The Yankees, as everyone knows, has a very potent offense. Just how potent can that offense be, however, depending on how things break in 2020?
For the past couple of years, the New York Yankees have built their team with the same mindset: a heavy, heavy offense. It’s not the worst idea in the world, either. I mean, you can’t win games if you don’t score any runs, right?
In two of the past three seasons (2018 and 2017), the two World Series winners scored the most runs in baseball in their respective championship-winning campaigns, the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. Boston scored 876 runs in 2018, while Houston crossed the dish 896 times. The Yankees since 2017 have finished second, second, and first in runs scored respectively the past three seasons, but have been on the outside looking in of a championship parade. So, with the 2020 baseball season still on hold, we’ll take a peek at what the offense can do in 2020 if there is a season to be played.
What’s the Deal with Strikeouts?
Strikeouts have become a major factor in today’s game. Everyone strikes out, so much so that a 100-120 strikeout season for a player is actually considered on the lower end of the scale. To put it in perspective, 157 hitters struck out at least 100 times in 2019. Out of the 157 players, five of them were from the New York Yankees: Luke Voit (142), Aaron Judge (141), Gleyber Torres (129), Gary Sanchez (125), and Brett Gardner (108).
Personally, I’m torn on the whole strikeout debate. Obviously, it’s not good to strikeout — everybody knows that — but people argue that there are far worse outcomes than a “K,” like bouncing into a double play. Having said that, putting the ball in play leads to moving base runners and more errors, which leads to more runs. One plus one equals two, you know what I mean?
Past history also supports the logic that limiting strikeouts leads to success. In 2019, the World Series-winning Nationals struck out 1,308 times — fourth-best in the majors. Meanwhile, the Yankees went down on strikes 1437 times, which was 17th in baseball in that category.
I’m not trying to make the strikeout look like the worst thing in the world here, trust me. But when players go down on strikes in big spots — especially in the postseason — it can make or break a playoff run. Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen with the Yankees if there’s a season in 2020.
If the Yankees are Healthy, Watch Out
I don’t even think I need to dive into the Yankees injury woes the past few years, mainly because I talk about it a lot. What I will say though is this: A full year of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and even Gary Sanchez can absolutely spearhead the best offense in baseball. Chicks dig the long ball, right? Well, the Yankees finished second in team homers with 306, just one bomb behind the Minnesota Twins at 307. If that was without Judge for 60 games and Stanton for 144 games, imagine what the team can do with those guys on the field.
Can the Replacements Pick up Where They Left Off?
With the injuries that ravaged the club last season, guys needed to step up off the scrap heap, and they did just that. Mainly, I’m talking about Mike Tauchman and Gio Urshela. Every Yankee fan knows the impact that those two had on the field, but in case you don’t, Urshela hit .314 with 21 homers and 74 RBI after being called up on April 6. He’ll have some competition now with the return of 2018 Rookie of the Year runner-up in Miguel Andújar, who received shoulder surgery in May. But hey, the more the merrier.
As for Tauchman, the 29-year-old hit a very solid .277 with a .361 on-base percentage in 87 games. While also cranking out 13 home runs and 47 RBI. Tauchman was likely set to get a ton of time in the outfield with Aaron Hicks out for the foreseeable future after receiving Tommy John surgery following the 2019 season. Both of these players have something to prove, and if they can at least be close to as good as they were in 2019, the Yankees have a locked and loaded offensive juggernaut.
In baseball, you need things to break right, as we all know. Yes, the Yankees have their injury and strikeout struggles (and the season being delayed doesn’t help out, either), but if both of those things are even muffled to the slightest extent, this team has more than enough firepower to slug their way to a title.