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    Positional Breakdown: How New York Will Return to Contention

    Starting Pitching

    Simply put, the starting pitchers will get better. It’s early, it’s cold, and it’s a long season. If the Yankees are going to compete this year, it is my opinion that Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray are the top two members on the Yankees 25-man roster that must figure it out.

    Gray is coming off an outing on Friday night that saw him give up five hits, four walks and five earned runs. The Vanderbilt alum struck out none and just lasted 3.1 innings against Toronto. In three games, he has now pitched just 13 innings and sports an inflated 6.92 earned run average (ERA). That is a drastic increase from his career 3.50 ERA.

    Tanaka sports a 6.45 ERA entering Saturday. The Japanese native is 2-2 with 22.1 innings pitched across four starts. The home run ball continues to plague him as he struggles with his command. Pitches up in the zone, especially in Yankee stadium, are going to get hit out of the park.

    The law of averages will take over and these two former All-Stars will make adjustments and get back to performing at the elite level there capable of playing at. Larry Rothschild is a top pitching coach in the league and he will work with and lead these two struggling pitchers into a resurgence. Mark my words they will both finish the season with a sub-3.50 ERA.

    On a positive note, CC Sabathia and Luis Severino have been great dispute an early-season injury and an abysmal outing, respectively. Sabathia is a leader and has proven he can be effective at age 37. Severino, who allowed five earned runs and lasted five innings against Boston a few weeks ago, has pitched like a Cy Young Award winner in his other four starts. He’s turned in a quality start, to say the least, in each of the other contests.

    In summary, if the Yankees are going to win or even compete for a World Series championship this year, in my humble opinion they will need to add another elite starting pitcher i.e. Michael Fulmer, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, etc. This will bump the dependable Jordan Montgomery from the rotation. I predict that an impact deal will be struck to bolster the rotation before the trade deadline in July.

    Relief Pitching

    Entering Spring Training, the Yankees relief corps seemed to be the biggest strength of the Major League club. Since then, there have been a series of injuries and sub-par starts to the season.

    Tommy Kahnle, Luis Cessa, Ben Heller are all injured and Jonathan Holder, David Robertson, Domingo German, and Dellin Betances all have an ERA north of 4.20.

    Holder has been optioned to Triple-A after an abysmal start to the year, and German just can’t seem to be a consistent option.

    Betances and Robertson will return to form with time as both are elite big-league pitchers.

    Infield

    Other than Didi Gregorius at shortstop, the entire infield has not even remotely been close to what general manager Brian Cashman has envisioned. Gary Sanchez is still struggling defensively, Greg Bird and Brandon Drury are both hurt, and the combination of Neil Walker/Tyler Wade has been an absolute disaster.

    Have no fear, Gleyber, is here!!! The young phenom will be called up within the month and become the Yankees savior to their infield woes. Torres is slashing .370/.415/.543 with 11 RBI’s in 13 games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple A) following a rough spring. The generational type of talent will succeed at the Major League level right away and probably rival the Angles young phenom Shohei Ohtani for the American League Rookie of the Year award.

    Outfield

    The bad news, Giancarlo Stanton has heard his fair share of boos from the Yankee Stadium crowd in the early going, and Aaron Hicks has missed most of the season so far due to injury. The good news is Hicks is back, Stanton is going to heat up, and Aaron Judge is playing like an MVP.

    In his first home-stand Stanton turned in two 0-for-5 games coupled with two platinum sombreros’. Life hasn’t gotten much better for the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, but it soon will. Giancarlo is just too good of a talent and has had too good of a track record to keep performing like this. He has been eaten alive with fastballs up in the zone, but, he will adjust. Those mistake pitches that have somehow gotten him out will turn in to doubles, and homers in the near future.

    Hicks returned with a bang last week in Detroit with a two-homer game. He’s moving well and his timing looks good so it’s all systems go for Aaron. If he stays healthy, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t, Hicks will be an above-average player that will add real production and real value to manager Aaron Boone’s line up.

    Judge is just being, well, Judge. Simply put, look for the California native to lead this offence once again, make the All-Star team, and contend for the AL MVP Award.