Ready or not, the Yankees are headed to the Playoffs. Aaron Boone and company must answer these five questions before October arrives.
The Yankees haven’t been playing great baseball lately, but barring an epic collapse, they’re headed for the Playoffs. Unfortunately, the team is heading to October with a great deal of uncertainty. There are big questions to answer before the regular season comes to a close.
In this piece, we’ll walk you through the five biggest issues facing Boone and company. We can’t detail every decision Boone has to make before the regular season ends, but we can examine the ones that will really make a difference. The Yankees might have more questions about their roster than any other team in playoff contention at this point in the season.
We’ll start by looking at a guy who could really surprise people come the postseason.
5. Is Justus Sheffield going to be a factor?
The Yankees called their No. 1 prospect up to the Bronx and he finally pitched one inning of eventful, but ultimately scoreless baseball against the Red Sox. Despite the small sample size, Boone insists no determination has been made about whether or not Sheffield will make the postseason roster.
The youngster has electric stuff. If he didn’t, the organization wouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of including him on the postseason roster. The question is whether or not he’s mentally tough enough to handle the stress of October baseball.
In some ways, his inexperience might almost be an advantage for him if he does earn a role down the stretch. He can’t really understand the pressure that might be coming his way. That could give Sheffield the chance to have a Joba Chamberlain type of effect out of Boone’s bullpen.
Don’t forget, major league hitters aren’t going to know a ton about Sheffield either. It’s possible the Yankees were just trying to hide him for as long as possible before unleashing him on the competition.
That might be overly optimistic, but at the very least, Sheffield is a major wild card right now. He could be just the sort of wild card player to shift a Wild Card game in his team’s favor.