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    Predicting Yankees’ Opening Day Roster

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    DISCLAIMER: This article was written prior to any injury.

    Catchers (2): Gary Sanchez, Kyle Higashioka

    Aaron Boone came out saying that Gary Sanchez will be the opening day catcher. Despite having a very poor 2020, The Yankees have a lot of faith in Sanchez that he will have a bounce-back 2021 campaign. Sanchez has vowed that 2021 will be a different year for him than 2020 was, being shorter to the ball, and having a re-tooled swing should hopefully help Sanchez have a bounce-back season. Higashioka ended off the 2020 season, mostly catching Gerrit Cole playing in 5 of the 7 postseason games for the Yankees. Higashioka could have a big role on the Yankees if Gary continues to struggle.

    First Base (1): Luke Voit

    Luke Voit was arguably the Yankees second best player in 2020, posting a .948 OPS with a 156 OPS+ and posting a Major League Leading 22 Home Runs, all while battling a foot injury for some of the season. Voit has emerged as a clubhouse leader as well as another big bat for the Yankees in the middle of the order. Look for Voit to have another monster season for the Yankees in 2021.

    Second Base (1): DJ LeMahieu

    Dj LeMahieu has been the Yankees’ most consistent player over the last two years was brought back on a six-year, $90 million dollar contract extension to stay with the Yankees. LeMahieu has been a top five MVP candidate in the last two seasons, including a top 3 MVP finalist this past season. LeMahieu led all of the majors in batting average at .364, with a .421 OBP, .590 SLG, 1.011 OPS, with a 177 OPS+, LeMahieu led the AL in all of those stats besides SLG. LeMahieu is the best second baseman in the MLB, and the Yankees have him for SIX more seasons. LeMahieu brings a lot to the Yankees and is a valuable piece to a team looking to win a World Series.

    Third Base (1): Gio Urshela

    Gio Urshela came to the Yankees from the Toronto Blue Jays for Cash Considerations and that move is looking like a highway robbery. Gio Urshela has taken over the third base job for the Yankees and has become a top 10 third baseman across the MLB, becoming a fixture in the middle portion of the Yankee lineup. Gio brings a great glove as well as a good bat to the Yankees, and 2021 shouldn’t be different. Although Urshela had elbow surgery on a bone spur in his throwing elbow, Urshela should be ready to return around Opening Day.

    Shortstop (1): Gleyber Torres

    Brian Cashman has come out and said that Gleyber Torres is the guy for the Yankees at shortstop and that the Yankees have faith that Torres can work to become a better defender for the Yankees at shortstop. While Torres had an average year last year for the Yankees, but he did come to life in the postseason for the Yankees. I expect Gleyber to have a bounce-back season for the Yankees, and regain the recognition he had before last season.

    Outfield (4): Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner

    Aaron Boone came out and said that Clint Frazier will be the everyday left fielder for the Yankees, Frazier will join Hicks and Judge in the Outfield. Aaron Hicks will be the everyday center fielder. Even though Hicks had a bit of a down season in 2020, I expect him to bounce-back in a full season for the Yankees. Nothing much to say about Aaron Judge that hasn’t been said before. If he can stay healthy he can be a monster. If not, then the reliable Brett Gardner will get some time in the outfield, as he was brought back on a 1 year deal worth $5 million dollar deal with an option for next season.

    Utility (2): Derek Dietrich, Tyler Wade

    Derek Dietrich was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, and I see him cracking the opening day roster. Dietrich brings pop from the left side of the plate, as well as a solid eye, Dietrich had a .347 OBP in 2020 and has a career .335 OBP, which isn’t the best, but it can be good for the Yankees if they want to give someone a day off Dietrich can play virtually anywhere besides shortstop, catcher, center field. Tyler Wade brings plus speed to the Yankees as well as a solid defensive glove which will give him the last bench spot for the Yankees.

    Starting Pitchers (5): Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia

    Nothing new to add about Gerrit Cole, he will be the workhorse for the Yankees this season. Corey Kluber was brought in on a 1-year deal worth $11 million dollars. Kluber has had some injury concerns in the past few seasons, but if healthy gives the Yankees a very solid option behind Gerrit Cole. Jameson Taillon is brought in from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Taillon is coming off of Tommy John Surgery but has said that he changed his pitching motion and will hopefully help him with his elbow and stuff. Taillon also has had some injury concerns in the past, but again if healthy can be a solid option behind Kluber. Jordan Montgomery coming off of a pretty inconsistent 2020 season, but pitched a very good game 4 for the Yankees in the ALDS. Montgomery could have a breakout season for the Yankees and man down that final rotational spot whenever Luis Severino comes back. Deivi Garcia is a young arm for the Yankees, that the organization and the fans are very high on, Deivi made his debut last season and didn’t pitch horribly. Garcia and Montgomery will be fighting for that final rotation spot when Luis Severino comes back.

    Bullpen (7): Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Chad Green, Darren O’Day, Justin Wilson, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Albert Abreu

    The Yankees picked up Britton’s $14 million dollar deal this off-season which was a big question entering the off-season. In free agency, the Yankees signed Darren O’Day and Justin Wilson, O’Day brings a different style of pitching to the Yankees, he’s a submarine pitcher who doesn’t have the Velocity that guys like Chapman has. Wilson is back for his second stint with the Yankees, he is a lefty so the Yankees will role into the 2021 season with 3 lefties and 4 righties in the bullpen.

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