clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yankees fans tepid in their updated win total projections

After a rough week for the Bombers, the fanbase is growing restless, but there are bigger disappointments in the league this year.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across Major League Baseball. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged-in New York Yankees fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.

This week’s SB Nation Reacts projects the Yankees’ win total, examines Michael King’s role, and looks at the biggest disappointments around MLB. Is the Bombers’ slow start the first sign of a mediocre season? How can the Yankees plug holes in the rotation? Who has been an even bigger disappointment so far?

Kyle Thele

Optimism is running dangerously low in Yankee Universe right now, with a plurality of fans surveyed projecting 81-86 wins, a far cry from the Yankees being an AL East preseason favorite. We all knew the AL East would be a dogfight, but sole possession of last place is not where fans envisioned this talented — and expensive — roster landing in the first week of May.

The offense hasn’t put up more than four runs since April 26th in Minnesota, where they scored 12. Brian Cashman claimed this team is a “championship-caliber operation” but based on the results of the poll, fans are less forgiving in their outlook. In short, it’s been a slog through April and the beginning of May especially since Aaron Judge went down. The team has an 89 wRC+ cumulatively. With all the pitching injuries, below average offense isn’t sustainable if this team is to go over .500. At this point, making any kind of dent in the nine game Rays’ lead should be the priority.

Kyle Thele

It’s not easy to find big-league success as a starter. Michael King underwhelmed in parts of two seasons in the starting rotation, and the Yankees could sorely use a durable, dependable mid-rotation piece. When a player finds success in a role, dominance in King’s case, perhaps it’s overthinking to keep shuffling them back and forth. An effective multi-inning high-leverage reliever changes the complexion of any bullpen, easing the workload on max-effort guys over the long run. Rest days for relievers are invaluably important to keep a bullpen healthy, especially as the Yankees lean on the ‘pen until the rotation gets healthy.

Much like Clarke Schmidt, the Yankees have maintained that King has the stuff and command to be a successful starter. King was pressed into service in May 2021, taking six turns in the rotation. It didn’t go well: 13 earned runs in 22 innings pitched with a garish 1.42 WHIP. King’s batted ball results from his six 2021 starts inflated his hard contact, as he had a 43 percent hard hit rate compared to a 36.5 mark in 2022 solely as a reliever. The Yankees let him rock in 2022 with optimal results.

There’s no doubt that the Yankees need starting pitching — they need it bad. But diverting a valuable bullpen weapon doesn’t justify the chance for King to become a serviceable starter. Part of a championship operation is putting players in the best position possible to succeed, and according to Yankee fans, King’s right where he belongs.

Note: All survey results below were from polls involving all MLB fans, not just Yankees fans like the ones above.

Kyle Thele

The Chicago White Sox avoided total disaster last year by wobbling to an 81-81 finish. This past offseason, they took a flawed roster and ... did next to nothing to improve it other than sign Andrew Benintendi. Retaining Elvis Andrus isn’t going to move the needle. The Guardians and Twins, meanwhile, both made significant improvements to shore up their biggest flaws.

To be fair, they suffered a major blow out of their control in Liam Hendriks’ cancer diagnosis. With Hendriks’ imminent return and Tim Anderson back from the IL, things are looking a little better, just maybe.

Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease have anchored the rotation well enough, but a team with a cumulative 5.13 ERA and 85 wRC+ isn’t going to get it done even in the light-hitting AL Central. Last year was a car crash of mediocrity, but an elderly man was driving, so it was funnier. There’s nothing funny about supposed franchise cornerstones dogging it to first base while the team sits in last place. Losing culture, folks. It’s real.

Kyle Thele

The St. Louis Cardinals, like the Yankees, are perpetually competitive. There’s very rarely a flat-out bad Cardinals team, but the first month of the season has been tough to watch. Slow starts from key contributors like Nolan Arenado (72 wRC+ in 139 at-bats) have them sitting at 10-24, last place in the NL Central. The Cardinals’ normally high floor is because of their solid building blocks. Anchoring a lineup around Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt should make manager Oli Marmol’s job easier, but of those two only Goldschmidt is hitting, and Marmol’s seat is beginning to warm. The lineup is top-heavy with four players posting a wRC+ of 116 or greater in more than a hundred at bats. Contributions in the five through nine spots have been sparse.

Defense has also been a concern, which feels wrong with a team whose infield is cornered by Goldschmidt and Arenado. The Cardinals’ biggest offseason acquisition, catcher Willson Contreras on a five-year, $87.5 million contract, has backfired to the point that the team is moving him off the position. His defensive deficiencies hurt the team more than his above-average bat helps.

The Cardinals also handed out a two-year extension to Miles Mikolas, who has yet to recapture his earlier success. Old friend Jordan Montgomery is pitching well with a 3.29 ERA, though. The NL Central at the moment runs through Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.