The 2019 Yankees. This team has the potential to have an outstandingly powerful offense while also having one of the most vicious pitching staffs possible. With young bats and young arms this team could shape up to play like the World Champion 2016 Cubs.
Ace: Masahiro Tanaka
#2: Justus Sheffield
#3: Veteran yet to be acquired
#4: Veteran yet to be acquired
#5: James Kaprielian
Tanaka will start to dominate lineups the same way he did in his first stint in the MLB back in 2014 before his injury. The Yankees’ #1 pitching prospect acquired in the Andrew Miller deal, Justus Sheffield might take some time to get adjusted to the MLB but in time will flourish into and ace at the major league level. For the #3 and #4 spots the team will acquire veterans to teach the younger players but also just to have guys they know can give them a good start at least 7 out of 10 times they head onto the mound. #3 pitching prospect James Kaprielian has yet to prove himself ready for the MLB, but in his few games he has shown huge potential.
Catcher: Gary Sanchez
Sanchez has nothing to prove after hitting .299 with 20 home runs and 42 RBIs in only 53 games. He has proven himself as an up and coming star.
First Baseman: Greg Bird
In Bird’s first year as a Yankee he stunned fans by exploding onto the scene with 11 home runs in 46 games. Bird already a fan favorite in the Bronx along with Sanchez. He will be a franchise first baseman.
Second Baseman: Starlin Castro and Jorge Mateo
There are two players at this position because I think that Castro will stick around in order to teach Mateo, although if Mateo cannot adjust to the MLB fast enough he might be traded for a big arm and Castro will be the second baseman.
Third Baseman: Unknown
There are many different possibilities for this position. This offseason the Yankees have made teams aware that they are looking to trade Veteran OF Brett Gardner and 3B Chase Headley. Gardner has been very productive but is getting up in age, and Headley has not been as productive as the team needs him to be. It will be interesting to see where they go in regards to this position.
Shortstop: Gleyber Torres
Torres was the prospect that the Yankees acquired in the deal involving Aroldis Chapman. Torres was the Cubs #1 prospect and now becomes the Yankees #2. After participating in the Arizona Fall League he was named MVP, an award that was won by new up and coming Yankee first basemen Greg Bird won just 2 years prior. Torres looks like he might be a leader on this team for years to come.
Left Field: Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury has been a reliable player in past years and has shown that he is worth it for his glove alone. Ellsbury’s contract runs through 2020 with a club option, so the Yankees seem keen on keeping the former Red Sox leader. Ellsbury knows how to lead a team as well as play the game. Even though Ellsbury’s talent will start to fade as he is approaching the age of 34, but playing the game isn’t everything, he will be and influence to the younger guys and bring them up to MLB level.
Center Field: Clint Frazier
Frazier is an extremely exciting player, #1 on the yankees prospect. He is 6 foot 1 and 190 pounds, he is a decently powerful hitter as well as a great fielder, if Frazier reaches the potential he is projected to have he could be another great player in Yankee history.
Right Fielder: Bryce Harper
Now, you’re already saying to yourself, “There is NO WAY that Bryce Harper leaves the Nats for the Yankees.” But I’ll tell you why it’s extremely likely: As many have already noticed, Cashman and Steinbrenner have already been fairly careful with their money during the offseason, not signing many last year or the year before, it’s all part of the plan. If no players are signed through 2019 the Yankees will only owe $45 million dollars to players which will leave them with a wide open player budget. With this budget the Yankees will sign Bryce Harper for 10 years, $40 million per year it will be the biggest contract in baseball adding up to $400 million. A question you might still ask is, “Why would Harper even want to go to the Yankees?” Well, to quote Harper, “Well they left in the 7th so that was brutal.” This was from an interview after a game that the Mets came from behind to win 8-5. Harper was frustrated with his fans and hasn’t shown them much more love since. Also, he’s from New York and grew up a big fan of the Yankees, who wouldn’t want to play for their favorite team?
I would predict the entire bullpen, but you really never know who’s gonna be your team’s long reliever and middle relievers until that spring training. Although I will predict the back end:
Setup: Luis Severino
Severino has shown the Yankees his amazing arm and that he has huge potential to be one of the best in the game, but he has also shown them that he isn’t quite yet capable of being a starter, if you can remember back to the 2009 Yankees season when Phil Hughes made his appearances out of the bullpen a did a great job handling the game over to Mariano with not much to worry about. I think if Severino made a switch to the bullpen the Yankees would again have and elite bullpen that would rarely be thwarted.
Setup: Pineda or Betances
Much like Severino Pineda will most likely move to the ‘pen. He has great stuff and has the ability to throw in the upper nineties, but he can’t do it for more than two innings, he would be a great option in the bullpen, plus the Yankees wouldn’t have to spend extra money.
Closer: Betances or Chapman
There is a good chance that Chapman signs back with the Yanks, and in that case the bullpen would have a great back end that would rarely lose games.