The New York Yankees were one game from making the World Series in a rebuilding year. Now there are no more excuses for a lack of success.
Twenty-seventeen was a year of firsts.
It was the first full season for Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. It was the first monster season from shortstop Didi Gregorius. It was the first time that the Yankees had reason to really worry about Masahiro Tanaka.
It was also the first season in a while where the Yankees were predicted to be absolute garbage. Luckily, the Yankees didn’t care about the predictions.
They were considered to be in year one of a rebuild when, in reality, the rebuild was skipped altogether and the Yankees found themselves as one of three teams remaining in the hunt for yet another World Series title.
So they got this season out of the way and proved that they don’t need to rebuild…they are made for a deep run into the playoffs.
Because of that, the pressure is back on in the Bronx.
Nobody expected such a stellar year out of a young squad such as the 2017 Yankees but now, after seeing the damage they caused, these Yankees are no longer the underdog. They are, once again, that team to beat.
Now comes the pressure to repeat last season’s magical run and improve on it. Can they do that with this team?
This is a squad that has some incredible young talent and even without these young studs performing at the highest caliber during the playoffs, the Yankees still made it to Game 7 of the ALCS.
But now they’ve transformed in one season from the underdog who fans pitied to a driving force of a team that is not to be messed with. The Yankees don’t have the luxury of flying under the radar anymore. They will be the opponent who everyone will be gunning for come next season.
Are these guys really ready for this extra time in the spotlight? And even if these current players are, there are even more prospects hoping to come up and make a splash who might not perform up to snuff.
They’re already light years ahead of where they should be. Because of that quick progress, the Yankees are finding themselves trying to live up to expectations.
While this team is just beginning in developing a new dynasty, all eyes will be on them. Even though they made the ALCS this past season with developing talent, that doesn’t mean that they can do it again. But that is what everyone is going to expect.
These guys are young and boast incredible skills to play the game but they’ve only played it as the underdog this past season. Everyone counted the Yankees out early and often but they continued to exceed expectations. Now the youthful players have set themselves a higher bar and will be expected to reach it.
Is that fair? Yes, it is. The better you play in the playoffs, the more attention you’ll gain from the media. Those expectations will stick with you going into the next season so you better be ready to perform.
Forget a looser environment. The Yankees are now entering a high-stress season where they have to win or risk being written off once again.
2017 was all about the fun. 2018 is all about business, as the Yankees and their young players will quickly learn.