Last season, the Yankees struggled mightily with injuries, forcing them to make moves and reach deep into their farm system at times to stay afloat. Well, with that wide variety of players, they did more than just stay afloat. Those midseason call-ups and last-second preseason signings are a big reason why the Yankees won the AL East for the first time since 2012.
Now, for the course of the 2020 season, Yankee fans should feel more than comfortable knowing who will be accessible from the bench. Players like Mike Tauchman and Mike Ford accounted for 137 games played during the season while Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Luke Voit, among others, were injured. Tauchman and Ford dominated for brief periods; Tauchman hit .423 in July, while Ford hit .353 in September. For the 2019 season overall, the two combined for 4.6 WAR. Keep in mind, WAR stands for wins above replacement, so while they will act as replacements in 2020, that pair was just worth nearly five wins more than the players that often occupy those spots.
That’s not all, though. Clint Frazier found himself in the big leagues quicker than expected in 2019 when Aaron Hicks went down with a lower-back strain. In March and April, Frazier batted .324 with six home runs while driving in 17. Frazier had his ups and downs, but also played well in June, when he hit .320 over 14 games. Frazier has struggled mightily with his fielding, and at times hasn’t handled the New York media very well, but to have a player as talented as him lying in wait is a downright luxury.
Let’s also not forget the situation the Yankees will have at third base to open the year. Bumping into Gio Urshela last season was one of the best things that could have happened to the Yankees. He, along with DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres, was one of the best Yankee position players all season. Now, with the return of Miguel Andujar, the Yankees have themselves yet another good problem. Who sits? Or does Andujar DH, or even play the outfield? We have yet to find out exactly how the Yankees will solve the logjam, but if they’re both with the Yankees come spring training, the third base position will be open to two very real contenders.
Outside of just the numbers this bench is capable of producing, what makes this such a good situation for the Yankees is that the team is completely familiar with each and every one of these players now. Aaron Boone won’t have to waste time figuring out the tendencies of each player in 2020. He knows very well what each of these players is capable of and how to best implement their skills in a way that will help the Yankees win all summer.
Yankee fans shouldn’t be worried about injuries in 2020. Obviously, if they occur to the extent they did last season, it could become an issue, as it could anywhere. However, the Yankees have players coming off their bench that would most likely find starting roles on several other MLB teams. Rest easy at night knowing that even if disaster strikes, the Yankees might still be in good shape.