2022 record: 99-63, first in American League East
Offseason headlines: Flirtations with two National League West teams pushed the Yankees into a new stratosphere to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge, who set the league record with 61 homers in 2022. New York also added LHP Carlos Rodon, a Cy Young contender with the Chicago White Sox in 2021 who exceeded expectations with the San Francisco Giants last season. Rodon’s six-year deal was a mild surprise, even for the big-spending Yankees. 1B Anthony Rizzo also came back after considering other free agent options and we can see a spike coming in his .224 batting average due to the shift ban. He also belted 32 homers and could benefit from more time as DH.
Spring storylines: There’s still uncertainty at shortstop, even with the early power display from prospect Anthony Volpe this spring. Manager Aaron Boone plans to open the season using a “closer by committee” with Aroldis Chapman gone. Health problems could impact the team out of the gate. RHP Frankie Montas (shoulder surgery) is out multiple months, and the No. 5 starter job could be in flux for that long. All-Star LHP Nestor Cortes has fully recovered from the hamstring strain he sustained in early February and could begin the season as the fourth starter, according to Boone. CF Harrison Bader (oblique) won’t break camp with the Yankees, which means Judge’s feet won’t be planted in right field unless Boone finds a capable platoon in center. Rodon, a regular on the injured list, won’t be ready to start right away because of a strained forearm.
Young guns: Volpe has only 22 games above Double-A to his credit but he’s pushing for a spot. The team’s No. 1-ranked prospect is the fifth-ranked prospect in baseball according to MLB.com. Volpe, 21, hit .320 in the first nine games of spring training and Boone said he has been impressed by the quality of his at-bats and power to all fields. “A lot of our guys, especially our established core guys, he’s gotten their attention,” Boone said.
Fall feeling: A four-game sweep ended the Yankees’ playoff run last season and Houston remains the bully on the block when it comes to October. The high mileage on workhorse ace Gerrit Cole might be a mild concern, but Boone seems confident he can figure out the bullpen and put the Yankees back in the postseason.
Odds, even: The Yankees are the runaway favorite in the American League East at -380 at Caesars and FanDuel. They have the fifth-best World Series odds (+900) at DraftKings.