The New York Yankees have fallen short of their ultimate goal in recent years. Just about every year is a World Series or bust type of situation in The Bronx, and they haven’t won one since 2009. They have been one of the favorites to win it all for the last several years, but continue to suffer early exits in the postseason. There is no doubt they have the appropriate talent on their roster, but they haven’t come up big when they’ve needed it the most.
The positive note for the Yankees is that they consistently put together a winning product. The last time they had a losing record for a season was all the way back in 1992. They are projected to have another winning team in the 2022 MLB season, as long as the lockout doesn’t prevent it from happening. Winning seasons and postseason appearances are fine, but that doesn’t meet the Yankees’ expectations of winning championships. Here are three players on the roster who can help them get over the hump.
The Yankees need a legitimate number two starting pitcher behind their ace Gerrit Cole. Luis Severino has the potential to be that guy and already has been in the past. Before missing almost three full seasons due to injury, Severino was the ace of the Yankees pitching staff and on his way to being one of the top starting pitchers in baseball. He was selected to consecutive All-Star Games in 2017 and 2018 while finishing in the top ten in AL Cy Young voting in both seasons.
If Severino can get back to his old form, the Yankees starting rotation would have the one-two punch they need at the top. In particular, this would help them greatly in a postseason series, rather than having to rely so heavily on Gerrit Cole and constantly overworking the bullpen. It’s been a long road back from injury, but Severino is expected to be fully healthy for the first time in years at the start of the 2022 MLB Season. He and Gerrit Cole could potentially be a dominant pairing at the top of the rotation.
Jonathan Loaisiga had a breakout season in 2021, becoming the most reliable relief pitcher for the Yankees. He has consistently improved over his four seasons in the majors, becoming more effective in just about every pitching metric. He set new career bests in just about every statistic and will look to at least match that in 2022, if not be even better again.
Loaisiga is going to be a crucial piece of the Yankees bullpen next season. Zack Britton is going to miss most, if not all, of the entire year after having Tommy John surgery. That means Loaisiga will likely plug into a setup role in front of Aroldis Chapman, who will again be the projected closer. Aroldis Chapman had a roller coaster year in 2021, making Loaisiga even more important to the Yankees’ success.
Gleyber Torres is going to need to rediscover his lethal bat. If he can regain his previous form, it would be a massive boost to the Yankees offense. He hit 62 home runs combined between the 2018 and 2019 seasons on his way to two consecutive All-Star Games. In the last two seasons since then, he has combined for just 12 home runs and his batting average has dropped about 25 points.
Gleyber Torres still has the potential to be one of the best offensive players on the Yankees roster. He has already shown it consistently over a two-year span, so he just needs to get his confidence back. Permanently moving back to second base from shortstop could help rebuild some of it, as his struggling defense may have affected his mental game. Gleyber Torres is only 25 years old so he is still a developing talent. A revival of his bat could be just what the Yankees need.
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