Yankees: 2 Players Who Will Contribute More Than Expected in 2020
By Scott Roche
These two Yankees could play a bigger role thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and injuries.
Even in a shortened 60-game season, injuries are sure to happen. And with COVID-19 playing a role in sidelining players, we could see more and more guys hit the shelf. But over the past two years, no team has overcome more injuries than the New York Yankees.
Despite having key members of their lineup down in 2018 and 2019, the Yankees still managed to win at least 100 games in each season. The key has been depth, which manager Aaron Boone has had a ton to work with, and don’t expect that to be different in 2020.
With that said, two Yankees who don’t figure to see a lot of time in a shortened season could play a bigger role than expected.
Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge (we think) are expected back for the beginning of the season on July 23 after dealing with injuries that would have kept them out for the first few months of the year had the season started on time. The shutdown cost Tauchman a chance to play a lot of innings at the original onset, but don’t count him out in 2020.
Last season when Stanton and Judge combined to miss a mind-boggling 203 games, Tauchman took advantage of the opportunity after he was acquired in March from the Colorado Rockies. He slashed .277/.361/.504 in 87 games with 18 doubles, 13 home runs and 47 RBI. Defensively, he made only one error.
Stanton will get a majority of his at-bats as the DH this season and Brett Gardner will most likely end up with the left-field starting job. Hicks will be back in center and Judge (already missing two days with a stiff neck over the weekend) will be in right, but with those everyday players coming back from injuries (on top of being injury-prone), don’t be surprised if Boone rests them more often than expected.
That would open the door Tauchman to play the role he did last season.
Every team needs a Wade — a utility guy that can literally play just about anywhere in the field at any time.
Last season, he played both the infield and outfield when needed. He brings a lot to the table for Yankees off the bench as he can be a defensive replacement, a pinch runner, or even a pinch hitter in case the Yankees need to bunt and advance the runners (plus, he can maybe even beat out the bunt considering he’s fast and hits from the left side).
Though he hit .245 last season with two home runs and 11 RBI in 43 games (98 at-bats), don’t be fooled — he’s not on the roster to contribute as a hitter. His value is far deeper than that.
With DJ LeMahieu not even in camp yet after testing positive for COVID-19 along with questions surrounding Gleyber Torres at shortstop, Wade is a nice bench option for Boone in a late-game situation or a fill-in spot when needed.