2023 New York Yankees Preview: Patience is a Virtue


The Yankees #1 prospect Anthony Volpe is set to make his MLB debut. (Courtesy of Twitter)

As we are only a mere day from MLB’s Opening Day, it is the perfect time to preview what this season of New York Yankees baseball could have in store.

Last season ended in tragic fashion. Despite a historic 99-63 campaign that saw star right-fielder Aaron Judge win American League MVP and break the single-season AL and team home run record with 62 home runs, the Bombers were ultimately swept in the ALCS by the eventual World Series Champion Houston Astros.

2023 figures to be a successful year for the Yanks, but patience, a virtue not beloved by fans, will be key. Health and the development of young talent will dictate if New York is able to capture their 28th championship in franchise history this coming October.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner and General Manager Brian Cashman attempted to keep a strong starting rotation this offseason. While Jameson Taillon departed and signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, the Bombers signed two-time all-star Carlos Rodón to a six-year, $162 million deal. The Miami native posted a 14-8 record with a 2.88 ERA last season as a member of the San Francisco Giants and finished with baseball’s best FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) at a 2.25 clip.

Unfortunately for New York, Rodón suffered a forearm strain during spring training and will miss the start of the regular season. To make matters worse, Luis Severino was recently placed on the injury list with a lat strain and will miss the start of the season as well. These injuries both came after the early winter news that one of last season’s trade deadline acquisitions, starter Frankie Montas, would likely miss the entire campaign.

When Severino and Rodón do return however, they will likely join Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt in a starting rotation that is arguably the best in baseball. Cortes is coming off a surprising year in which he boasted a career best 2.44 ERA. Cole made a league-high 33 starts, and was a reliable workhorse. Luis Severino and Domingo German both spent significant time on the injured list last season, but are more than serviceable back-end arms when healthy.

Much like their starting rotation, the Yankees’ bullpen will not be at full strength to start the year. New signing Tommy Kahnle was shut down due to right bicep tendonitis, and Scott Effross will be out the entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Other pithers such as Michael King, Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, Ron Marinaccio and Jonathon Loáisiga will have to build off of strong 2022’s and become even more consistent on the bump given the departures of Chad Green and Zack Britton. Manager Aaron Boone will also play a role in sculpting how the bullpen functions. The sixth year manager must exercise the proper wisdom when determining who takes the hill over the course of the season.

Of course, the lineup will be the main attraction of this Yankees’ team. Newly appointed captain Aaron Judge will lead a unit hoping to embrace the “Bronx Bomber” identity. Many familiar names such as Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres and Josh Donaldson will once grace the diamond for New York. Center fielder Harrison Bader will start the season on the injured list with an oblique strain, but hopes to return well before the All-Star break.

Regardless of the established veterans on the team, it has been the youngsters who’ve been the story of the spring. On Sunday, it was announced that rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe will make the major league roster and begin his year in the Bronx. So far this spring, the 21-year-old prospect collected three home runs, five RBI’s and five stolen bases while batting .314. He’ll be the youngest Yankee to start on Opening Day since Derek Jeter in 1996.

Additionally, players such as Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza will be given chances to contribute. Cabrera will start the year with the Yankees, but Peraza will have to wait a bit longer to make his return to the MLB.

New York will need their younger players to step up if they have designs on defeating the Houston Astros this season. While the Yankees finished the regular season with baseball’s fourth best on-base percentage, their bats went cold in the ALCS. Time and time again, they were unable to generate enough baserunners or home runs to pressure Houston’s pitching staff. Multifaceted hitters such as Volpe, Cabrera and Peraza could help the Bronx Bomber attack in a potential Postseason clash. Peraza and Cabrera got a taste of fall baseball last season, but more reps on the big league level could better prepare them for a World Series run. As for Volpe, it should be remembered that youth does wonders. It was not that long ago that a young Jeter helped propel veterans like Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez and Wade Boggs to the 1996 Crown. Perhaps it will be Volpe who helps thrust Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo into the Fall Classic.

The 2023 New York Yankees have championship potential, but fans and critics will have to exercise patience. With key pitchers beginning the season on the IL, and budding stars just beginning their Major League careers, it is likely that the team will look and play much differently after the All-Star break. They should be in prime position to win the American League East, but it will take time for this reality to become clear. Overcoming the Astros will require a healthy pitching staff, improved situational hitting from veterans like Judge and Rizzo and critical contributions from younger players like Volpe and Cabrera.

At the beginning of last season it seemed as though the Yankees title window was closing. Just one year later, youth and a slew of reliable arms have given them another chance at capturing their 28th World Series Championship in franchise history.