The hype is all too real surrounding the New York Yankees for 2020, but several players on the team need to prove themselves.
Thankfully, the Houston Astros scandal has kept the majority of Major League Baseball occupied during this long stretch of the offseason. The New York Yankees may be enjoying the downfall of their enemies, but they are also getting their troops in line for the 2020 season.
With a new year comes intense excitement, especially after the offseason acquisition of Gerrit Cole and amazing 2019 campaigns from Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela.
But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies in every aspect of the game for the Yankees. No, the Bronx Bombers still have some work to do before the regular season begins. Hopefully, they can work out the kinks in spring training but some will need to be settled on the big stage during the regular season.
Even though 2019 was a successful year for the team as a whole, some players certainly struggled. And in order to get back in the good graces of fans, they must step up this coming season and truly make a difference. Here are five players who need to prove that 2019 was just a fluke.
1. Giancarlo Stanton
Perhaps the biggest need this season is for Giancarlo Stanton to step up and actually play. With just 18 games under his belt in the 2019 season, playing at least a month in 2020 is still an improvement.
Even though he only played for a short period of time, his 2018 season was not quite on par for what was expected when the Yankees took on his contract. While it wasn’t terrible, he also didn’t produce the same numbers as he did the season before when he won the MVP award.
The Yankees need Stanton’s bat in the lineup and they need his glove in the field, in whatever capacity they can get. That’s a lot of money to be sitting on the IL and after missing all of 2019, imagine what could get done if he plays for an entire season?
Stanton is a talented player, but after 2019, he must prove he can be an asset to an already talented team.
2. J.A. Happ
As Brian Cashman made very clear, J.A. Happ will be in the rotation for the Yankees to start the season, much to the moans and groans across the internet. The truth is, Happ had a very successful second half of 2018 when he was brought over via trade. His 2019 season was defined by the massive amount of home runs he allowed.
Despite an off-kilter 2019 season, the pitcher that Happ once was is still in there. With suspicions that the balls were changed out for last season, that could be an explanation for the exuberant amount of homers allowed.
Either way, Happ has to really step up on the mound and show that he belongs. If not, he’ll find himself with a one-way ticket to a lesser team halfway through the season.
3. Gio Urshela
Yup, we know; Gio Urshela has an absolutely stellar 2019 season on all fronts. His defense was incredible. His bat was outstanding. His presence both on and off the field was integral to creating the chemistry of this incredible squad.
But that was also an incredibly shocking showing from Urshela. He may have proven himself in 2019 but will he be able to do the same in 2020? That is the big question surrounding Urshela.
He was definitely impressive but he also put up numbers that were extremely uncharacteristic for his career. So 2020 will be a big test for the young third basemen, especially when he’s got Miguel Andujar breathing down his neck.
4. Clint Frazier
The red-headed stepchild in the outfield certainly has some work to do if he wants to even sniff a future in the Bronx. That became blatantly obvious when Clint Frazier had an opportunity to snag a starting role and his defense prevented him from doing so.
Since bouncing back and forth between Scranton and the Bronx, Frazier has been given opportunity after opportunity but was never found to be the right fit. It’s safe to say that at this point, the 25-year-old doesn’t have many more shots to make it big in the Bronx.
Elsewhere? Absolutely. But 2020 will be the season the Yankees are truly looking for Clint Frazier to become the guy they saw when they claimed him in the Andrew Miller trade. If not, he’ll be out of the Bronx fairly quickly.
The New York Yankees have much to prove as a team in 2020, including whether or not they’ll be able to overcome the ALCS hump and finally find themselves in another Fall Classic. If these individuals can step up their game, maybe they’ll be able to help propel the team to greater heights.