The historic New York Yankees were up 3-2 on the Houston Astros in the 2017 ALCS and failed the reach the World Series. That year, the Yankees were supposed to be assessing the young talent they have, not competing for a championship, but there they were, one win away from the World Series.

This quick development led to optimistic Yankees fans and high hopes for 2018. In the 2017 offseason, the Yankees added Giancarlo Stanton to their already potent lineup. A team that was one game away from the World Series added the reigning NL MVP to their lineup. If that doesn’t scream World Series or bust.

The Yankees ended up winning 100 games in the regular season, and that was still only good enough to get them the top Wild Card spot because of the Red Sox winning 108 games. The Yankees hung around all year, and then when Aaron Judge fractured his wrist, they never were able to hit a stretch that was enough to get them past Boston in the East. After defeating Oakland in the Wild Card game, the Yankees would lose to the eventual World Series champion Red Sox in the ALDS. To say they got embarrassed by Boston would be an understatement. Watching the Sox win is always hard for the Yankees and their fans, and after watching them win the WS, the Yankees are ready to get back on the field and begin their chase for 28.

Aroldis Chapman, Delin Betances, Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Holder, Chad Green, Zach Britton. What. A. Bullpen. The Yanks for a few years now have been known for their dominant bullpen and coming into 2019 that remains true. Especially because those names are all coming back, and they added the most coveted reliever on the free agent market, Adam Ottavino who appeared in 75 games for the Rockies last year and pitched to a 2.43 ERA. Lineup-wise, the Yankees didn’t add anything drastic, they added Troy Tulowitzki for next to nothing while Toronto pays his big salary, and DJ LeMahieu is a utility infielder who can help fill in until Didi Gregorius is back and healthy, if at all this year.

The also inked Aaron Hicks to a 7 year, 70 million dollar extension. For their rotation, they signed back CC Sabathia and JA Happ, extended Luis Severino, and acquired left-hander James Paxton via trade from the Mariners. The Yankees improved their 100 win team without spending 300 plus million on Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, that is what you call a great offseason.

We know the Yankees are going to a have a top bullpen in baseball, we know Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are going to hit home runs and a lot of them. Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are coming off strong rookie campaigns and Luke Voit looks like the next Lou Gehrig. Okay maybe not Gehrig, but after a great stretch to end 2018 and a great spring, Luke Voit looks like he’s ready to be the 3rd head of a 3 headed monster with Judge and Stanton.

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The only real question mark for New York will be their pitching rotation. Severino will start the season hurt with right shoulder inflammation, Sabathia will most likely miss his first start while he serves a 5 game suspension, and Gio Gonzalez, who the Yankees just signed to a minor league deal in light of injuries, can maybe make a start early if needed, but Domingo German and Luis Cessa will most likely be asked to slide in after Tanaka, Paxton and Happ. Even with CC and Severino, this rotation definitely isn’t the best, that’s the bad news. The good news is their bullpen is still elite and they are going to score a lot of runs on offense. The real question is, can they get past Boston?

Do you believe in World Series hangover? If you do then you probably think the Sox will take a step back this year, which is good for the Yankees. If you’re like me you believe in needing a good back end of the bullpen, then you agree the Sox are in for a drop off this year. Again, good news for the Yankees.

These two things combined, along with belief that there’s just no way the Sox can win 108 games back to back years is why I believe the Yankees will regain control of the American League East in 2019. The Yankees are being written off by people because of Boston’s success, and they’re ready to prove people wrong. Judge is having an amazing spring, and he’s ready for a full year of being healthy.

There is ZERO chance Gary Sanchez can be as bad as he was last year again this year, and Aaron Boone will be able to reflect off of last year and be a better manager in 2019. Judge will lead the New York Yankees to the AL East crown in 2019 while winning AL MVP. The Boston vs New York rivalry is back in full force led by Aaron Judge vs Mookie Betts in the MVP, and this time Judge will come out on top. And so will the Yankees. And it doesn’t stop there. It is World Series or bust. The players know that and so does the front office.

Brian Cashman will make deals at the deadline if he needs to, Boone will pull out all the stops, the New York Yankees are well aware they need to win, and need to win now, and they are ready for the chase for 28. This is by far the best Yankees roster since the 2009 championship season, and 10 years later, they’ll be hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy again.

Team MVP: Aaron Judge

Record Prediction: 111-51

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