The 2018 campaign has been an interesting one for the New York Yankees. As of this writing, the team is tied for the second-best record in all of baseball with the Houston Astros at 87-53. However, that’s only good enough for second place in their own division. The Boston Red Sox (97-44) are the owners of the best record in the league by a healthy 9.5-game margin.
As a result, the Yankees are most likely going to have to settle for one of the American League’s Wild Card spots. The fact that the team that may well finish with the second-best record in the entire league may be forced to risk their season on a one-game playoff against a team like the Oakland Athletics or the Seattle Mariners is a potentially cruel fate for the Bronx Bombers.
Then again, they’re the Yankees. Nobody’s crying for them. The Yanks have baseball’s sixth-highest payroll this season, and it’s only going to get more bloated in a few years when guys like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino are due for hefty raises. They’re essentially a lock to make the playoffs at this point, but there are some question marks for this club heading into the final month of the regular season.
Let’s roll through a few Yankees-related props that are available at some of the top online sportsbooks.
How Many Home Runs Will Andrew McCutchen Hit in September?
- Over 5 1/2 (+110)
- Under 5 1/2 (-150)
With Aaron Judge still having no timetable for his return from his fractured wrist, the Yankees felt the need to add a reinforcement in the outfield. Just before the August 31 waiver trade deadline, the Yankees acquired former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants. While McCutchen isn’t necessarily what he once was, he is still a capable bat and would be a clear upgrade over the likes of Shane Robinson in Judge’s stead.
Unfortunately, it’s been a slow burn for McCutchen thus far in pinstripes. He has picked up just one hit – a single – in his first 16 at-bats with the team along with a 2 walks and 2 runs scored. McCutchen did hit 15 home runs during his time with the Giants this season despite playing half of his games at AT&T Park, which is one of the toughest places in all of baseball to hit one out of the ballpark.
By moving to Yankee Stadium, McCutchen is getting a massive park upgrade from a power perspective. The Yankees lead the league in home runs this season by a wide margin. Plenty of that obviously has to do with the fact that the lineup is littered with power hitters, but they also certainly benefit from the friendly confines of their home yard.
That said, we’re already 7 days into September and McCutchen still hasn’t hit one over the fence. To cash the over on this bet, McCutchen is going to need to hit 6 home runs 22 games. He’s a decent hitter, but it’s hard to imagine him hitting that many home runs in such a short time. The Yankees also play in a few pitcher-friendly parks (Safeco Field, Tropicana Field) this month, which won’t help matters.
This one looks pretty easy. Take the under on McCutchen hitting 5 1/2 home runs before the calendar flips to October.
How Many Wins Will the Yankees Record in September?
- Over 14 1/2 (-125)
- Under 14 1/2 (-115)
Entering play on September 7, the Yankees have a record of 2-3 so far this month. Can they win 13 of their next 22 games to get to 15 victories this month?
Let’s take a look at the schedule. New York is set to face the Mariners for 3 games in Seattle this weekend. After that, their opponents for the rest of the month are at Minnesota (3 games), vs. Toronto (3), vs. Boston (3), at Baltimore (3), at Tampa Bay (4), at Boston (3). That is not an easy schedule. We know the Red Sox are the best team in baseball, and they still have 6 head-to-head matchups this month alone. The Mariners are in the AL Wild Card hunt, while the Rays have quietly gotten all the way to 11 games over .500. The fact that the Yankees will be taking on Seattle, Tampa Bay and Boston on the road could make things dicey.
To get to the over on this one, New York would need a record of 13-9, at worst, the rest of the month. While the schedule is rough, I think that’s certainly a reachable goal. Those games against sub-.500 clubs like the Twins, Blue Jays and Orioles should go a long way toward helping them get there. The Yankees can even afford to underperform on their season-long winning percentage to this point and still get to 13 more wins. I think you hit the over here on 14 1/2 for September wins for New York.
When Will Aaron Judge Record His Next At-Bat?
- 2018 (+120)
- 2019 (-160)
When Judge was hit by a pitch and suffered a fracture in his wrist by Jake Junis back on July 27, the Yankees estimated that the injury would only cost him between 3 and 4 weeks. However, we’re almost halfway into September and Judge is still on the shelf. As of last week, last year’s AL Rookie of the Year hadn’t even tried to swing a bat yet.
However, it sounds like he’s finally making some progress. Judge swung a bat for the first time earlier this week, taking 50 swings in total on Monday. He subsequently told the Associated Press, “Just moving in the right direction. Definitely a big step. I’m kind of on track with what we kind of wanted to accomplish, so I’m excited about the progress we’re making so far. It feels good. So I’ve just got to keep moving forward, keep having good days and just keep kind of building off that. Hopefully ramp it up here in the next couple days and be back out there soon.”
Judge has still not advanced to taking live batting practice yet, and he obviously hasn’t come close to facing live pitching in a couple of months. Most of the minor league affiliates for the Yankees have already seen their seasons come to a close, so his options regarding a potential minor league rehab are limited. The most likely scenario at this point seems to be Judge working his way back into form against real major league pitching.
Barring some sort of setback, it sure sounds like the Yankees expect to have Judge back in the lineup in some capacity before the season ends. Things can always change, and wrist injuries are obviously tricky for guys that have to swing a heavy piece of lumber for a living, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see him return to the field before next season. The team has given no indication that this injury could be potentially season-ending.
The McCutchen trade did raise some eyebrows, but I think the team was being more cautious than anything else. I think Judge is coming back in 2018, and this bet actually has some solid value at +120.
Will Aaron Boone Be the Yankees’ Manager in 2019?
- Yes -330
- No +225
After coming to within just one game of a surprising run to the World Series last season, the Yankees made the shocking move to part ways with longtime manager Joe Girardi. Girardi had been at the helm when the team won its last World Series back in 2009, and things seemed to be headed in the right direction last season with him still in charge.
However, there was reportedly a bit of discord between Girardi and the Yankees’ brass. With the front office looking to take a more analytical approach to things, Girardi was reportedly hesitant to welcome that change. So, the team decided against renewing his contract and opted to take on a younger successor.
A number of candidates interviewed for the job, but the team ultimately pegged former player Aaron Boone to take over. This was an unexpected move, mostly due to the fact that Boone had exactly zero managerial experience before taking the most high-profile managerial post in the entire league. Since retiring from playing in 2009, Boone had spent most of his time as a broadcaster working for ESPN.
While the Yankees aren’t likely to win their division in Boone’s first campaign, it’s hard to find many complaints with the job he’s done to this point. That said, how hard can it be to do his job? Handling the intense media scrutiny that comes with New York and the Yankees is one thing, but Boone also inherited an insanely talented and young roster. A common chimp could put on a Yankees hat and manage this team to 90 wins.
Even if they do enter the playoffs as a Wild Card, you can bet the Yankee brass will still have high expectations. Anything short of at least another ALCS berth would be something of a disappointment. However, the road obviously won’t be easy. The Yankees appearing in the ALCS would mean 2 of the Red Sox, Astros and Indians will not advance that far. At this stage, it’s tough to imagine any ALCS matchup that isn’t Astros-Red Sox.
Barring a wild collapse to close September, one would imagine Boone will be in the dugout once the 2019 campaign begins in the spring. We know the Yankees can be volatile when it comes to keeping managers, but an awful lot would have to go wrong in order for anyone other than Boone to be in charge next year.
“Yes” at -330 is the obvious play.