The calendar has officially flipped to May in our simulation of the Yankees’ 2020 season on MLB The Show, and the first-place Yankees have already seen a lot, like allowing 17 and 18 runs in a game during the span of a week.
As the Yanks cling to their narrow lead atop the division, let’s look back on this first full month of the regular season and pick out the trends and storylines that would have fans and beat writers paying the closest attention to. There are plenty of options, but I’m confident these would be driving the conversation more than any others:
If there’s one thing the majority of Yankees fans seem to love, it’s getting mad at Giancarlo Stanton. Sometimes, it’s for good reason, like his massive struggles in the 2018 ALDS, but his start to the 2020 season in our simulation would absolutely have people talking.
Stanton has been healthy and playing regularly, but he certainly hasn’t been playing well. In 130 at-bats, the slugger is slugging just .231 with an OPS of .527, and his 36 strikeouts are just behind the team lead — the also struggling Luke Voit has struck out 37 times this year. To add to the frustration, he’s also grounded into four double plays, the highest mark on the team. The trade still wasn’t much of a sacrifice given the lack of assets the Yankees parted with prior to the 2018 season, but this is shaping up to be the second straight year where Stanton struggles, only this time he’s struggling while being an everyday player.
The Yankees are...healthy?
I mentioned Stanton has been playing regularly, and oddly enough, that’s been the case for nearly everyone on the roster. Given how 2019 went and the ensuing offseason, I wouldn’t have been surprised if everyone got hurt during this simulation. But aside from a calf strain to Aaron Hicks, nobody has missed any time due to injuries so far this season, which is probably a strike against the game in terms of it being close to reality.
What was even wilder was when Hicks’ calf strain was expected to be day-to-day, and it actually was! He was back in the lineup two games later, without any setbacks or newly found information about the injury. Go figure.
David John making long gone
At this point in the season, Yankees fans would likely be clamoring for Brian Cashman to offer DJ LeMahieu an extension, and for good reason. Following his MVP caliber season and clutch postseason play in 2019, LeMahieu is currently tied with Gary Sanchez for the team lead in home runs, and leads the team with an OPS of 1.066.
Also, LeMahieu has struck out just seven times this season, easily the lowest on the team among regular starters. It’s clear the machine hasn’t skipped a beat since his resurgent first season in New York.