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Three ingredients behind the Yankees’ formula for success in 2020

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The Yankees have a championship-caliber roster, but what do they have to do to sustain championship-level play?

MLB: New York Yankees at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Cashman constructed a roster that will go into the 2020 season as the favorite to have the best record in the league and win the World Series. Over the past few seasons, he has assembled one of the best bullpens in baseball and added two elite players in Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole to an already impressive core.

Of course the sample size of games in baseball is larger than any other professional sport. It’s a 162-game season, so there will be ups and downs. Though this team may have fewer downs than most of their opponents, there are still a few things that the Yankees will need to do in order to be consistently successful throughout the year.

Health

This is an obvious one: the Yankees need to stay healthy. Aaron Boone did a great job managing the Yankees’ roster, which changed on a near-weekly basis last year. The players who got called up did their job exceptionally, yet a lot could have gone wrong last season.

Given the interconnectedness of a roster, staying healthy is imperative. If any pitcher gets injured, it screws up the rotation; if a star hitter gets, injured it screws up the lineup. Injuries force players to pick up the slack and potentially pitch or hit out of their comfort zone. Most importantly, however, it prevents players from getting into a rhythm and establishing an identity.

Consistency for Stanton

The Yankees should try to find a consistent spot for Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup. Stanton battled injuries all last year, as he only played in 18 games. Giving the streaky hitter some consistency in the lineup should make him comfortable, helping him back into a rhythm that brought out his MVP form in 2017.

The good thing is, the Yankees don’t even need that type of performance. In fact, what he did in 2018—129 wRC+ and 39 home runs—when he played 158 of 162 games is more than enough to compliment the rest of the Yankees’ powerful offense.

Starters going longer

Cashman made a significant change to the Yankees’ starting rotation when he signed Cole. He represents the ace that the Yankees have been missing over the past few years, and he gives them the upper-hand when it comes to starting pitching.

Yet, with a new rotation comes a new rule. Major League Baseball now requires any pitcher who is brought into a game to pitch to at least three batters or until the end of the half-inning he entered. With this rule, the days of Adam Ottavino coming in to face one batter are gone. Starters going six or seven innings as opposed to four or five will go a long way in helping the Yankees’ bullpen. The fewer innings the bullpen has to cover, the easier it will be to deploy the relief corps’ most powerful weapons.