What Has to Happen for the 2017 Yankees to Make the Playoffs
A Return to Form from Matt Holliday
Just to maintain pace with last year’s team, the Yankees are really counting on Matt Holliday to replace Carlos Beltran‘s production in the middle of the lineup. The 39-year-old Beltran was easily New York’s best hitter for most of the season, putting up a .304/.344/.546 (133 OPS+) with 22 home runs and 64 RBI in 359 plate appearances before being dealt at the deadline.
There’s no doubt Holliday has the ability to put up a line like that, but after struggling with injuries the last two seasons, it is an open question whether he can stay healthy enough to do so.
A big part of Beltran’s strong season last year was that he got the additional rest of playing most days at DH after being the club’s primary right fielder the previous two seasons. Moving to DH full-time was a big part of A-Rod’s 2015 renaissance as well. It’s reasonable to expect Holliday to experience a similar jump in production without the stress on his body of having to play the field every day.
Over his 13 year career, Holliday has accumulated a .303/.382/.515 (134 OPS+) slash line while averaging 27 home runs and 105 RBI per season. If the 37-year-old is able to hold off Father Time for one more year and put up vintage Holliday numbers, it would go a long way towards making the Yanks legitimate contenders next year.