade auctions, with the Yankees holding cards to deal. In many ways, that makes Brandon Drury this spring's most important Yankee. If he plays well at third, Cashman would feel less pressure to add a big name. But if Drury is channeling Celerino Sanchez, let's face it: The Yankees will unload their system for a star 3B. Considering the lack of confidence they showed in Miguel Andujar this spring, it's hard to imagine him NOT ending up in another uniform by August 1. But what stars will be available? (Note: Following his injury this week, Bumgarner's chances of getting traded have just increased exponentially.) And then there is first base; I ask you, who the fuck knows what to make of Greg Bird?  

3. Can we count on Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances? In both cases, their once-terrifying impact on opposing batters seems to have eroded into a sense of sudden opportunity. Neither can hold a runner. On occasion, neither can throw a first pitch strike. Surely, they'll have their unhittable moments - nine pitches, nine strikes - but last October, both were exposed as potential head cases, (especially Dellin.) The writers seem to think our bullpen is deep enough to survive anything. I dunno about that. No bullpen can survive the collapse of its two closers. Will any ninth inning be safe?

4. Can the Yankees win a 2-1 game? We know they can win 12-5, when their sluggers are ripping on fire. But let's say it's the ninth inning, and they need one measly run. Who draws the 12-pitch lead-off walk? Who pinch runs and steals second? Who bunts the man to third? Who brings him home? Is Boone a tactician, or just the guy who writes in lineups? Watching Curtis Granderson the other day reminded me of how a player with so much talent, so many tools, can devolve into a one-dimensional home run/strike out hitter. Could it happen here? Of course it can. Of course it will. Think about such matters, as you compile your Yankee win projections. (And watch out for John M; the guy was on fire last year, and ODUMODU has some nasty shit.)

7 comments:

JM said...

Every team has its question marks, but we have more than a panel of Jeopardy contestants.

The biggest issue with that is, we have no good answers to any of them. If Bird is shelved again, we got nothin'. If Betances/Chapman return to Head Case Heaven, we got nothin' (OK, we got Robertson and Green, which makes us an injury away from next to nothin'). If Hicks sucks, we got nothin' (assuming Ellsbury is almost always hurt and Frazier is still reeling from the KO punch he took this Spring). Though, at least there, an outfield of Clank, Gardy and Judge would be serviceable, maybe better than serviceable. But then you have Clank's and Gardy's susceptibility to tweaks.

Nobody mentions it because it seems improbable, but Sanchez is playing a position where it's very, very easy to get hurt or banged up enough to diminish performance. Didn't he miss a chunk of last year? Do you really think Romine could fill the gap again like he did then? At least Didi didn't have to play in the Selig Series of Global Domination this year, so he's healthy, as are Wade, Walker and Drury with Andujar waiting in the wings. But there are a few ifs there even if they all stay healthy. Last year, Didi and Castro we used to each other. How many double plays might we miss this year through the revolving door at second?

And, as Duque says, we have a tendency to win when we clobber the opposition, but can't push a run across in a close, low-run game. That isn't going to change, I don't think. In fact, it will get worse.

Yeah, maybe I'm being a little alarmist. As Joe Strummer said, nothing is written. We could come in third. We could win it all. It's up to the Juju and gonad gods. I'm lighting incense, I'm putting flowers and offerings of Old Overholt on our home altar. Hopefully, it all works out.

KD said...

The 2018 NYY will put up some impressive offensive for home runs and RBIs. It's the pitching that will haunt this team. Tanaka will suffer at least one long stint on the DL. It will be the elbow, finally, and the odds are high it will be a season ender. The bullpen will add to the woes. Toonces will be a disappointment with an EPA above 3.2. Ditto Chapman. Only Robertson will truly shine.

Judge will suffer a horrendous slump, worse than last year. It'll be the shoulder and it will be revealed after the season is over that he played most of the year in pain. Stanton will homer more than Judge.

92 wins, second in division with the wild card. We will fall short of making the WS (pitching).

13bit said...

KD, I tend to agree with you, and maybe that's what they'll need to prick that bubble of certainty that the media has inflated above this team. Go home early and think about things, boys.

I also agree with the problem in 2-1 games. That has been an issue with us for a bunch of years.

Our pitching has been pretty good for a long time now - some ups and some downs - but we have lost many games over over the last 5 years from the dead bat syndrome. The complete inability to generate a hit in any way when it's most needed. Remember all those long cycles where, if we went down by more than one run, we all KNEW that the game was over? Last year was a little different, and they showed some heart. Let's see if they can do that again. But our starting pitching is not that deep this year and, as you just pointed out, John M, we're just a few twitches, titches and tweaks from oblivion.

Anonymous said...

THE INDIANS.....

I'M WORRIED ABOUT THE INDIANS, BECAUSE FRANCONA ALREADY PUT OUT A COMMENT ABOUT HOW THE YANKEES STUNNED, SHOCKED, AND HURT THEM LAST SEASON....AND THEY ARE GOING TO WORK HARDER TO PREVENT THAT FROM HAPPENING AGAIN THIS YEAR.

THIS WON'T BE AN EASY YEAR, ESPECIALLY COME PLAYOFF TIME.

PREDICTION TO FOLLOW.

Alphonso said...

I dare you to ask for our predictions. I dare you.

What about the Dutch Farmer? Where has he been hiding during spring training?

Gliding along the frozen canals on speed skates?

HoraceClarke66 said...

And that Scottish gentleman: preparing for haagis season?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Trebor said...

PREDICTION AT END OF COMMENT. I just saw the starting lineup. Our infield position players will bat 6, 7, 8, and 9. Three of them this time last year I’d never heard of. Of course the other (Didi) is secretly our mvp. But regardless this doesn’t inspire confidence. Are we better than last year? Three of our starting pitchers are just older, in no ways certainly better. The Bird injury makes our infield even more depleted (and we’ve sent down and discouraged our best prospects). Last year at this time I had no faith in Judge, why should I now? He came into camp with the same injury he now claims hampered him in September. Will Sanchez truly be more competent defensively? Stanton/Judge/Sanchez combining for record numbers of strike outs and meaningless 8th inning homers with empy bases in lopsided games. It isn’t what I expected (no glyber or andujar, no bird for now) but I have faith because of the following:

Sanchez, Stanton, Tanaka, Chapman, Bettances, Sevy, Robinson, Bird, CC, Gleyber, Judge, Sir Didi.

Yankees finish with 100 wins. Why not? Somebody has to win the poll by bidding highest! I also predict four teams will finish at or above 100 this year.