It’s hard to believe that in just a couple of days, we’ll bid farewell to 2019 and greet a new decade. The Yankees had a remarkable year, fending off an endless string of injuries to capture AL East crown and win 103 games. We had an equally successful year at Pinstripe Alley, publishing roughly 3,500 articles for you.
As we ruminate on the year that was, I asked the PSA staff to send over their favorite stories from 2019. Join us as we go through this blast from the past, some recent and some stretching far back into the calendar.
I waited years to write this story. Brian Cashman called Gerrit Cole his white whale, and I could share that feeling. I thought the Yankees were going to land Cole two winters ago. Instead I had to wait, and oh, was it worthwhile. Cole’s free agency was a blast, especially as momentum grew. Getting to hit publish on this story minutes after the news broke will be a top PSA memory for me.
Seriously, the Yankees had the worst injury luck in 2019. They actually broke the MLB record for the longest injured list. Even so, the Yankees’ Next Man Up squad took home the division title. With that in mind, Caitlin reminded readers to appreciate that as an accomplishment in itself.
James Paxton emerged as the Yankees’ top starter down the stretch. It all started with two strong outings in early-August. Those caught Jake’s eye, and he dug into what the southpaw did differently. As it turns out, Big Maple’s curveball played a key role in his success.
When the Yankees acquired Mike Tauchman at the end of spring training, most saw it as a depth move. Aaron Hicks landed on the injured list to start the season, so the Yankees wanted a fourth outfielder. Nothing too flashy there, right? Well, Aaron thought differently, and as it turns out, he was on to something...
As one would have it, Andrés wrote about Tauchman as a potential four-win player off the bench in 2020. The 29-year-old hit .277/.361/.504 with 13 home runs (128 wRC+) while playing quality defense last season. He also spent time in Triple-A and missed most of September with an injury. Another big year from Tauchman isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
This story ran on August 4, right after Edwin Encarnacion went on the injured list. Ford got the call for good, and he definitely produced. He hit .274/.333/.619 with 11 home runs (145 wRC+) from that point forward.
The Yankees traveled to London in 2019, and that led Freeni to wonder about adopting some soccer conventions. A loan system would make for a best of both worlds for buyers and sellers.
Do you remember how poorly Chad Green pitched to start the season? He had a 16.43 ERA (10.13 FIP) on April 23. I know that’s only ten appearances, but those numbers are comically bad. The Yankees demoted Green to Triple-A shortly thereafter, where he made a few adjustments and salvaged his season. He became an integral part of the relief staff, serving as the team’s opener during bullpen games.
In one of the finest pieces of storytelling on PSA this year, John probed his 15-year-old scorebook to recount a Yankees classic. “It’s more than just the story of one game, though,” he wrote. “It’s the story of one kid, coming to truly understand and love the game of baseball.”
The Yankees commemorated the Stonewall Riots in June, and while the tribute wasn’t perfect, it was progress. Josh penned a deeply personal reflection on the occasion in arguably the most moving article of the year.
The numbers don’t lie. The Gleyber Orange Theory represents one of PSA’s most significant contributions to the scientific community.
Players’ Weekend seems to bring out the best in the Yankees. The Bombers suited up in blackout uniforms and absolutely clobbered Hyun-jin Ryu. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didid Gregorius, and Gleyber Torres all went yard, while Paxton struck out 11 over 6.2 innings. A top-notch win this was.
Even if MLB struggles to admit it, the consensus around the game is that the ball in 2019 was different than in previous years. Many pointed to lower seams as the culprit, resulting in a lack of movement on pitches. That could spell disaster for some pitchers, including Masahiro Tanaka, whose bread and butter is a diving splitter. Tanaka’s struggles with the pitch represented a key storyline throughout the year.
On the subject of Tanaka, the Yankees turned to him in the postseason, and he sure delivered. The legend of October Tanaka grew in 2019, and it all started with his outing against the Twins. He held Minnesota to one run over five innings, striking out seven in the process. Before that outing, Tom recommended a game plan, and wouldn’t you know it, but the right-hander executed it to a tee.
Will crunched the numbers back in September, and he provided a framework for which fans could view the offseason.
I can’t close out the year without thanking you, our PSA community, for making us your home for all things Yankees. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you. So from all of us at PSA, we wish you a happy and healthy new year!