Eight Yankees named to MLB Network’s top 100 list
MLB Network recently released its Top 100 Players Right Now list, and the New York Yankees are represented well with eight all-important names.
While we’ve already seen the MLB Network release its top 10 players per position based on analysis by a computer program called the Shredder, the Top 100 Players Right Now is compiled by the network’s production and research team (actual humans). So, where do these folks rank members of the New York Yankees?
The first player in pinstripes you’ll find is the newest member of the bunch, right-handed ace Gerrit Cole at No. 7. Interestingly enough, because of the massive expectations placed on the Yanks and Cole specifically, the 30-year-old is the first pitcher listed.
National League Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom comes in at No. 8, while American League winner Justin Verlander can be found at No. 13.
Following a terrific year for the AL Champs, in which he led the league in ERA and all of baseball in strikeouts, Cole jumped 35 spots on MLB’s top 100 players.
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Next up is 2017 AL MVP… I mean, AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge at No. 16. In case you were wondering, Jose Altuve is ranked one spot behind Judge. After a season in which Judge missed 60 games due to a severe oblique injury, the 27-year-old will look for a bounce-back campaign that results in far more than the 447 plate appearances he saw in 2019.
Although he only fell four spots from last year’s list, in this his fourth big league season, Judge and the Yankees will be eager to remind the world just how significant of a presence he is when healthy.
Blossoming superstar Gleyber Torres comes in at No. 31 — 38 spots better than a year ago. After leading the Yankees in games played and home runs in ’19, Torres moves back to his natural shortstop position where he’ll look to go 3-for-3 in All-Star Game appearances.
Perhaps the steal of the century, in terms of free-agent acquisitions, D.J. LeMahieu slots in at No. 37, one season removed from not being ranked at all. However, being the lynchpin to much of the Yankees’ success through adversity in ’19 gained LeMahieu a ton of admiration.
Achieving career highs in homers and RBIs, LeMahieu is playing for a contract extension this season, so watch out for an even grander campaign.
One slugger that saw a precipitous drop in his ranking is Giancarlo Stanton. From No. 19 in ’19 to No. 63 to begin 2020, some could argue that his 23 total games played for the Yanks last season should have completely knocked him off the list.
But Stanton is still only 30, and if he is fully recovered from a heap of maladies — the enormous chip on his shoulder when combined with pure talent and a hunger to succeed will be enough to win back the hearts of Yankee fans.
Apparently, winning the AL Reliever of the Year Award wasn’t enough for Aroldis Chapman to stay at No. 73. Striking out 85 batters in just 57 innings while picking up 37-of-42 saves knocked Chappy down two spots.
Smacking a career-high 34 long balls (franchise record for a catcher), making his second All-Star team, and limiting his troublesome area of passed balls, Gary Sanchez jumped from No. 93 to No. 80. If Sanchez can stay off the injured list in 2020 (106 games played in ’19), he may very well reach new heights on both sides of the ball — and silence critics along the way.
The final Yankee to make the list is another bounce-back candidate, Luis Severino. Appearing in just five games all last season, Sevvy fell from No. 43 to No. 83 but still possesses electric stuff.
With Gerrit Cole in tow, Severino should benefit from the decrease in pressure that comes with being the staff’s No. 2 option. A healthy season of close to 200 innings and 200 strikeouts will go a long way to improving Severino’s stock and the Yankees’ quest for a World Series title.
For those wondering, AL MVP Mike Trout tops MLB’s 100 list, followed by Christian Yelich, NL MVP Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, and Alex Bregman — rounding out the top 5.