The New York Yankees–2019 World Champions?

new-york-yankees-223768_500_500-300x300As Strumings readers know, I am a lifelong Yankees fan. I attended my first game as a 7-year old. It was a Yankees game against the Detroit Tigers and I went with my dad and we sat in the upper deck. I loved it. The Yankees would win the pennant that year and alas would lose the World Series in 7 games to Pittsburgh, in ironically a World Series so lopsided (Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27 in those 7 games) that the MVP was Bobby Richardson from the Yankees. But no matter. Pirates won more games and hence they were the Champs. It was a great Yankees team and I have signed ball from the 1960 Yankees players.

ballThe following year, 1961, was a historic year with virtually the same Yankees team. 1961 saw Roger Maris homer 61* times, and Mantle 54. I was hooked as a fan, and I have been a fan ever since during many good years and yes, several bad ones (late 60s, early 90s). But they’ve had a winning record every year since 1993, an unbelievable accomplishment. The Yankees dwarf every other franchise with 40 pennants and 27 Championships. Yet, they have not won a Championship since 2009, their first year in the new Yankee Stadium. That will change in 2019.

In the recent years, the Yankees got far more productivity from their “Core Four”—Jeter, Mariano, Posada, Pettitte than they could have expected. They each played past the age of 40, unheard of for 4 teammates. However, by 2014 that era of Yankees greatness was over as Jeter and Pettitte, the last members, retired. Retooling was ahead for the Yankees, and it thankfully happened quickly without a hiccup. New stars were born.

Even as a fan, I had expected a few years of weaker performance, perhaps even sub .500 baseball. The Yanbkees retooled on the fly, and I was very hopeful after an unexpectedly strong finish in 2017 when the Yankees made the ALCS, but fell one game short of the World Series. Could they be Champions again? Still I thought they would fall short in 2018. From a Struming a year ago at this time I wrote:

My 2 cents is that the Yankees will again be a playoff team this year (2018), but fall short. I suspect that 2019 will be the year of their 28th championship, with more to follow thereafter.

So, let me say this strongly—The Yankees Will Win Their 28th Championship in 2019, ending a 9-year drought. Am I certain of this? Of course not. Many things, particularly injuries in the late part of the season can derail their season.

The season begins this Thursday March 28 vs. the Orioles. I will be there along with superfan Carolyn Strum whose passion matches mine. She has been well trained from her birth.

As with any team the Yankees have “ifs”, some less iffy than others but issues to be dealt with:

1. Luis Severino—The biggest if. Will he return in May and flash the Cy Young type season in the first half of 2018, or the far weaker second half performance?

2. Didi—Will he return mid-season? Will Tulowitsky really be able to play short daily until then?

3. Was the 7-year Arron Hicks signing warranted. (Yes if healthy, no if not). He is already behind and won’t start the season on Opening Day

4. Which Gary Sanchez will show up? The 2016/2017 masher or the underachieving 2018 model?

5. Who will be the first baseman—Bird or Voit? And will either really contribute for a full year?

On the flip side I am very confident in their relief staff, perhaps the deepest of all time, sluggers Judge and Stanton who I suspect will rival Mantle/Maris 1961 slugfest, and solid starters, Tanaka, Happ and Paxton. Not to mention rookie sensations, Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. And veterans Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia will crank it up one more time.

On balance I think the Yankees moved forward, while the Red Sox have taken a half-step backward. The Astros remain tough as do the Indians. And obviously there are a few strong teams in the National League, though I don’t think any of them are as good as the 4 best American League teams.

But reality and predictions are never perfect. Some better teams may underachieve and younger ones emerge. But in my heart, I believe the Bronx Bombers will reign again in 2019. Remind me if I am correct in October.

Play Ball.

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