After A Long Winter Break, Welcome Back To Baseball

Aaron Judge enters his fourth season as the Yankees star slugger. He’ll look to lift this team to its 28th World Series title. (Photo courtesy of New York Yankees)

Welcome back to baseball. After a long winter break, America’s original pastime has returned and teams have already scratched the surface of their 162-game slate. It’s still early enough in the season that fans of all 30 teams can have hope for a World Series championship. That’s no different for the New York Mets and New York Yankees. Each of them retooled their rosters in the offseason and are looking for plenty of success in year two under their current managers.

Here’s a look at the season ahead for our two teams and what will need to happen in order for them to be successful.

New York Mets

The Mets are coming off another tough year, now three seasons removed from their run to the World Series. Lots of last year’s issues had to do with injuries to key players, such as outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who will continue to remain out recovering from surgery on both heels. The Mets had to trade away some of the players that were keeping the Mets in games, such as Asdrubal Cabrera and fan favorite Wilmer Flores.

But in manager Mickey Callaway’s second year as leader in the clubhouse, there is reason to believe that this Mets team will have an easier time staying in the playoff mix. While they didn’t land the likes of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, the new faces in the organization today aren’t too shabby. Mets acquired infielder Robinson Canó from the Seattle Mariners, and while he struggled in his time in the northwest, the eight-time All-Star showed promise in spring training. They also signed catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal, and the investment may end up being worthwhile. He had 117 hits, 70 RBIs and 15 home runs last season and has shown in spring training that he could likely put out similar production.

In terms of players who were already on the roster, outfielder Michael Conforto will look to stay healthy this season and continue to bring homerun prowess to a team that desperately needs it. Brandon Nimmo has already proven he can be a young star in this league with his solid at bats. He’ll continue to fly under the radar by most of the league, but his consistent production should keep this team in the field. The Mets will need that offensive firepower to compliment a strong pitching staff, led by Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom and 27-year-old Noah Syndergaard.

Jacob deGrom is now in his sixth season with the New York Mets and will lead the pitching rotation after a strong 2018 performance. (Photo courtesy of New York Mets/Kayla Rice)

New York Yankees

The Yankees are coming off a second straight playoff season, which was cut short in the divisional round when they lost to their rival Boston Red Sox. This is a young team with a manager with one year of experience under his belt in Aaron Boone, so its easy to see why there may be some missteps for them. But they are a team ripe with talent and it’d be surprising not to see this team make a deep playoff run.

The team will be led by its star slugger Aaron Judge, who is entering his fourth season with the team after back-to-back All-Star seasons. While his numbers last season didn’t top his monster 2017, the outfielder still had a strong batting average and should continue to shine in a loaded lineup. Giancarlo Stanton did not have a strong pinstripe debut in 2018, but 38 home runs is nothing to sneeze at. The four-time All-Star could trend upward in 2019 if he can be more consistent at bat. Infielders Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar will also play a big role in making the team unstoppable.

As for the newcomers, pitcher James Paxton will be a key member of the now rejuvenated bullpen. With Luis Severino out for the time being, pitching depth will be a big test, but Paxton’s strong 2018 provides evidence that the Yankees got the right guy to fill a crucial spot in their rotation, led at the moment by Masahiro Tanaka. Shortstop Troy Tulowitski has declined a bit from his time with the Toronto Blue Jays, but the five-time All-Star is sure to be a fine contributor and be a leader in a locker room where most of the players are younger than he is.

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Christopher Birsner
In addition to being the editor of the Massapequa Observer and Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald, Chris Birsner is the sports editor for Long Island Weekly and often contributes gaming articles to the arts and entertainment publication.

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