Most New York Yankees fans are wondering how Aaron Judge will follow up his 2022 AL MVP campaign. Others are praying DJ LeMahieu returns to form. Some are holding out hope Josh Donaldson experiences a bounce back. Guys like Gleyber Torres, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and even Anthony Volpe will be closely watched throughout 2023.
The stakes are higher and more demanding for some players. Some can handle it. Others can't. But what about some of the guys flying under the radar a bit?
Only so many Yankees players can catch heat, right? Can't be grilling everyone on the 26-man active roster. Can't be expecting everyone to perform at an All-Star level. Those lucky enough to avoid the vitriol and/or mounting pressure benefit from a more relaxed enviroment.
These players fall under that category, which should foreshadow promising 2023 campaigns as the Yankees look to get back to the World Series.
3 Yankees who will shatter expectations in 2023
3. Ron Marinaccio
It quickly became obvious how important Ron Marinaccio was to the Yankees' bullpen when he was optioned to Triple-A in August and then lost for the postseason with a shin injury. The right-hander, in his rookie season, finished with a 2.05 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 1.05 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 40 games (44 innings).
For all the folks concerned about the bullpen, the departures of Aroldis Chapmand and Zack Britton actually help. The re-introductions of Marinaccio, Michael King and Tommy Kahnle will be enormous. Marinaccio should have the least amount of pressure on him, too, just based on the reliever pecking order.
Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, Lou Trivino, King, Kahnle and even Clarke Schmidt are either throwing higher-leverage innings or facing mounting pressure to deliver based on shortcomings or regressions. Marinaccio's 2022 season was extremely impressive and he never really faltered. We're not sure any Yankees fan has sat down and established expectations for the right-hander.
Just the way we like it. That should make him a dark horse candidate to emerge as one of the team's most important relievers.