The Yankees outfield should be the anchor of the team for 2019. While the bullpen represents a major strength, the outfield truly has the highest ceiling. However, like the bullpen and starting rotation, a key injury has developed that could limit what the unit does as a whole.
The unquestioned leader of the Yankees has come into spring training doing Aaron Judge things. 11 of his 12 hits in the spring have been extra base hits including six homers while hitting .343. He’s clearly fully past the fractured wrist injury last season and is poised to have a monster 2019. As Aaron Judge goes, so do the Yanks. An MVP level season is surely within reach and I expect him to flirt with 40+ homers. Turn the volume up for this….
While Stanton’s slash line of 102/38/100/.266 was considered a bit of a disappointment, to some (not me!), his second season in pinstripes is expected to be markedly better. Stanton never seemed truly comfortable during 2018 with the Yanks. Like Judge, he should mash this year and is fully expected to. After these BOMBS last night, things might just be falling into place for Giancarlo’s “rebound:”
Fresh off a seven year, $70 million extension, Hicks is promptly battling a back injury. A tough blow for the Yanks as they clearly view Hicks as an important piece of their core. He’ll start the season on the Injured List (IL) like Severino and Betances, but he should be back within the first 10 days of April. I pray the Yanks err on the side of caution with Hicks and don’t rush him back. They can survive the first few weeks of the season without. Anything more than that will become a legitimate concern. Being one of the few non-righty hitters on the team, his gold glove caliber defense in centerfield, and on-base skills, Hicks has carved out a pivotal role on the Yanks for now and the future.
Gardy is what he is at this point – a fourth outfielder who is still solid with the glove and does just enough with the bat to warrant getting a few starts a week. He’ll have a bigger role for a couple of factors: Stanton DHing a ton and Aaron Hicks’ injury. The hope is Clint Frazier can come up at some point and wrestle the job away from Gardner.
Wade has nine lives with the Yanks as they view him as the speed version of Ben Zobrist. To this point in his career, he’s been pretty underwhelming but a strong spring and propensity to play multiple positions has the Yanks buying back in on him. I’m sure he’ll be useful, at times, but it’s definitely best to play him in moderation.