Dec. 15, 2017
With Stanton Do the Yankees Boast the Best Offense in MLB?
No question the Bronx Bombers will be launching their fair share of bombs this year. Simply having Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez will likely put the Yankees trio with a home run total higher than some teams. No one is can question the power potential for this team, but does this move make their offense the best? To be honest I'm not so certain this is quite the case. This team will be able to score runs and score runs fast. In terms of home run power, I don't think there is any question they should lead the league, but I would begin to argue other teams may lay claim to the title "Best Offense" in 2018.
Last season the Astros laid claim to this title in terms of team WAR with a 33.0, but the Yankees were not far behind with a 27.9. Now take out Starlin Castro's projected 1.3 and they are sitting at about 25.6, then add in Stanton's 5.4 projection the Yankees now sit at 31.0 team WAR. Now, this is no where near a science, or even an accurate projection here, the point is though there is no guarantee that this occurs. Last season, Stanton mashed a career high 6.9 wins above replacement. Only one other time has Stanton gotten over a 6.0 WAR, and his next highest following this was 5.6. Giancarlo Stanton make any team in the majors better offensively, but the point is I am no where near ready to crown the Yankees as the best offense in baseball.
So Who Could be Better?
For arguments sake I will only consider the top 6 offensive units in baseball in 2017, most of these teams are going to see very little turnover. The Astros, Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, and Indians should all see similar line-ups from last season.
If you were a betting man it would be a safe bet to pencil the Yankees in to win this title, I don't think there would be anyone who will question this. They have a core of Stanton, Judge, and Sanchez all three have 30+ home run power, two of which have reached 50 HR's. However, it would be a bit premature to pencil both Stanton and Sanchez in for 50 home runs again. The next closest team was the Astros last season with 238 dingers. The Yankees could be knocking on the door of a sub-300 HR season, but that is assuming Stanton and Judge have repeat performances. Judge could suffer a sophomore slump, and maybe Sanchez doesn't reach 30 dingers again. Either way the Yankees should top the 250 HR mark. I don't see another team who reaches this. Maybe the Cubs and Astros could come close. The Cubs especially, keep in mind key offensive players Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell had down years at the plate. Addison Russell went from around 21 homers to just 12. Nonetheless, even if Schwarber reaches 40 long balls and Bryzzo duo gets 30+ each, the Cubs still don't catch up to the Yank's in this department. The Astros onlyd had George Springer last season reach the 30 HR category. Again, I don't see a present scenario where the Yankees do not lead the league in home runs.
Last season, the Yankees finished second behind the Astros. While the Yankees will score more runs with Stanton will they be able to pass the Astros who should boast a stout line up once again? The Astros finished 40 runs ahead of the Yankees last season. This is a team which will return with a similar core. As will the Nationals and Indians, roughly 40 runs separated the Yankees and Nationals/Indians. Sure, Stanton accounted for 123 runs last season, but this was the first time Stanton has ever topped 100 in runs, and only the second he's driven in over 100 runs. Does Didi Gregorius have a similar season? Brett Gardner is 34 years old and not getting younger likely get bumped out of the line up. Chase Headley is 33. Last season was a career year. So can the Yankees keep the same production? However, similar things can be said about the Astros. Back to the Cubs though, a number of key members had what appear to be down years.
The Cubs this off-season added Chili Davis to improve the teams patience and clutch hitting. This could improve a number of stats which could allow the Cubs to keep pace. The Cubs core is a extremly dangerous group with Rizzo, Bryant, and Contreras add in other talents like Schwarber and Baez. If the Cubs young hitters like Russell and Schwarber bounce back they could easily move into this slot. The Astros are still the reigning holders of this title, and for a good season they remain with some of the games elite hitters with Springer, Correa, and the AL MVP Jose Altuve. The Nationals remain dangerous as well with Harper (for now), Zimmermann, and Murphy. While this coming season may come and the Yankees end up with the best offense, it's far from a guarantee. No one can question their offense is better, but time will only tell us if they are the best.