Odds, challenges can’t write off Yankees’ claim to AL East title

Aaron Judge after winning 2022 AL East Divisional Title.

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The New York Yankees have encountered unexpected challenges in the 2023 MLB season, finding themselves 9½ games behind the AL East leaders the Rays. However, despite facing obstacles, Yankees fans have reasons for optimism. The men in pinstripes have enough capacity to turn the tide and remain a top contender for the AL East title.

As the Yankees await reinforcements and demonstrate recent improvements in their offensive performance, it raises hopes of securing the division championship.

Even FanDuel puts the Yankees at +950.

Yankees can surmount challenges

Turning our attention to the Yankees’ latest positive development, we eagerly anticipate the imminent comeback of Harrison Bader. Following his participation in two additional rehabilitation games over the weekend, the center fielder is anticipated to make his return on Tuesday.

Statistical data indicates that his return will significantly boost the performance of the Yankees.

In addition to maintaining his position among the top 10 players in terms of arm strength and defensive outs above average, the 29-year-old has also showcased an impressive .806 OPS in 95 plate appearances. As a result, the team has achieved a remarkable 18-8 record whenever he has been in the lineup.

New York Yankees' player celebrating during a match in MLB.
@Yankees/Twitter

With Bader set to rejoin the lineup in the next few days, the Yankees will finally have a full complement of key players back on the field. This comes as a much-needed relief for an offense that has been searching for solutions throughout the season. The return of Stanton and Donaldson earlier this month has already provided a boost, and Bader’s comeback will further strengthen the team’s offensive capabilities.

Throughout the season, the Yankees found themselves in a position where they had to rely on Oswaldo Cabrera, despite his limited offensive production (as indicated by his 51 OPS+). They had no other viable options and had to give him regular opportunities at the plate.

Things look positive for in the long run

The Yankees have been experimenting with various outfielders such as Franchy Cordero, Willie Calhoun, and Billy McKinney, hoping to find a successful combination.

With the imminent return of Bader, the Yankees can look forward to reducing their reliance on Triple-A-level players in the starting lineup. However, the team still has the challenge of managing Aaron Judge’s toe injury.

Once Bader rejoins the lineup, the offensive firepower of the Yankees should significantly improve, resembling a lineup that belongs in the major leagues, even without the return of Judge.

With a pitching staff that currently sits at the fourth spot in MLB with a 3.59 ERA, the Yankees’ prospects are looking brighter as they regain their health. It appears that things are falling into place for the team.

The Yankees have benefited greatly from the addition of Tommy Kahnle to reinforce their bullpen, and they can look forward to the imminent return of Ian Hamilton. Furthermore, Carlos Rodon, who is recovering from an elbow injury, has progressed to the point of facing hitters, which is an encouraging sign.

The Yankees have reasons to be optimistic as they have showcased strong pitching performances, ranking well in categories such as barrels per plate appearance and expected slugging percentage. This bodes well for their overall performance and adds to the positive outlook for the team.

The latest New York Yankees roster cut let Wilmer Difo and Rodolfo Duran go on March 25, 2023.

The division battle and the Yankees

While the Rays have been dominant this season, their actual batting average compared to their expected batting average according to Statcast shows a significant gap, which raises some questions about their performance.

Additionally, their pitching has experienced a slight decline, evidenced by a 4.23 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) over the past 30 days.

Moreover, the Orioles’ bullpen performance has shown signs of decline, as they have recorded a 4.26 ERA over the past 30 days. Despite the Orioles’ formidable offense, they still lag behind the Yankees in terms of expected slugging percentage and in the number of barrels and hard-hit balls produced.

With the season still in mid-June, there remains a significant amount of time for things to go awry for the Rays. Their recent losses in Oakland and a period of offensive struggles in May have revealed a slight decline in the Rays’ previous dominance.

With a roster bolstered by returning players from the injured list, the Bombers have a good chance of closing the 9¹/₂-game gap in the division standings over the course of a couple of months.

At +950 odds offered by FanDuel, there is significant value in placing a bet on the Yankees to win the division.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

3 thoughts on “Odds, challenges can’t write off Yankees’ claim to AL East title

  1. I wish I could be as optimistic as these other Yankees fans, but I don’t see the Yankees getting any better this season. We have too many players who are long in the tooth and short on production on the roster. Their best days are behind them and believing they’re going to produce as they did in their prime is ludicrous.
    Playing hurt just isn’t in these players’ lexicon. They all need to feel great and be at 100% in order for them to take the field.
    Our “starters”- save Cole- are finished after 5 or 6 innings. What’s happened to baseball players? 75% of these guys would never have made the roster 50 years ago. They’re not reliable enough to be Yankees. They’re making multi-millions of dollars per year but only play when they feel great and are at 100%.
    Maybe they should work a few weeks in a concession stand flipping burgers so they can see what a real job is like? Maybe they should try feeding, housing, and raising three kids while working a minimum wage job for awhile.
    Maybe their little aches and pains wouldn’t seem like such an insurmountable burden to them anymore.
    They play a game for a living. Well, some of them do, when they feel up to it.

  2. Not this season.
    Rays are just better.
    And we also have to climb over the O’s.
    Not happening.

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