Friends, a new season is upon us. The offseason is over and the Yankees are hosting a true workout today. It is pretty exciting. The last year has been pretty damn miserable for everyone, so I am really hoping to see a full, safe baseball season. I know I could use it, and I bet you can too.
With much more to come in the next few days, here are some preliminary thoughts as the Yankees break camp and get the 2021 season underway.
1. Expectations, Expectations, Expectations: The beauty of Spring Training is that it is a time for optimism. Squint hard enough and fans of nearly any team, with my apologies to Orioles and Pirates fans, can see a path forward. The good news about rooting for the 2021 Yankees is that absolutely no squinting is necessary: they are comfortably the best team in the American League. It’s not just me saying that. The major projection systems agree:
- PECOTA: 98-64, 81.5% chance of winning the AL East
- FanGraphs: 96-66, 71.4% chance of winning the AL East
In both cases, that’s the highest in the American League – PECOTA has Houston winning 93 games and FanGraphs also has Houston second with 88 wins –and second only behind the reigning champion Dodgers in the league overall. FanGraphs also calculates World Series odds. The Yanks rank second (18%) behind the Dodgers there, too. It’s good company and it passes the sniff test. The Yankees are definitely that good.
All of this is to say that I am cannot wait for the season to start. One obvious reason is because of how good they are: this is a complete roster and the team had a very strong offseason, Ottavino salary dump aside. Another reason is that last season was extremely frustrating for many reasons, one of them being that it was really short – over a full 162 games, I think things would have straightened out. Alas, it was not to be.
But the past is the past. It is a new season, and all indications are that it is going to be a good one. Hopefully, it will be the best one since 2009. As Aaron Boone said in his introductory press conference yesterday afternoon, “talk is cheap at this point.” Can’t say it any better than that.