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Fantasy Baseball Outlook for the New York Yankees

With the season under way, numerous Yankees have graced fantasy baseball rosters with their presence. From first round talent Giancarlo Stanton, to solid pitching options like Louis Severino and Sonny Gray, all the way to late round fliers like Brett Gardner, the Yankees have representation all over the fantasy landscape. This is not an article meant to convince you to have a roster filled with Yankees, but rather a look at ways in which Yankees might have gone overlooked in fantasy drafts, which ones you should consider trading for, and which ones are fine occupying your competition’s roster.

Giancarlo Stanton

You would think the man coming off a home run crown, entering a better lineup, and hitting in a more hitter friendly park would be a consensus top 3 pick in most leagues. However, Stanton’s average draft position in both ESPN and Yahoo is around 8. The reason he falls to the latter half of the first round is because he doesn’t get nearly as many hits as the rest of the players being selected towards the top. He also doesn’t draw as many walks as the best hitters either. Stanton also has a history dealing with injuries, as last year was the first time he lasted the whole season without missing significant time. 

Projections on Stanton for 2018 have him hitting anywhere between 48-58 home runs with 100-110 RBI’s. Of course there is no way to tell but the most glaring factor to keep in mind to me is that, according to Fangraphs, Stanton hit 59 home runs last year playing his home games in a park with an 80-home run park factor, while Yankee stadium has a factor of 124 (100 is average). Even if Stanton doesn’t have the same incredible season, he will be getting more pitches to hit in a loaded lineup with a park that is more favorable to right handed hitters. Don’t be surprised if he tops 60 home runs. Only 58 more to go.

Aaron Judge

Coming off his incredible rookie season, Aaron Judge has been picked between 15-19 in most leagues. The major knock on him of course is the fact that he strikes out at a historic rate. While this is important to take note when assembling your fantasy roster, Judge does make up for his strikeouts by walking. Judge led the league with 127 walks in 2017. While his average may dip between .240-.270, his OBP will certainly remain well above league average. 

If you don’t think Judge will have the same prowess as he did last season, read my latest article about his swing and what to expect from him in 2018. Judge will still hit for power and drive in runs on a competitive team. 

If you do have Judge on your team, it would make sense to go after players who strikeout less. Trade for more players that hit for a better average so that you can rely on Judge to carry the power, while the others can lift up his likely sub par average and strikeout percentage.

Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez has by far the most fantasy upside of any catcher in the league right now. He is coming off a year in which he led all catchers with 33 home runs and 90 RBIs in just 122 games. His position scarcity makes him a very valuable option in most leagues, and typically went as an early to late third round pick. He doesn’t strikeout at an alarming rate but also doesn’t walk a whole lot either. Nevertheless, Sanchez hits like an elite infielder while playing a position that has barely any salvageable hitters.

The bottom line about Gary is that he WILL be the best hitting catcher in the league by far. Take that as you will.

Louis Severino

While Severino is still not on par with Kluber, Scherzer, or Sale, he is in the next set of throwers with names like Syndergaard and Greinke. It is hard to say how Severino will follow up his excellent 2017 season. He got off to a great start on opening day, going 5.2 innings, allowing just one hit, no earned runs, and striking out seven. If the early win against the Blue Jays is any indicator of things to come in 2018, Severino could evolve into one of the more steady fantasy pitchers out there.

While it is not ridiculous to expect Severino to go out and grab 17-20 wins with a sub 3.50 ERA, it is common for pitchers to regress after such a fine season early in their career. I would be wary of trading the lot for someone like Sevy, but of course he has tremendous potential.

Masahiro Tanaka

In the BP Writer’s prediction post, I picked Tanaka for my Yankees Cy Young winner. Tanaka got off to an uncharacteristically bad start to the 2017 campaign. The Yanks went 9-11 in his first 20 starts and he had an ERA of 5.37. However, in the second half of the season, he really began to turn things around. The team posted a 7-3 record in his final 10 starts and Tanaka struck out 86 batters to go along with a 3.59 ERA.

Tanaka took his hot stretch into the playoffs where he continued to impress. In four starts he struck out 21 batters and had an astounding ERA of 1.44. 

Tanaka is an excellent pitcher, and proved that he can turn things around if they get bad. The majority of his career in the Bronx speaks more than his rough start to last season. He has the potential to be the ace of one of the best teams in baseball, and I will not be surprised if his fantasy value has been significantly under played to begin the year. 

Aroldis Chapman

You know what your getting with Chapman. He will have plenty of save opportunities this year with the Yankees being a great team. You know he will blow saves every now and then, especially if he has to go longer than one inning. Boone has claimed he will try to limit Chapman to just three outs. Nonetheless, Chapman remains one of the better options at closer from a fantasy perspective due to the number of opportunities he will get. 

Sonny Gray

If you have any Yankee hitters on your team, I would bench them each time Sonny Gray is on the mound, because the fact of the matter is that they will simply not hit. In Gray’s first five losses with the team, the Yankees managed to get just four runs.

Obviously, the Yankees are hoping that was just a fluke last year, because Sonny Gray had a pretty good start to his Yankees career with an ERA of 3.72 in 11 starts. He won’t strikeout a whole lot of batters, but he will keep the score low for 4-5 innings before getting the hook. Gray can be a serviceable 4th option on your fantasy team with a lot of upside. 

Greg Bird

Greg Bird is a man that cannot stay healthy. The good thing about fantasy baseball is that if you have him you can stash him on your DL without having to relinquish his potential. Personally I would try to trade him for something as I am not expecting him to come back in two months and be the 30+ homerun leader we had all hoped entering the season. The truth is injuries will be a consistent factor for him throughout this season, if not his whole career. 

Didi Gregorious

I think that Didi was significantly undervalued in fantasy drafts this season. Last year, Didi was third among shortstops in batting average, second in home runs, and third in RBIs. He now has a full year to bat in between a combination of Judge, Stanton, or Sanchez. Didi was selected between 9-11 in most leagues among shortstops. I think he has potential to put up big number begin and outshine his competitors at his position. 

Brett Gardner

Gardner could be a solid player to keep on your bench. Wether he will have a year like last season, where he actually had one of his best hitting years of his career, is highly doubtful. But there is still the possibility he could get you 12-20 home runs, 50-60 RBIs, 20 stolen bases, and bat around .260 while getting about 70 walks. That is high production from someone on your bench.

Chad Green

If your league has holds as a category Chad Green can be a great option. He has looked like his 2017 self to start the season. He will most likely go two innings, strike out a few batters, and keep his ERA low.