New York Yankees 2022 Preview: The Only Certainty is Uncertainty


The Yankees look to improve internally with a different makeup. (Courtesy of Twitter)

As we are only a week away from MLB’s Opening Day, it is the perfect time to check out how the New York Yankees are looking and what fans should expect this season. All things considered, last season was a failure for the Yankees. Heading into the campaign, they were expected to be at the top of the AL East and legitimately compete for a World Series title.
Even though the Bombers finsished with a 92-70 record, they barely crept into the postseason and were neck and neck with the Red Sox and Blue Jays almost the entire summer. Worse, once they got into the Wild Card game, the rival Sox made quick work of them at Fenway Park. Needless to say, the Yanks would love to bounce back this season and return to championship form. However, there are a myriad of questions regarding their ability to do so as we inch closer to game number one of 162.
Beginning with the starting rotation, New York has solid options. Of course, Gerrit Cole headlines the rotation and is coming off of a solid statistical year in which he went 16-8 with a 3.23 ERA, finishing second in Cy Young voting. The ace will be motivated to come out strong, especially after his disastrous performance in the Wild Card match up in Boston. Additionally, Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino are all returning in 2022. Nobody doubts that Cole will be the anchor again.
These players, however, are in a different category that holds more uncertainty. Taillon was the AL pitcher of the month last July, posting a 4-0 record and a 1.16 ERA, Montgomery and Domingo German have been known to eat innings, and Severino was once an ace in the making. The talent is there, although questions remain about both health and consistency. If Severino, Montgomery, Taillon and German experience injuries or severe drops in production, manager Aaron Boone will have to look elsewhere for starting pitching. This could mean some spot appearances from youngsters Deivi Garcia and Luis Gil. However, if they can find consistency, Yankees fans should feel good about the staff.
Last season’s bullpen was a bright spot for New York. Jonathan Loáisiga had a career year, posting a 9-4 record with a 2.17 ERA in 57 games. Other key pieces such as Chad Greene, Wandy Peralta and Aroldis Chapman will all return as well. This may be the area that Yankees fans should feel most comfortable about. Is the pen stacked with talent? No. But Boone has shown an ability to effectively manage a bullpen in years past, and all of these players can have stretches where they seem to give opposing hitters fits.
The only question regarding the unit is their ability to stay on the field. Zack Britton and Green have dealt with injuries before, and with Chapman getting older, it is possible his arm will run out of gas at some point. As long as Boone is able to properly manage his guys, the Bombers should be okay in the late innings.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this season’s biggest worry revolves around the lineup. Last season, there was no consistency at all. There were nights where they were firing on all cylinders, and others where they couldn’t figure it out at all. As a team, they hit into the second most double plays, and were in the bottom ten of the league in terms of batting average.
These facts make their success with the long ball and on base percentage less impressive, and show that the Pinstripes were not situationally sound at the plate.
Personnel wise, Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela were traded to Minnesota for aging slugger Josh Donaldson, catcher Ben Rortvedt and utility infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa. General manager Brian Casshman also re-signed first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shipped Luke Voit to San Diego, making this year’s Yankee lineup a much different team.
With the exception of Rizzo, no one knows how the additions will fare in New York, and names such as Joey Gallo, Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton can run extremely hot or cold in the batter’s box. With this kind of variation, the Yankees lineup could either be a powerhouse or a complete bust.
They will have to hope that big Aaron Judge plays as well as he did last season and that DJ LeMahieu returns to his 2019 form in which he hit .327 and had 26 home runs. The lineup is a high-risk, high-reward type of operation that will need Judge and LeMahieu to provide much needed consistency to a group that embodies baseball’s new boom or bust mentality.
Every year, the Yankees hope to win the World Series. When they won in the past, the pieces were in place to do so. The 1927 team is marked by legendary sluggers, the 1977 and ’78 teams are remembered because of solid situational play and gritty personalities and the 1990s dynasty is cherished because of its nucleus of young talent that was properly mixed with veteran journeymen.
On paper, the 2022 New York Yankees do not look “special.” They are a decent team that could make a playoff run or be killed by inconsistencies. With the championship window closing, it is now or never. If the backend of the rotation or lineup can not perform, they will struggle to keep pace in the wild card race, let alone a packed AL East.
However, if the rotation and lineup can join the bullpen in remaining stable through a 162 game marathon, the Yankees will be a playoff contender that should legitimately be feared by. All of this remains to be seen. At this moment in time, the only certainty about this season’s Bronx Bombers is uncertainity.