With all the uncertainty concerning the young 2017 New York Yankees, flamethrowing closer Aroldis Chapman is confident in his team’s chances.
“Look at what this team did without (Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and me),” Chapman said in the player’s parking lot according to NJ Advance Media. “And with all these young kids, you never know what’s going to happen this year. All I know is that this is a really young team and they’re going to fight very hard … and I think we’re going to do very well.”
As the Yankees saw their 2016 postseason chances hit a mere nine percent on July 25, Chapman was traded to the Chicago Cubs. He would become a World Series champion but as the second half progressed, New York went 32-26 including a near-perfect August that brought within one game of a playoff spot thanks to the Baby Bombers.
Chapman, who returned to New York on record-setting five-year, $86-million contract this past December, says you shouldn’t count out the Yankees’ just yet.
“I’m super happy to be back especially because it’s a new, young team,” Chapman also said. “I’m looking forward to sharing this young movement. I’m young, too! … This is going to be a very good team.”
FanGraphs projects the 2017 Yankees to finish with 83 wins and while that continues the organization’s streak of winning seasons (25), it also means that they will likely miss the postseason for the fourth time in five years.
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Over 59 total games between the Bronx and Chicago last season, the 28-year old “Cuban Missile” maintained a 1.55 ERA and struck out 90 batters in 58 innings of work (14 K.9).
Since 2012, Chapman has struck out more batters than any reliever in baseball (546) while also recording the second-most saves behind Craig Kimbrel (180).
Pitchers and catchers officially report to Tampa on Monday, Feb. 13, when the journey against all odds begin for Chapman and the Bombers.