Two Yankees hold the potential to emerge as X-factors in 2023

Yankees captain Aaron Judge at a training session.
Sara Molnick
Friday June 23, 2023

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There are Yankees who generated big expectations toward the end of the 2022 season. Their record continues to fascinate the Yankees fans in the offseason with the hope of a big performance. They have still the opportunity to showcase their abilities in the remaining portion of the season, and their performance could significantly impact the team’s outcomes during the final months of the year. These Yankees players have the potential to emerge as X-factors for the team’s success.

Harrison Bader: Can he hold on to his popularity?

Last year, during the deadline, the Yankees made a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals, sending left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery in exchange for center fielder Harrison Bader. Although Montgomery was injured at the time of the trade and had only appeared in 14 regular season games for the Yankees, he had an impressive postseason performance, going 10-for-30 with five home runs.

As he entered his last year of arbitration control, Bader was anticipated to have a breakout season in 2023. However, injuries have once again hindered his performance, and he has only been able to participate in 27 games due to oblique and hamstring problems.

Yankees player Harrison Bader holding a bat at Yankees Stadium
Julio Aguilar

In his limited playing time this year, the 29-year-old has achieved a 118 OPS+ and 1.2 WAR, showcasing his strong performance. If he manages to remain injury-free for the remainder of the season, he will position himself for a lucrative contract as one of the premier outfielders in the upcoming free-agent market.

Carlos Rodon: Yankees expect him to be a key player

Carlos Rodon, who was selected as the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, has faced challenges with injuries throughout his career. However, he managed to stay healthy and deliver impressive performances in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Recognizing his potential, the Yankees took a chance on him by signing him to a six-year, $162 million contract in free agency.

During his standout season last year, the left-handed pitcher achieved a 14-8 record with a 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 237 strikeouts in a career-high 178 innings. His remarkable performance earned him a sixth-place finish in the AL Cy Young voting. Despite these accomplishments, Rodon has yet to make his debut for the Yankees.

Carlos Rodon ready to play for Somerset Patriots
Somerset Patriots

Dealing with a forearm strain since spring training, the 30-year-old Yankees starter has spent months on the sidelines. However, he recently took a significant step towards recovery by making his first rehab start, pitching three innings for Double-A Somerset on Tuesday.

The Yankees eagerly await Rodon’s return to the field, hoping that he not only remains healthy but also fulfills the role of a co-ace alongside Gerrit Cole at the forefront of their pitching rotation. They have high expectations for his performance and look forward to him making a significant impact once he is back in action.

Nestor Cortes: Yankees secret weapon beyond X-factors

nestor-cortes-new-york-yankees
AP

During the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Nestor Cortes emerged as a standout pitcher, establishing himself as one of the top performers in baseball. With a remarkable 2.61 ERA, an impressive 0.98 WHIP, and a total of 266 strikeouts across 251.1 innings, his exceptional performance garnered him recognition, as he secured an eighth-place finish in the AL Cy Young Award voting for the previous year.

Despite being projected as a crucial component of the starting rotation for the current season, the 28-year-old pitcher has encountered challenges. His performance has been hindered, resulting in a 5.16 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP over 59.1 innings pitched. Additionally, he has been unable to play since late May due to a strained rotator cuff, further contributing to his setbacks.

This year, there has been a noticeable increase in his hard-hit rate, rising from 34.7 to 42.1 percent, along with a significant jump in his opponents’ batting average from .189 to .253. As a result, he has become more vulnerable to hits, and the decrease in the effectiveness of his cutter pitch has played a significant role in this decline.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Two Yankees hold the potential to emerge as X-factors in 2023

  1. It’s All this talk about when we get healthy. Boone will screw us like he do every year. We had some good teams the last 7 years. It’s time for a change from top to bottom. That means you to Cashman! U have blown it the last 7 years. Then the last 3 years been a joke.

  2. This season is dead ! They’re not going to make the playoffs. Judge with a torn ligament will be out the rest of the way and even if he comes back will not perform well. Get rid of Rizzo next year and put judge at first base. Cortes should go to the bullpen. He’s only affective for 5 innings. Get rid of Stanton, Donaldson and Rizzo. Rodan will get hurt again! It’s a mismanaged team top to bottom!

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