Can the Yankees be stopped?

by Howie Mansfield

After the Yankees dominated the hapless Mets in Flushing last week, the Bronx Bombers are positioning themselves for another run to the postseason. Can anyone stop them?

The New York Yankees are a legitimate contender again. Their blend of veterans and young players has created another team built for regular and postseason success. Let's face it: The Yankees' offense is explosive and sees no sign of slowing down. And oh, their pitching is decent too. But not without problems.

Can anyone stop Aaron Judge and the Yankees? (photo credit: Getty Images)
The Yankees' biggest offseason move, trading for Giancarlo Stanton, did pay some immediate dividends in April.  But Stanton's recent slump made fans wonder what kind of player they were getting. Stanton has always been hot and cold, but tends to be streaky enough to put up big numbers. Even if Stanton only hits 30 home runs, that will be okay, given two other Yankees might eclipse him.

Aaron Judge continues to prove his worth among the baseball elite. He's already at 18 home runs, on pace for at least 40. Judge is an all-around star and continues to lead this Yankee squad like Mattingly and Jeter before him.

I'm not saying that Judge will go down in Yankee lore as a player such as Jeter, but it's off to a great start. Solid fielder, hits for power and average and understands the NY media. With a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 8.1, only one position player was better than Judge in 2017 - Jose Altuve. And he's in the top 10 overall to start 2018.

And Gary Sanchez has started to live up to expectations. Twelve home runs, and 35 RBI for the catcher has helped the Yankee offensive juggernaut stay on track. While a .211 batting average isn't the best, he is a catcher - keep the expectations low. But getting those type of numbers from that position can't be understated - catchers aren't what they used to be. There isn't a star catcher out there putting up Gary Carter or Mike Piazza type numbers. Sanchez has been good in 2018 and has room to improve.

Did I mention the up and coming stars, like Gleyber Torres? What about Miguel Andujar, Greg Bird, and Didi Gregorius? I could write a whole article on Gregorius...another time.

Luis Severino has been as advertised at 9-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 2018. Masahiro Tanaka is now on the DL, but has been strong, with 7-2 record. If there is one weakness, it's their third, fourth and fifth starters. Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Domingo German have combined for a 8-9 record. New York can't expect one pitcher to carry them into the dog days of summer. Sabathia is the elder statesman of the Yankee pitchers, so can the upper management expect the 37-year-old to carry the load in the meantime?

This team will be challenged. The Red Sox will not go quietly, and there are too many strong teams in the American League, such as Cleveland and Houston. The tide will turn at the trade deadline. Can New York make another move to improve in 2018?

When money and resources are no object, the answer should always be yes.

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