This season has had its ups and downs but now we break into a new beginning for the Yankees. Here are five predictions for the second half of the 2018 season.
The Yankees have had their fair share of highs and lows as we begin the second half of the 2018 season. They are currently in a tricky situation and it is still undetermined who their targets will be for the trade deadline.
It is almost impossible to predict where this team will be at the end of the season because of all of the changes that could happen, but we are going to try.
Let’s take a jump right into some predictions for the second half:
1. Setting Records Galore
The Yankees had an eventful first half but it will be nothing like the second half. Right now this team is going to be historic just because of how loaded this team actually is.
The first record that is almost certain to happen is that the Yankees will break a record that is not something to brag about. The Yankees will have struck out the most in a single season in Yankees history. The Pinstripes are on pace to strike out a record of 1,478 times. The closest the Yankees have been to that number was last year when they struck out a ridiculous 1,386 times. Obviously, some of the hitters in the Yankees lineup need to learn some plate discipline.
The second record the Yankees are going to break is a good one. The Yankees will hit the most home runs in a single season in MLB history. This feat is held by the 1997 Seattle Mariners who hit a whopping total of 264 home runs. As of right now, it looks like the Yankees should absolutely clear that number.
New York is on pace to hit 274 home runs, but what that number doesn’t account for is that we are in the dead middle of summer. The hotter it is the farther the ball will fly. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Yankees hit 280 home runs this season.
A third record that the Yankees will break is pretty infuriating. The Yankees are on pace to be the best Wild Card team since the creation of the Wild Card game only 24 years ago. In 2002 the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had a record of 99-63 and ended up still only getting 2nd place in the American League West and securing the Wild Card spot.
As of right now, the Yankees now are going to be second place in the American League East and they are on pace to have 106 wins and be the best Wild Card team in MLB history. This story ended well for the Angels, they ended up winning the World Series against the Giants in a seven-game nail-biting series.
2. Cashman Acquires Two Pitchers At the Trade Deadline
Yankee fans have sung praises for Cashman as he has successfully led them through two very profitable Trade Deadlines. In 2016, the Yankees sold and got a lot for their goods. The prospects that the Yankees farm system acquired made them rank upon the cream of the crop.
In 2017, the Yankees bought and bought well. Cashman maneuvered his way through the markets and acquired Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Sony Gray. All four of those players helped the Yankees go deep enough into the playoffs to be one game short of the World Series.
Now, we are only a couple weeks from the 2018 Trade Deadline and Cashman has some magic to work. After losing Jordan Montgomery the fifth starter in the rotation has been a revolving door. Most of the innings went to Domingo German while some were allocated to Luis Cessa, Jonathan “Lasagna” Loaisiga, and many others.
Cashman needs to find a good starting pitcher to bolster the back end of the rotation if he wants to repeat last years success.
The Yankees also could use some help with their bullpen. While it has been one of the best in baseball, it is in desperate need of a good lefty. The only lefty coming out of the bullpen for the Yankees is Chasen Shreve, who has received his fair share of DFA tweets from Yankees twitter. A premier lefty to improve this years Yankees bullpen would put them leagues ahead of every other bullpen in the MLB.
3. The Comeback Kids: Sonny Gray and Neil Walker Have A Huge Second Half
Last year the Yankees acquired Sonny Gray from the Athletics at a hefty price. He had pitched fantastically for the A’s including a year where he was 3rd in the AL Cy Young voting. Sonny came in for the Yankees and pitched effectively in 2017, sporting a 3.72 ERA with only 4 wins to show for it.
Yankee fans were excited to have a true No. 2 starter in their rotation to open the 2018 season and ended up being disappointed. To the midpoint of the Yankees season, Gray has given up a sky-high 5.46 ERA. While that is bad he has shown good signs. I think this is a headcase thing for Sonny Gray and not a talent thing.
I have no doubt in my mind that a turn around is just around the corner. He has shown his brilliance several times this season. Sonny Gray will pitch to the tune of a beautiful 3.00 ERA or less for the rest of the 2018 season.
Next up to the plate, Neil Walker was a late off-season addition for the Yankees as a utility player that could play first, second, and third base. Neil Walker has been disappointment nonetheless looking clueless in the batter’s box. Sporting a .197/.278/.285 slash line doesn’t look good at all, but fear not! Neil Walker is bound to have an amazing second half and here is why.
Walker has been beyond unlucky. We are going to refer to the stat BABIP which means Batting Average of Balls In Play. BABIP is known to always be the same for players and always steadies out. Neil Walker’s career BABIP excluding this year is .303.
This year so far, he has batted a .250 BABIP, the lowest of his career! This stat is known to balance out as you get farther along in the season and it will end up improving Neil’s slash line. Expect Neil to have a huge second half for the Yankees.
4. Judge Proves That Last Year’s Second Half Slump Was A Fluke
Judge busted onto the scene last year at the beginning of the 2017 season quickly became known for his humble trot around the bases when he blasted home runs into the bleachers. He continued to become even more known once he put on a huge performance in the Home Run Derby. And then the train came to a screeching halt.
Judge put together one of the worst second halves we’ve seen in quite some time. But Judge admitted he had a shoulder injury that he tried to play through and many believe that the Home Run Derby greatly affected his mechanics.
The slugger came into the 2018 season showing off that his first season wasn’t just beginners luck. He has been even more exceptional this year not only as a hitter but also as a fielder. He comes into the second half knowing that he will have to put on a show to lead the Yankees on their chase for 28. Judge will finish this year with 45+ home runs and a batting average of .290 or better.
5. Yankees End Up Getting the Wild Card, But Still Find A Way To Impress
The Yankees will finish this year with 100+ wins and still only end up in the Wild Card game. It will be an unfortunate bump in the road for this ball club, but it will also light a fire under them.
The Yankees will blow past whoever the other wild card team is and will be faced with one of their tougher challenges yet. Beating the Red Sox in five games will be no easy task but they will take the baseball world by storm and beat them at home in Game Four.
We will find that history does repeat itself in the American League Championship Series where the Yankees will valiantly take the Astros to seven games to only fail in the end because of a mishap here or there.
While this will look like a disappointment to fans and Yankees players alike, the sports world will see that the Yankees are one step closer to becoming world champions even without getting any farther in the postseason. Overall, the 2018 season is seen as a tiny step forward instead of the huge step back that it looked like at the midway point.