The Yankees rotation for the 2020 season has three thoroughbreds at the top, and that’s all they need in the postseason – plus their Class A bullpen.
The Yankees 2020 starting rotation, like all teams, will be challenged with the need to play 60 games in 66 days. There will be no time or need to wean the fifth starter into the rotation, as we see in a typical 162 game season. Instead, it’s all hands on deck from the get-go.
In 2020, the Yankees rotation is highlighted by the righty, lefty, righty springboard of Gerrit Cole, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka, each of who is expected to get between 10-12 starts.
Together, they comprise a mighty trio that is built for an assault on the postseason. Quiet please – don’t tell, but as in past years, for this Yankees team, the regular season is merely foreplay.
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have the Yankees poised to win 37.5 (call it 38) games in the shortened season. If we assume each of the Yankees top three starters get eleven outings, totaling between them 21 wins, that leaves the team needing seventeen more wins from the rest of the staff, including the bullpen.
Any of the three (Cole, Paxton, and Tanaka) is capable of contributing more (8-3 instead of 7-4), and if they can, that reduces the burdens on James Montgomery and J.A. Happ. They are pegged as the fourth and fifth starters as the Yankees’ insurance to reach the playoffs as a top seed.
Yankees Rotation Backed To The Hilt
In the event any of these five starters falter or succumb to injury, manager Aaron Boone has spoken about Deivi Garcia, Michael King, Nick Nelson, and Clarke Schmidt in glowing terms as options who could help the club at some point this season.
And don’t rule out Jonathan Loaisiga or Chad Green as spot starters or openers if a need arises.
Beyond the Yankees rotation, the team will once again feature a locked and loaded bullpen that includes Aroldis Chapman (closer), Zack Britton, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, David Hale, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle, and Adam Ottavino. Boone is familiar with each in choosing spots that give them their best chance to succeed.
Yankees 2020: The Offense Must Also Rise
To support the Yankees rotation, the offense must be at least as mighty as they were last season. In 2019, they ranked first in runs scored, second in home runs, third in OPS, and fourth in batting average and OBP.
Will Aaron Boone find a way to ensure Miguel Andujar gets sufficient at-bats, and will Andujar respond with the production he supplied in 2018, before sitting out all of last year with an injury? And how will Gleyber Torres prevail as the Yankees regular shortstop?
For once, it is the Yankees offense that must respond in kind to what is expected to be excellent performances from both the starting staff and bullpen.
Everyone Has A Plan ‘Till They Get Punched In The Mouth
That was Mike Tyson speaking words of wisdom that easily resonate with the Yankees based on their experience with a record-setting number of players who spent time on the Injured List last year.
The main guys in the clubhouse have not changed, and they are more than familiar with the ups and downs of a baseball season.
The Yankees 2020 shortened season, together with the myriad of challenges to keep safe during a still-raging pandemic, raise the limits of stress and individual responsibility to adhere to unprecedented rule changes that severely alter the routines and habits of each player.
This Yankees team is on a mission to reclaim their status as a championship team. For some, like Aaron Judge, this is a personal matter of revenge against what the cheating Astros “stole” from both the Yankees and Dodgers.
There will be time for that, but first things first. The Yankees rotation is strong enough to challenge any team in the postseason. Thirty-eight wins should be enough to not only get there but to emerge as the top American League seed, a most treasured position to be in for the planned expanded postseason.
Meanwhile, it’s nice to dream about Cole, Paxton, and Tanaka – back-to-back-to-back at the top of the Yankees rotation.