Aaron Judge

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the New York Yankees?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the New York Yankees?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the New York Yankees?

You know how everybody always (usually jokingly) refers to “stacked” lineups as the ‘27 Yankees? Well, it might be time to change that to the ‘18 Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers did their nickname justice this winter, adding reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and teaming him with Aaron Judge to form a power-hitting combo perhaps unseen since the Ruth-Gehrig glory days.

Now that’s not to suggest that Stanton and Judge are going to become two of the greatest baseball players in history. But it is to suggest that they’re going to strike fear into opposing pitchers, with plenty of prognosticators predicting a combined 100 homers for the duo. That’s not crazy, either, considering Stanton led baseball with 59 bombs a season ago, the highest single-season total in almost two decades, and in a runaway Rookie of the Year campaign, Judge crushed 52 homers to lead the American League.

So, you know, 59 plus 52. That’s more than 100.

And while Stanton and Judge take all the attention, the Yankees’ lineup is pretty darn good outside of those two guys, too. Gary Sanchez is one of baseball’s best offensive catchers and hit an only shabby-by-comparison 33 homers last season. Didi Gregorius has plenty of pop for a shortstop, and he smacked 25 homers last season. Brett Gardner had a strong 2017. And even two late-in-the-offseason additions to the infield, Neil Walker and Brandon Drury, form a better 8-9 combo than most teams in the AL.

There’s no need to start spreading the news, it’s already been spread: The Yankees have one of the best, most fearsome offenses in the game.

As for the pitching, well that ain’t half bad either. Luis Severino had a 2.98 ERA and 230 strikeouts last season. CC Sabathia had a 3.69 ERA in 27 starts. Midseason acquisition Sonny Gray had a 3.55 ERA on the year. Masahiro Tanaka almost hit the 200-strikeout plateau.

And that bullpen is outstanding. Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren formed as good a relief corps as you were likely to find in baseball last year.

Even with the division-rival Red Sox looking pretty good — and coming off a 93-win season — the Yanks will enter 2018 as the favorite in the always-competitive AL East. The question is how close they’ll come to being the favorite in the AL overall. The defending-champion Houston Astros still seem a hair ahead after besting the Yankees in last year’s ALCS. But the Bombers might have the preseason edge over the Cleveland Indians, especially after beating them in the playoffs last year.

Bottom line: The Yankees are really, really good. And don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of Billy Joel during the Fall Classic. "Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood ..."

2017 record: 91-71, second place in AL East, lost in ALCS

Offseason additions: Giancarlo Stanton, Neil Walker, Brandon Drury

Offseason departures: Todd Frazier, Jaime Garcia, Michael Pineda, Starlin Castro

X-factor: White Sox fans know how good Robertson and Kahnle were last season. Chapman and Betances are now household names as elite relief pitchers. But the best reliever of this whole group at the end of last season was Green, who finished the year with a 1.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 69 innings. Over his final 30 games, 47 innings, he had an even lower 1.53 ERA and 77 strikeouts. He allowed one run in September. And though he was roughed up a bit in his lone appearance against the Indians in the ALDS, he allowed just one unearned run in 6.1 innings against the Astros in the ALCS.

Projected lineup:

1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
4. Gary Sanchez, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Aaron Hicks, CF
7. Greg Bird, 1B
8. Neil Walker, 2B
9. Brandon Drury, 3B

Projected rotation:

1. Luis Severino
2. Masahiro Tanaka
3. CC Sabathia
4. Sonny Gray
5. Jordan Montgomery

Prediction: First place in AL East

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies

Yankees reportedly close to acquiring Giancarlo Stanton


Yankees reportedly close to acquiring Giancarlo Stanton

Although Giancarlo Stanton added the Cubs to his list of teams that he would waive his no-trade clause for late Thursday, it doesn't look like the reigning N.L. MVP will be bringing his talents to the Friendly Confines. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman, Stanton is instead close to joining the New York Yankees. 

Nothing is finalized yet, but the potential trade would pair Stanton, who slugged 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in 2017, with Aaron Judge, who slammed 56 dingers of his own. Talk about the Bronx Bombers.

A Marlins-Cubs swap featuring Stanton was never likely given the massive contract of the 28-year-old outfielder. Stanton has 10 years and $295 million remaining on his current deal, a tremendous undertaking for any team even if Miami does end up eating some of the money owed. 

No word on if the Marlins' return package includes former Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres, but even if it does, that Yankees lineup will be something opposing pitchers have nightmares about before outings. 

Bryzzo Souvenir Co. lives up to its name on MLB's top-selling jerseys list


Bryzzo Souvenir Co. lives up to its name on MLB's top-selling jerseys list

Bryzzo Souvenir Co. sells a lot of souvenirs. And a lot of jerseys.

Major League Baseball released its list of the sport's top-selling jerseys for the 2017 season, and Cubs stars Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo ranked second and third, respectively.

The only guy in front of them? New York Yankees rookie sensation Aaron Judge. Playing for one of the game's most iconic franchises, Judge launched a rookie-record 52 home runs this season.

Of course, Bryant and Rizzo kept doing their thing on the North Side, and after last season's curse-smashing World Series championship, it's no surprise they're high on the list, too.

They also weren't the only Cubs to crack the top 10, with Javy Baez 10th on the list.

Here's the full top 10, with Judge, Bryant and Rizzo going 1-2-3. Also appearing on the list is Bryce Harper, whose Washington Nationals the Cubs will face in the NLDS starting Friday. Clayton Kershaw ranked fourth, and the Cubs could face him for the second straight postseason should both the Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers meet in an NLCS rematch.