We made it. After a long drawnout winter and Spring, Opening Day is here. Finally, we get a full season and for the first time since October 2019, fans will be allowed back inside Yankee Stadium.
After 2020, we all know anything can happen so nothing is too farfetched. Here are my five hot take for the Yankes this season.
1. Jordan Montgomery will be an All-Star and the 2nd best starter.
This will be the year Montgomery finally takes a step further. He finished 6th in Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 and was looking to take the next step in 2018 before his season was quickly drailed by Tommy John 6 starts into the season. 2021 will be Montgomery’s first full 162 game season since 2017. In a rotation with plenty of question marks, the team needs Montgomery to take the next step and become a reliable arm every five days like he was in 2017. He showed a lot last year that he could get back to that spot including putting up four strong innings in a win or go home game against Tampa in the ALDS after not pitching for over two weeks.
2. Aaron Judge will play in at least 130 games and finish top 3 in MVP Voting.
Judge looked great in Spring Training. Despite only hitting one home run, he looked sharp at the plate and most importantly, healthy. As long as heis healthy, he is one of the best players in the league, however, staying healthy has been difficult for him in the past years. Judge has played over 130 games only once, in his MVP caliber season in 2017. That stops this year. This is the healthiest spring Judge has had in years. Look for him to have a healthy, career year which may even earn him an MVP.
3. Gary Sanchez will not return to his 2017 form.
It has been a rough couple of seasons for Sanchez. He dealt with injuries for almost half of ’18 and ’19. In 2020, he could not get anything going. Sanchez did not show anything during Spring Training that made me think that 2021 will be any different. Throughout Spring Training, he was still chasing bad pitches and struck out 20 times in 45 at-bats. I cannot believe Gary will rebound until he shows consistency at the plate over, which he has not done since 2019. While I am rooting for him, I think this could be his last season in Pinstripes.
4. Clint Frazier will have 100 RBI and a 130 wRC+.
2021 will be Clint’s first season as the starting Left Fielder. His 2020 campaign was beyond impressive. Everyone was aware of his bat speed, ability to make contact, and power, but he was also named a Gold Glove Finalist. 2021 will be a big year for Clint. He has been named the every day starting left fielder. Clint has worked so hard to get to this point and everyone has watched him mature so much from 2017 to now. At the plate, Clint was much more composed. His BB% in ’20 was 15.6%, up from 6.5% in 2019. In 2019 and 2020, he showed a lot in small sample sizes. Now with the chance to be out there for a full season, which he worked so hard to get to, I don’t think there is any chance he will pass up this opportunity
5. Yankees win the AL East by at least 8 games
Coming into 2021, the Yankees are by far the most complete team in the AL East. Tampa Bay got much worse compared to last season, trading away Snell as well as letting Charlie Morton walk in Free Agency could hurt them this season. The Blue Jays are heading in the right dirction, but need to further develop their pitching before they are true competitors. As for the Red Sox and Orioles, they would both be lucky to finish .500.