The 2020 MLB season has been a major letdown for New York Yankees fans so far, but there are clear signs that the future is bright.
After starting 2020 strong, the New York Yankees are plummeting to the bottom of the American League East Division. They’re sitting at one game over .500, a mere 1.5 games up on the fourth-place Baltimore Orioles.
They do currently possess the last AL playoff spot, but even if they somehow manage to hold onto it the rest of the way, they’ll likely have to face the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round.
New York is 2-8 against the Rays this year.
These are the mostly negative returns dedicated Yankees followers have received on their fan-ship investment so far this season.
Could the Bombers get hot and make a dash for the World Series? Sure. But why waste time in fantasy land constructing fake miracles? The reality based on the available facts is that the Yankees’ best-case scenario is a quick exit from the playoffs.
And yet, long-term hope still breathes faintly in the Bronx, if you believe the philosophy of one Bombers broadcaster’s parent—David Cone’s late mother Joan.
Just about any time a Yankee is enduring a lengthy slump, Cone takes the opportunity to reference his mom’s belief in the concept of being due, giving YES Network viewers reason to have faith that their struggling hero could snap out of his funk by crushing the very next pitch.
That old-school spirit reveals six factors that New York Yankees fans can hold onto to like floatation devices, looking forward to 2021 while the sinking ship that is the 2020 season descends to its final resting place.
1. The Yankees are due for a healthy season
In 2019, the Bombers suffered an unrealistic amount of injuries. Nearly all of the club’s name-brand players were absent for significant stretches of the season.
Now, even with COVID-19 delays giving the Yankees time to heal and only 60 games to get through, the team is back to its injury-plagued ways.
Giancarlo Stanton has only played 14 games, thanks to a hamstring injury. Aaron Judge’s right calf strain has limited him to 18 contests. In the infield, Gio Urshela is down with a bone spur in his throwing elbow, and both Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu have spent time on the IL.
The pitching staff has been hit too, with Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, James Paxton, and Jonathan Loaisiga all missing time.
According to the properties of due-ness, 2021 should be a year of good health, which finally puts the Yankees at full-strength for an entire season.
2. Gerrit Cole is due for another winning streak
Oh no five runs against Gerrit Cole this is awful. He does have 10 strikeouts though. That’s pretty good all things considered. pic.twitter.com/JcMbLe1Ntp
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) September 6, 2020
Remember when Gerrit Cole had a streak of 28 starts without a loss? He was due for a failed decision, and it finally came on Aug. 26 against the Atlanta Braves.
That’s fine—no one goes undefeated. But rather than starting a new winning streak, Cole has embarked on a losing one. He’s taken the loss in three-straight starts now, and the New York Yankees have been defeated in his last four outings.
Cole hasn’t had the worst season imaginable, but he has underperformed his record-breaking contract.
The New York Yankees are only 5-4 in the 30-year-old’s first nine starts. His 4.64 FIP is the worst of his career by almost half a run, and he’s allowed batters to leave the yard an MLB-leading 13 times.
Unless he pitches lights out in his final few starts of the regular season and then leads the Yankees to a surprising championship, Cole will be driven by his substandard 2020 to make 2021 the first Cy Young season of his career.
3. Gary Sanchez is due to remember how to hit
Gary Sanchez is treating Yankees fans to the worst season of his young career. And that’s kind of saying a lot.
The Kraken always finds some pop, but his inability to provide at least a little bit of production in the AVG and OBP departments is frustrating.
After hitting .299/.376 in 2016 and .278/.345 in 2017, he dropped to .186/.291 in 2018 and .232/.316 in 2019.
The slight bump up in 2019 was not a sign of better things to come in 2020. He’s currently a dead spot in the Yankees’ lineup, slashing .125/.229/.337 with 49 strikeouts in 118 plate appearances.
If a member of the New York Yankees is due to bounce back in 2021, it’s Gary Sanchez.
4. Adam Ottavino is due to play for his next contract
Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino came into tonight’s game with a 3.55 ERA on the season.
He now leaves this game with a 7.82 ERA after giving up six runs without recording an out. pic.twitter.com/GXEpBDax65
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) September 8, 2020
Adam Ottavino has been bad in 2020. He’s allowed almost a run per inning (11 in 12.2 frames), and he’s blown a tie or lead in three of his last six appearances.
And don’t be fooled by his 1.90 ERA in 2019, because he wasn’t so great then, either. Just see his 3.44 FIP in the regular season and his 11.57 ERA in the 2019 ALCS as proof.
But there’s good news. He’ll be playing for a new contract in 2021. Last time he did that, in 2018, he put together an incredible year, with career bests all the way across the back of his baseball card, including a 0.9 WHIP, 4.8 H9, 13.0 SO9, and 3.11 SO/W.
Should he flop yet again, then at least he’s due to leave the Bronx. So, it works out either way.
5. Deivi Garcia is due to become the real Pequeno Pedro
Last season, Deivi Garcia experienced triple-A for the first time, posting a 5.40 ERA. Those results initially seemed like proof the then-21-year-old needed at least a couple more years to develop on the farm.
Now, three starts into his MLB career, he appears to be a rotation mainstay.
In the first 17.2 innings of his Big League career, Garcia has fanned 18 batters and posted a 0.91 WHIP and a 3.06 ERA. He’s doing it all with a fastball that only reaches about 93, which indicates he could have super-long-term success.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 10, 2020
After a little 2020 test run to work out any bugs in his game, Garcia could be due to secure a top-of-the-rotation job in 2021. Let the second coming of the great Pedro Martinez begin.
6. The Yankees are due for a dynasty
Assuming the Yankees don’t rebound to win the World Series this year—a crazy easy assumption to make right now—they’ll enter next season with 11 consecutive years of championship-less baseball.
The last time they went 10-plus seasons without bringing home the Commissioner’s Trophy (1979 to 1995), they ripped off four chips in five years (1996 to 2000).
It makes sense that the decade currently in progress will feature a new Yankees dynasty. Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luis Severino will all be in or around their peak years. Younger Yankees like Gleyber Torres, Deivi Garcia, and Clint Frazier could all be coming into their own.
But that destined New York Yankees resurgence isn’t due to start until 2021 at the earliest.