Baseball is back! We think. Each day, SportsIntel’s Matt DeSaro will take a look at two of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball as we head toward MLB Opening Day in late July and we continue today in the AL East with the New York Yankees.

The owners and players agreed in late June to stage a 60-game season, beginning July 24. There are still many hurdles to overcome in this COVID-19 landscape, but for now, the teams are gathering for “Summer Camp,” a Spring Training reboot crammed into three weeks.

MLB Opening Day – New York Yankees

New York Yankees | O/U 37.5 Wins | +450 to win World Series

The New York Yankees have had a wild and emotional offseason that started with a big bang of ace Gerrit Cole.  It set their rotation up to be just as threatening as their lineup.

Things took a turn toward the negative however as MLB injuries have already been a huge issue for the bombers ahead of the season opening day.

This is something New York has dealt with in the past but with the shortened season, it will be hard for some of these guys to get back on the field.

Despite their health issues, the Yankees will be in the playoff hunt come September.

The Yankees addressed their rotation issues by signing Gerrit Cole in the offseason.  Their biggest free-agent acquisition in years.

He joins James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka creating a three-headed monster for the Bombers.

Offseason Acquisitions: 3B James Nelson, RHP Gerrit Cole

Offseason Losses: 1B Greg Bird, OF Jacoby Ellsbury, DH Edwin Encarnacion DH Kendrys Morales, RHP Chad Bettis, LHP Stephen Tarpley, LHP LHP Nestor Cortes Jr.,

What Do The Yankees Do Well?

The New York Yankees patched up their biggest hole in the offseason. Their pitching staff. Their rotation the last few seasons has been iffy but the 2020 Yankees should have one of the best rotations in the MLB before the season kicks of with opening day.

That is without Luis Severino and Domingo German mind you.

J.A. Happ and Jordan Montgomery will round out the rotation with German possibly seeing his suspension reduced due to the shortened season.

Last season, Cole, Paxton, Tanaka, and Happ had a combined 58-28 record and have the potential to wreak havoc on the major leagues this year.

Where Can They Improve?

The overall health of this team is the biggest cause for concern heading into the season.  It is not an area that is easily improved upon, but the Bomber has to keep their fingers crossed.

Last season the Yankees saw a record-breaking number of injuries hit their roster.  They somehow managed to win 103 games despite this, but with a shortened season, the Yankees have to have a healthier 2020 than their 2019 was.

The Yankees did bring on Eric Cressy to help their strength and condition staff but still, injuries persist.

James Paxton would not have been ready for Opening Day had it gone off as scheduled after dealing with setbacks during rehab.  Severino is already out for the season and Judge and Stanton could miss opening day with lingering injuries.

This raises the question.  How often will the Yankees be able to send out Stanton, Gardner, and Judge together?  The backup options of Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier are far from sexy and will hit for far less power than their counterparts in the starting lineup.

Gerrit Cole has also pitched over 200 innings in the last three years and the Yankees have to hope his durability can remain intact.

Opening Day Yankees Season Prediction

The 2020 MLB campaign will be harder on teams with the condensed schedule.  This goes double for the New York Yankees due to their injuries heading into opening day.

Make no mistake about it.  A 60 game season is not a positive for the Yankees.

The Bombers managed to finish with such an impressive record because the season is so long and allowed for a lot of wiggle room.  The Yankees had a lot of rough patches last year and slumps like that will sink them in a 60 game season.

As a Yankee fan, it pains me to say this, but I am leaning toward the under for their season win total.

With just 60 games on the schedule and continued injury issues, I just don’t feel good about them winning 38 games.

I do believe they make it into the playoffs and, if healthy, to make a run at the World Series.   But the regular season, especially the beginning, will be an uphill battle for this banged-up roster.

Projected Starters:

C – Gary Sanchez

1B – Luke Volt

2B – DJ LeMahieu

3B – Gio Urshela

SS – Gleyber Torres

LF – Brett Gardner

CF – Aaron Hicks

RF – Aaron Judge

DH – Giancarlo Stanton

Projected Rotation:

Gerrit Cole

James Paxton

Masahiro Tanaka

J.A. Happ

Jordan Montgomery

Closer:

Aroldis Chapman