Since the All-Star break, a lot has gone on with the Yankees, from COVID-19 outbreaks to big-time trades and comeback wins.
There are approximately 20 players on the injured list due to a combination of injuries and positive tests for COVID-19. The Yankees are still winning despite this.
Since they fell back to .500 after Aroldis Chapman blew a save against the Mets on July 4, the Yankees are 22-10.
At the trade deadline, they got Joey Gallo, who I have discussed in my pieces before. But they also traded for Anthony Rizzo, which was a complete shock.
My mindset was that it was inevitable that Rizzo would go to Boston, so it was a pleasant surprise when that trade went down.
Not only did the Yankees trade for two of the biggest impact left-handed bats on the trade market, but they completely transformed their defense.
Joey Gallo – New York Yankees (26) https://t.co/kWfjRBmqzu
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) August 6, 2021
They also did this while not giving up their most highly touted prospects.
The Yankees’ system has had a great year, and they had a backlog of rule-5 and middle infield depth which they turned into Gallo and Rizzo.
That is a heck of a deadline any way you slice it.
— MLB (@MLB) August 5, 2021
The Yankees are without key players Rizzo, Gary Sánchez, Gleyber Torres, and Gio Urshela from the lineup. Their current starting rotation consists of Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes, Andrew Heaney, Luis Gil, and a bullpen day. Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery are supposed to return over the next week or so.
Pitchers Luis Severino and Corey Kluber are also on their way back and making rehab starts. Severino is further along than Kluber.
Domingo German and Aroldis Chapman are also out with injuries currently.
Luis Gil was electric tonight
Here are all 6 of his strikeouts in his MLB debut pic.twitter.com/2zs5zgO0jL
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 4, 2021
Despite this, the Yankees’ current play has them sitting just two back of the Red Sox for the second Wild Card spot with a series against them coming up next week at Yankee Stadium.
As the Yankees have played themselves back into striking distance of a playoff spot with this many players out, it is easy to envision what things could look like when these players are back.
The lineup at full potential is something to dream about. It would look something like this:
- DJ LeMahieu
- Aaron Judge
- Anthony Rizzo
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Joey Gallo
- Luke Voit
- Gleyber Torres
- Gio Urshela
- Brett Gardner
With the way the Yankees like to rotate off days for their players, they would not run this out there every day – if they make it to the playoffs, this is the best lineup.
The only player you would not feel great about at the plate is Brett Gardner, and even he has been performing better as of late.
There are a bunch of options with the rotation. The guys they could use down the stretch are:
- Gerrit Cole
- Jordan Montgomery
- Jameson Taillon
- Luis Severino
- Corey Kluber
- Andrew Heaney
- Nestor Cortes
- Luis Gil
Who they actually use depends on how people are performing. We are not sure that Kluber will be able to pick up where he left off before he got hurt. Asking Luis Severino to be the ace that we have seen him be in the past is tough considering he is returning from Tommy John Surgery. Even one of those guys is just above average down the stretch; it would help the Yankees tremendously.
Cole is obviously the best of the bunch, but Montgomery had been pitching well for a while before testing positive for COVID-19, and Jameson Taillon has been a dependable pitcher for over a month now.
Many times this season, Yankees fans were questioning whether or not the team would be playing meaningful games down the stretch.
Now the team seems to be playing their best baseball of the season while getting a ton of reinforcements back, and they are right in the thick of the Wild Card race with still an outside chance of winning the division.
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