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High-powered Yankees enter the season with high expectations

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson is congratulated in the dugout after scoring a run against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees enter the MLB season with a loaded roster of power hitters and a deep bullpen as the team looks to end their 12 year World Series drought. 

Fans will see a number of returning favorites for the 2022-23 season, including DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge, along with some new faces in the clubhouse like Josh Donaldson. 

Also returning is fan-favorite Anthony Rizzo at first base, who inked a $32 million contract for 2 years this offseason after speculation that the team could look for an upgrade at the position, with many insiders linking the team to former-Brave Freddie Freeman, who ultimately signed a massive contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Still, the high-powered offense in the Bronx has given oddsmakers enough reason to be bullish on the Yanks’ chances this year, with popular betting site FanDuel Sportsbook pegging the pinstripes at +1300 odds to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy (meaning gamblers would win $13 for every $1 wagered).

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That puts the Yankees as the 7th most likely team to win the championship this season, just ahead of the New York Mets, who boast +1500 odds. 

2022 AL East, Yankees odds

Team Projected record Odds to win division Odds to make playoffs Odds to win World Series
Blue Jays 92–70 +170 -390 +850
Yankees 90–72 +200 -400 +950
Red Sox 87–75 +550 -120 +2,200
Rays 86–76 +320 -205 +1,700
Orioles 65–97 +1,5000 +1,800 +3,000

[Using FanGraphs 2022 projections, odds courtesy of DraftKings]

The team’s success will largely be dependent on their top-heavy offensive game. Last season, the team’s top 4 hitters — LeMahieu, Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres — recorded a combined 576 hits, out of the team’s total 1,266 on the season. All 4 men will be returning to the Bronx for the upcoming season. 

Meanwhile, the 33-year-old shortstop LeMahieu, along with 29-year-old Judge, led the team in RBIs last year, with 98 and 97, respectively. 

The continuity among the Yankees’ roster this offseason will surely benefit the team, who fell to their rival Boston Red Sox in a single-elimination playoff game last postseason. 

The team will open their season on Friday, April 8 against Boston, after inclement weather projections halted their scheduled opener on Thursday. 

Yankees projected Opening Day Lineup, 2022 stats

Thus far, the team’s Opening Day defense looks to be:

  1. Kyle Higashioka (C): 252 PA, .206 BA, 78 OPS+, 12 HR, 37 RBI
  2. Anthony Rizzo (1B): 552 PA, .260 BA, 123 OPS+, 23 HR, 75 RBI
  3. Gleyber Torres (2B): 571 PA, .260 BA, 106 OPS+, 20 HR, 71 RBI
  4. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (SS): 583 PA, .262 BA, 110 OPS+, 9 HR, 74 RBI
  5. Josh Donaldson (3B): 543 PA, .246 BA, 138 OPS+, 27 HR, 75 RBI
  6. Aaron Judge (RF): 575 PA, .276 BA, 144 OPS+, 36 HR, 95 RBI
  7. Aaron Hicks (CF): 256 PA, .223 BA, 102 OPS+, 9 HR, 32 RBI
  8. Joey Gallo (LF): 534 PA, .205 BA, 131 OPS+, 38 HR, 91 RBI
  9. Giancarlo Stanton (DH): 530 PA, .255 BA, 123 OPS+, 30 HR, 91 RBI

As of now, right-hander Gerrit Cole is expected to start the Yanks’ first game on Friday. Cole went 16-8 last season, while recording a 3.23, and allowing 151 and 24 home runs. 

Behind Cole in the Yankees bullpen, fans will see righty Jordan Montgomery, along with the often-injured Luis Severino. Aroldis Chapman will see the mound most as the team’s closer. 

Starting Rotation

  1. Gerrit Cole (R): 30 GS, 182.0 IP, 16–7, 2.82 ERA, 248 K’s, 47 BB
  2. Jordan Montgomery (L): 27 GS, 140.3 IP, 7–5, 3.85 ERA, 148 K’s, 39 BB
  3. Luis Severino (R): 17 GS, 97.0 IP, 8–5, 3.62 ERA, 105 K’s, 27 BB
  4. Jameson Taillon (R): 26 GS, 131.7 IP, 8–6, 4.24 ERA, 37 K’s, 20 BB
  5. Jonathan Loáisiga (R): 47 GS, 66.7 IP, 7–4, 3,24 ERA, 74 K’s, 20 BB

Projections courtesy of FanGraphs Depth Chart, which is a combination of ZiPS and Steamer projections with playing time allocated by their staff.

The Yankees organization heads into the season with the 3rd highest payroll in the major leagues, behind only the Mets and Dodgers, which has given fans even more reason to demand on-field success from the pinstripes. 

The franchise’s last World Series win came in 2009, and the team has failed to even win the ALCS since — marking an uncharacteristic drought for the team, which has a renowned-record of success. 

As the team from the Bronx hopes to compete this season, they’ll face tough competition from a number of big-spending teams, including many in their own division — like the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays.

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