After an injury-riddled 2019, the New York Yankees must remain mostly healthy in 2020 to ensure the most success possible.
When you think of the 2019 New York Yankees, I’m sure a bunch of positives come to mind. The breakout of Gleyber Torres, the emergence of Gio Urshela, a second-consecutive 100-win season, etc. However, one thing will always be brought up when thinking about this past season for the Yankees, and that one theme is “injuries,” something the Yanks must avoid in 2020.
The Yankees and the Injury Bug
The 2019 Yankees season will be thought fondly of, most likely, not because of the injuries, but how the Yankees handled the injuries. Players like Urshela, Mike Tauchman, Mike Ford, Thairo Estrada, you name it came up to the Bronx and, simply saying, got the job done. When you lose players like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances (twice), and other stars, it’s almost expected to falter in the tough, gritty conditions of a 162-game season. Despite all the adversity, the Yankees hung tough, and not only did the Yanks not let the injuries kill them, the injury troubles hardly hurt the Bombers.
Having said that, the Yankees need to avoid another injury-riddled season, because they may not be as lucky the second time around.
Can the Replacements Keep Producing?
Yes, Tauchman, Ford, Estrada, and others were great in a replacement or a fill-in role in 2019, but they’re all coming off their rookie campaign. It’s reasonable to think that these players, as good as they were last season, will take a step back in 2019 and hit a sophomore slump. Of course, these players will get reps regardless of if the starters like Judge, Stanton, Luke Voit, and others stay healthy, but it would suit the Yankees best if the replacements stay in a backup role and the starters remain healthy and remain in a starter role, for obvious reasons.
The backups who produced in 2019, although they all did very well, aren’t nearly as trustworthy as the established stars when talking about their ability to produce over a full season. The worst-case scenario for the Yankees is that the starters go down, the backups can’t produce in a prolonged role, and the injuries hurt the Yankees far more than they did a season ago.
Healthy for the Postseason
Another main issue with dealing with injuries is how it can affect a player’s play in the postseason. It’s fully plausible to believe that, if a player goes down with an injury, it may hurt that player’s ability to perform in the playoffs despite those players being able to return before the postseason even begins. We all expect the Yankees to make the playoffs, but they can’t afford for a player to struggle in the postseason due to their lack of reps during the regular season.
In order to be fully ready to produce in the postseason, players need to have the right amount of games and reps gathered during the summer. The Yankees need their stars fully ready for the postseason by staying healthy, and if they can’t remain healthy during the regular season, it could cost them in October.
Obviously, injuries are a part of the sport, but the Yankees can’t afford another season filled with injured players if they want to win in 2020. They were able to get away with it in 2019, but they may not be as lucky this summer if their stars suffer the same fate.