The Yankees were Good in 2019. They’re probably going to be Good in 2020, too. As is the case with Good teams, they have Good players who performed well and will likely perform well again. If the Yankees got a repeat performance from just about everyone, they’d be pretty happy. Still, there are things that each position player on the team can do to improve in 2020. Let’s run them down.
In 2018, Gary Sanchez was a pretty good framer but a horrible blocker. In 2019, Gary Sanchez was a terrible framer and a much improved blocker. The former is more important than the latter and Sanchez has to find a way to marry the two. He’s already an ultra-elite hitter for his position and, even with some fielding warts, he’s among the best catchers in the game. If he’s able to find a good middle ground of framing and blocking, he’ll be the best in the game with few, if any, questions.
Luke Voit had a killer first half and a totally lost second half, as Bobby detailed back in November. The most important takeaway, though, was that Voit’s negative performance coincided with and stemmed from his injury. The one thing Voit needs to do is just be healthy. When he’s healthy, he rakes.
Uh….nothing? I really can’t think of a single thing he needs to do. His season was about as perfect as a season can get. Given that he’ll presumably switch to second base full time, I suppose he just needs to…continue being a top caliber fielder.
No one expected Gio to put up a 136 OPS+ last year. And I don’t think anyone expects him to do it again. Urshela may have some added pressure on him with the impending return of Miguel Andujar, but as long as he plays his regular stellar defense–like DJLM–and isn’t an embarrassment at the plate, it’ll be more than enough. Basically, he just has to make the Yankees make a tough choice once Andujar is healthy.
Aside from potentially becoming a leader , Gleyber Torres needs to make a defensive adjustment, or readjustment. He got plenty of time at shortstop last season, but now he’s going to be there full time. Via the eye test, he looks more comfortable there than he did at second base–even if he’s just fine there. Now he’s going to be there the whole time. That is likely more important than him trying to make any improvements at the plate (maybe more plate discipline + walks?). Focus on being the full time shortstop in 2020 and round out the offensive game in 2021; it’s plenty fine as is.
Be healthy. That’s it. He can carry the team when he’s not hurt and did so in 2018. There’s nothing to say about his 2019, so just stay healthy, G. Please.
Whatever Brett Gardner did to not have a second half swoon in 2019, that’s what he needs to do in 2020. Up till last year, he was generally good in the first half and then bad in the second. That reversed itself last year and led to one of his most productive years ever.
Aaron Judge is one of the best players in baseball, hands down. Unfortunately, with such a large frame, he has a tendency to get hurt. Like Voit, like Stanton, all I want from Judge is a fully healthy year. One of those would lead to MVP votes, no doubt in my mind, and with Mike Trout being a thing, getting votes is almost as good as winning. His injuries have led to Judge being underrated by Baseball, I think, and if and when he’s fully healthy, he’ll show them what they’ve been missing out on.