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2022 NY Yankees Season Preview

2021 was another disappointing season in the Bronx with an early Wild Card playoff loss to rival Boston as Gerrit Cole was rocked and the Yanks went home.

The 2022 Yankees are better on paper mainly because they are better defensively and are looking to be a better contact hitting team. However, this team is very confusing. They have a $258 million payroll but are considered “cheap” at the same time by staying away from a ridiculously great free agent shortstop class and Freddie Freeman, among others. Problems? Plenty. There is some balance in the lineup, but not enough. The overall lineup still hasn’t done anything important in the playoffs. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were actually healthy last year and New York barely made the playoffs. They are short on pitching, the bullpen will get taxed because of it and is overrated and analytics will rule the day.

Just put in the old movie and watch it again, right? Maybe the Yanks will surprise us, but this outlet doesn’t think so. The AL East? A monster. Toronto is scary good, the Rays are the Rays and Boston is pretty close to even with the Yankees. The Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2009 and haven’t reached one in that time as well. Let’s forecast things for the pinstripes in 2022.

The big offseason move. Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela were traded to Minnesota for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt. The good? The Yankees get better defensively, especially up the middle at catcher and shortstop, the lazy Sanchez experiment is finally over and there is potentially more contact hitting. The bad? The Yankees picked up $50 million plus for Donaldson at ages 36 and 37. He also has past health issues. Talk about an ultimate gamble. If Donaldson stays healthy, he can still punish fastballs, bring leadership and field his position.

Projected rotation:

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Luis Severino
  3. Jordan Montgomery
  4. Jameson Taillon
  5. Nestor Cortes

Projected lineup (positions will vary with DH/outfield/infield spots throughout the year). Here is the one that is most logical and potentially consistent:

  1. Josh Donaldson (3B and can DH some)
  2. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
  3. Aaron Judge (CF but RF mostly when Giancarlo Stanton is the DH)
  4. Giancarlo Stanton (RF and will DH plenty)
  5. DJ LeMahieu (2B but will play 1B and 3B as well depending on the rest of the lineup)
  6. Joey Gallo (LF)
  7. Gleyber Torres (DH but when he is at SS any number of players can DH, shift around, etc.)
  8. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (SS)
  9. Kyle Higashioka (C)

An interesting roster player is Aaron Hicks. Can he stay healthy? Unlikely. When he does, he provides balance as a switch-hitter and can play centerfield. On those days, expect Judge in rightfield and Gallo in leftfield with Stanton at DH. Again, the above lineup is just one example of many but the one we are guessing could come to fruition more often than not.

Key Yankee pitcher: Luis Severino. Most would say Cole, we say Sevy. A few years ago he got CY Young votes! That feels like a century ago. This team is short on pitching again, but if the once-promising arm can finally put together a whole productive season, things in the rotation are looking up.

Key Yankee position player: DJ LeMahieu. DJL had a rough year last season by his standards. He needs to bounce back in a big way because the lineup starts firing on all cylinders when he gets it going. One thing to be concerned about, however, is Aaron Boone saying he has no designated position. DJ is versatile, that’s the good thing and we already know that. The bad? Any game with him on the bench makes no sense because he is great defensively and you can count on him in clutch situations at the plate. He will get plenty of at-bats for sure, but will it be in enough games?

Baby Bomber watch. The trade with Minnesota and not going after a huge SS free agent like Trevor Story or Carlos Correa means the Yankees have a close eye on both star prospect shortstops Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. Let’s hope one or both are in a Yankee uniform very soon and that management doesn’t ruin them like they have so many other prospects with great potential.

Hot seats? The Yankees just extended manager Aaron Boone. GM Brian Cashman is in his final contract year. Will Hal Steinbrenner get rid of one or both at season’s end after another garbage playoff performance? Highly unlikely, but should have happened long ago. Hal is more worried about cashing checks, not winning like his Dad. So, expect Cashman to get a fresh new deal and Boone to stick around no matter what. Yay! Hal really needs to sell the team to a competent owner who understands baseball.

Projected record: 92-70, Wild Card spot, lose in the first round or ALDS.


Mike Lindsley
Follow Mike Lindsley on Twitter @MikeLSports and download his podcast the “ML Sports Platter” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify.