5 Bold Predictions for the New York Yankees in the 2nd Half of the Season
Coming off a five-game losing streak, the Yankees' bats have come alive in the first two games of a four-game set with the Twins.
The 17 runs scored is as many as they had in their prior seven games combined (six loses).
With just under two weeks before the All-Star break, the Yankees have a chance to close the gap they have created in the AL East.
The first half of the MLB season has been a mixed bag of emotions for the Yankees, but they have stayed relevant despite all their setbacks.
Entering the second half, there are plenty of storylines to follow with the ballclub. Some will be resolved sooner rather than later, but all will have an impact on the Yankees' success.
The following is just a few predictions I see occurring in the second half of the season for the Yankees.
1. Yankees Stay Very Quiet at the Trade Deadline
Despite the fact the Yankees president Randy Levine says, "We're the Yankees. We're always active," I see the Yankees being very quiet at this season's trade deadline.
There are several reasons why it doesn't seem plausible for Brian Cashman to make any significant moves by July 31.
The biggest reason is that the Yankees don't really have much to trade. None of their prospects are making enough of an impact to be considered trade bait.
The other factor to consider is all the returning players the Yankees are expected to get in the second half. Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and Michael Pineda are all guys who will be returning to the lineup soon, filling voids.
It's possible the Yankees make a couple small moves like acquiring a veteran first baseman or some bullpen help.
Outside of that, the Yankees are pretty much stuck with the hand they have been dealt and their future success will have to come from within.
2. Michael Pineda Is the Yankees' Most Successful Pitcher
Michael Pineda is expected to end his rehab assignment on July 9. It's possible the Yankees keep him in the minors longer and monitor his progress.
I feel if he is healthy enough to pitch, he should be in the rotation when the season starts up again on July 19.
If entered into the rotation, Pineda will be the Yankees' most successful pitcher in the second half of the season.
Pineda's stuff is electric and different than any of the other pitchers on the Yankees staff.
He will provide a huge youthful boost to an aging roster. He has an excitement level to him that will engage fans and motivate his teammates.
He could get upwards of 13 starts in the second half of the season, and with his talent, it wouldn't surprise me if he turned those 13 starts into nine to 10 wins.
3. CC Sabathia Finishes the Season with an ERA over 4.00
CC Sabathia is the ace of the New York Yankees. He has had a very inconsistent first half of the season and currently has an ERA of 4.15.
Sabathia has not finished a season with an ERA over four since 2005. I say the streak ends this season.
Now, I don't believe Sabathia is going to have a bad second half, unless what you feel he provided in the first half was bad.
Something is just slightly off with CC this season, and it's not just the speed of his pitches.
He is still going deep into games and all those innings will help his ERA, but I see his second half going exactly how the first half went.
He may use the break to recharge and come back stronger, and I'm sure that's what the Yankees are hoping for.
I just don't see it.
4. Alex Rodriguez Actually Helps the Yankees
Alex Rodriguez will be returning to the Yankees under the best scenario possible for him.
Expectations are so low for A-Rod that barring a freak accident where he re-breaks Derek Jeter's ankle, there isn't much that can go wrong.
He are the facts: The Yankees are getting zero production from the third base position this season. Jayson Nix is batting .236 and David Adams is batting .189. Combined, they have four home runs in almost 450 at-bats.
A-Rod is never going to produce the numbers needed to justify his contract, and ownership and fans have to get over that fact.
However, if A-Rod can come back and hit .265 and provide any power, he will be a huge improvement to a struggling lineup.
It's simple with A-Rod: Fans should just come to expect the worst and hope for the best. When he produces something in the middle, then you can be content.
5. Yankees Win the Division
The New York Yankees will win the AL East.
Doesn't seem like much of a bold prediction to say the team that has won three of the last four division titles is going to do it again, but under these circumstances, I think it qualifies.
As of July 3, the Yankees currently sit six games back of the Boston Red Sox for first place in the division.
The Yanks are actually in fourth place in the division and only up three games on the preseason division favorite Toronto Blue Jays for last place.
The Yanks are the only team in the division with a negative run differential on the season.
The hopes for a strong second half greatly rely on the success of the several returning players the Yankees are expected to get.
Throw in potential improvements in the rotation from guys like Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes, and it's possible the Yankees could go on a run and sneak away with the division.
I had the Yankees finishing the season with 93 wins and I won't shy away from that total right now.