Even with their fair share of injuries throughout the 2019 season, these Yankees still have what it takes to win a championship.
If I had told you going into the 2019 Yankee campaign that ace Luis Severino would miss the entire regular season or that Giancarlo would play in only 18 games or that breakout, Rookie of the Year finalist Miguel Andújar would require season-ending surgery and the team would set an MLB record with 30 IL stints, would you believe the Yankees had a shot at the league’s best record? If you responded yes, you’re a boldfaced liar.
Not only did the ’19 club survive in the face of adversity, but they also thrived. With just two games left they currently have the eighth-most wins in team history with 103. If this squad wins out they will stand-alone at 105, good for the fifth-most wins in franchise history.
Autumn is finally in the air and the Yankees are hobbling their way into the postseason. But is this necessarily a bad thing? It sure as hell wasn’t in the regular season.
In the past decade, only two teams have had more injuries than this year’s Bombers: the 2016 Dodgers (28 players on IL) and 2012 Red Sox (27 players). The two teams went 91-71 and 69-93 respectively. Neither made it to the World Series.
I’m here to tell you why this 2019 Yankee team is different and how they have what it takes to hoist a pennant despite their injury woes.
With Didi missing the first two months recovering from Tommy John and Stanton, Severino, Judge, Andújar, Hicks, Voit and Betances (to name a few) all missing extended time it was next man up all season long in the Bronx. Players like Gio Urshela, Mike Ford, Mike Tauchman, Cameron Maybin, Tyler Wade, and even Clint Frazier have been crucial pieces to this 100+ win team.
Now it’s playoff time, and no team is more prepared than the injury-plagued Bombers. In the postseason, and especially the World Series (should the Yankees make it that far) depth is key. Just take a look at last year’s Red Sox. They had a loaded bench consisting of World Series MVP Steve Pearce, Sandy Leon, Ian Kinsler and the man who cycled off of the Yanks in the American League Division Series (ALDS), Brock Holt.
Unlike the 2018 Red Sox, the ‘19 Yankees have found tremendous depth due to their plethora of injuries. Players that were initially not part of the Yanks long-term plans like Gio Urshela have solidified starting jobs. Some like Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade were called upon to fill in while others like Edwin Encarnacion were acquired midseason to replace injured starters. Gardner is having the best season of his career and Wade has emerged as another speedster this slugger-heavy lineup so desperately needs in October.
Because of all their replacements, the Yankees nearly have enough talent to field two all-star caliber lineups: DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Encarnacion, Luke Voit, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, and Gardner would be the Bombers “A-lineup.” Gardner, Judge, Stanton, Urshela, Gregorius, Cameron Maybin, Wade, Mike Ford, and Austin Romine would be the Bombers “B-lineup.” And with their many versatile players, these orders could be configured several different ways keeping pitchers and opposing managers guessing before game time.
Not only does this team have depth, but they are also now at their healthiest. Gary returned last night for the final series of the regular season in Texas. This offense can be an absolute juggernaut in the ALDS and beyond. One through nine should be a nightmare to any pitcher, even Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander.
The pitching? Well, that’s getting a major boost as well. Our ace, Luis Severino has looked like his old electric self, pitching nine innings over two starts with just two walks and 13 strikeouts. The control and location are there and that’s when you know Sevy is about to go one of his tears. Perfect timing.
Remember our old friend Monty? Gumby? Whatever you call him, Jordan Montgomery will likely be an important weapon in the case of an extended relief appearance or for some lefty on lefty matchups out of the ‘pen.
This once banged-up Yankee team has resurrected, and although they have lost a few key pieces along the way, the New York Yankees have come out the other side battle-tested and ready an extended postseason run. Let the chase for 28 begin!