The year 2020 is upon us, and there is a lot to look forward to with this Yankees team. Believe it or not, pitchers and catchers report next week, and so here are some things to look forward to (in no particular order):
1. First Spring Training game
The Yankees will play their first game in Spring Training on February 22 at George M. Steinbrenner Field against the Blue Jays. It will be their first game in 126 days.
2. Deivi Garcia’s debut
The Yankees’ top prospect is only 20 years old (21 in May) but is expected to make his anticipated debut sometime this year.
This should happen by default after the team lost 30 players to injury in 2019. In fact, the Yankees led the league by far with 2,804 days lost from injuries (the Padres were second with 2,148). They also had over $89 million spent on players on the IL, also first in the league (the Mets were second, spending around $50 million). With a revamped training staff, these numbers will almost certainly go down.
4. Gerrit Cole’s Yankee debut
March 26, 3:05 p.m., 333 West Camden Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Save the date. If Tropicana Field is considered Yankee Stadium South, Camden Yards is Yankee Stadium Slightly South. The place should be electric on Opening Day and hopefully the new $324 million man can lead the Yankees to a win.
5. Another year crushing the Orioles
Speaking of Baltimore, they haven’t really done enough for people to view them any better than they were last year. Sure, they’ll get Alex Cobb back from injury but they also traded Dylan Bundy to the Angels, so their pitching depth didn’t really improve. I’m sure Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez (and everyone else, to be honest) are salivating at facing the O’s another 19 times. So while beating up on the Orioles will be nice, I will continue to worry about the emotional well-being of Gary Thorne.
6. More DJ LeMahieu in general
Who doesn’t love the Machine? DJ LeMVP will be in the final year of his two-year deal, but it is safe to say that the Yankees would love to extend him, especially if he performs as he did in 2019.
7. More Brian Cashman metaphors (“Cashmanisms”)
Cashman and Scott Boras have obviously interacted a lot over the years, and it shows with some of their quotes. For example, here’s what Cashman said last offseason about their strategy:
“We are accessing all opportunities and see if we can land a plane. Right now, we are circling the airport. We are waiting for clearance on the runway. That is not from ownership. That means that we’ve got the signal that it is a safe landing spot, that we are comfortable with it, excited by that. We have enough gas in that tank that we can keep circling for awhile.”
I’m sure we’ll have some more in 2020 — just gives you something to think about.
8. What’s going to happen to the Astros?
The Astros have been punished. Their investigation is over, but that doesn’t mean the effects of the scandal are over. Houston potentially cheated the Yankees out a World Series in 2017 and maybe in 2019 as well. The two teams will face off in mid-May in Houston, but won’t see each other again until the last week of the season at Yankee Stadium. Wherever the Astros go, surely they will be booed. It will be interesting to see their reception from Yankees fans.
9. What’s going to happen to the Red Sox?
While the Astros’ investigation may be over, that is not the case with the Red Sox. Specifically, their 2018 championship season is being looked into. Alex Cora has already been fired and if Rob Manfred finds anything, they will be levied very harsh punishments considering they were already warned back in 2017 after their Apple Watch incident.
On top of that, their star Mookie Betts is likely to be traded any second now. Looks like the up-and-down seasons will continue in Boston.
The 2020 season will have some cool giveaways, including a series of bobbleheads. While bobbleheads never appear to look like the person they’re supposed to, this year features a pretty solid lineup:
April 24: Don Mattingly
May 23: Gerrit Cole Top Gun
June 5: DJ LeMahieu
July 10: Aaron Judge
August 6: Andy Pettitte
11. New interleague matchups
This year the Yankees play teams from the NL Central, teams we haven’t faced in three years. So in addition to facing off against the Mets four times (July), we get to host Sonny Gray and the Reds (April), take on Cole’s old team the Pirates (May/June), travel to Milwaukee to see Christian Yelich and the Brewers (May), host the Cubs (June), and go to Busch to square off against the Cardinals (July).
12. #59 Luke Voit
Luke Voit was pretty good with #45, but I want to see him take it to another level with #59. He will become the tenth Yankee to don the number and the first since 2003 when it belonged to Juan Rivera.
13. Giancarlo Stanton staying healthy and finally putting together an elite season in pinstripes
Don’t get me wrong, Stanton was very good in 2018 putting up 38 homers and driving in 100. But we all know he’s capable of more. If he proves that he has fully overcome all the injuries that plagued him in 2019, I think that he and Aaron Judge will form a lethal duo.
14. Aaron Judge staying healthy and playing a full season
Speaking of Judge, I look forward to him playing a full season. He is an elite player but has been hampered by injuries early in his career. Look at some of his stats:
Keep in mind some of the above stats are counting stats, meaning had Judge played a full season (in 2018 and 2019) those numbers would have been a good amount higher. If he can stay healthy the whole year, there’s no doubt in my mind that Judge will be a top-10 player in the entire league.
15. Tommy Kahnle’s energy
How can you not like Tommy Tight Pants Kahnle? His energy is contagious and he’s a pretty good reliever too.
16. Home opener
The Yankees will take on the Blue Jays on Thursday, April 2 at 1:05 p.m. for their home opener after playing three in Baltimore and three in Tampa. It is also magnetic schedule day.
17. 6:35 p.m weekday starts
In 2019, the Yankees tried having some weekday home games start at 6:35 rather than 7:05 in April and September. Kids are in school and sometimes it’s nice to get that half-hour back at the end of your night. It will continue this year with five games starting at 6:35 in April and two in May. There won’t be any in September but that’s probably because their two home series during the week that month are against the Red Sox and the Astros.
18. Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres back together
These two came up together in 2018, with Andujar finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting and Torres finishing third. They’re close in age (Andujar is about 21 months older) and they shared the infield a couple of seasons ago. Because of Andujar missing essentially the entire year in 2019, the two did not get to play together that much. Now, they get to be together again.