Saunders: New York Yankees 2017 Outlook

The Yankees have missed the playoffs in three of the last four years after being in the big dance 17 of the previous 18 seasons.

They scored 84 fewer runs than 2016 (764), which was the 12th highest total (680) in the American League. New York ranked 11th in HRs (183) with below league average success in batting average (.252), although a lot of that can be contributed to youth movement by the Yankees after the all-star break.

During the off-season, 1B Mark Teixeira retired while DH Alex Rodriguez was sent to pasture late in 2016.

Yankees have added Matt Holliday to take over at DH, and a healthy Greg Bird will return to play first base. The starting lineup is loaded with fading veterans who have plenty of major league experience and success.

The future franchise player is potential super-star catcher Gary Sanchez who gave New York fans plenty to root for after the All-Star break in 2016.

There’s one Yankee fan living in Connecticut, whom believes Aaron Judge will live up to the hype as an impact power bat. Key for Judge will be to cut down his high strikeout totals, continue to make the proper progresses against the breaking ball, and most of all get at bats.

Overall, the names in this starting lineup won’t blow you away, but there is enough to be competitive if New York gets enough starting pitching.

The Yankees signed Aroldis Chapman to take over as closer after trading him to the eventual World Series Champions Chicago Cubs back in August.

New York also traded catcher Brian McCann to Houston for two hard throwing prospects, starting pitcher Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman while releasing unpredictable and relatively erratic Nathan Eovaldi.

With that being said, New York did slide to seventh in ERA in 2016 while allowing the most runs (702) since 2009 (753).

The Yankees were sixteenth in the majors in bullpen ERA with most of their success coming early in the year when they had Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances pitching well.

However, New York finished with 48 saves and 36 bullpen wins which in a lot of ways speaks volumes in and of itself.

The starting rotation will have three arms coming into spring training with questions about their health. Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka ended 2016 throwing close to two hundred innings, and if the right forearm issue he had at the end of the season was just a bump Yankees could have a true ace once again.

Rest of the rotation, however, is a “put your name in a hat” kind of staff. C.C. Sabathia had minor surgery on his right knee in October, while Chad Green was shut down last September with a UCL issue that didn’t require surgery. The key arm will be Luis Severino who failed to live to expectations in 2016 and has been rumored to have a possible fit in the bullpen where he succeed second half of last season.

The Yankees have one World Series Title since the turn of the century, however, things can be looking up for the big apple and 2017 can be that first step towards another title.

Key for fans and most importantly front office executives are to “trust the process” and ignore the negative media that comes with being a New York Franchise.

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