Some Yankees are set to exceed expectations in 2019, but it stands to reason some guys will disappoint. These five players are prime candidates to struggle.
The Yankees are going to enter the 2019 campaign with massive expectations. In the minds of many New York fans, next season is World Series or bust. It’s safe to assume that pressure will cause several members of Aaron Boone’s roster to perform well below their potential.
The challenge, of course, is identifying which players might be primed to struggle. Some players may let age start to weigh down their skills. Other Yankees might struggle with injury concerns. A few players on the roster will simply play bad for long stretches. All of those things happen to every team in MLB every season.
In this piece, we’ll walk you through five players poised to have disappointing seasons. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll play badly. It just means they won’t be quite as good as most fans expect. We’ll start with a new reliever who might struggle to adapt to the pressures of being a Yankee.
5. Adam Ottavino
It’s easy to watch YouTube videos of Ottavino’s slider and get excited about what he might do in 2019. Looking at his 2018 statistics will get fans even more excited. He mowed through National League hitters to the tune of 112 strikeouts in 77.2 innings pitched.
Unfortunately, when you look at Ottavino’s career stats, you see a pitcher that’s been really inconsistent. His ERA was an ugly mark of 5.06 back in 2017. We’re not saying he’s going to pitch that poorly next year, but the reality of his 2019 season could easily be an average of what he’s done over the past two years.
At the very least, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if it takes Ottavino a while to adjust to life in pinstripes. If that happens, he could easily end up with an ERA much closer to 4.00 than 3.00. That won’t make Yankees fans very happy, but it doesn’t mean he won’t be a real weapon down the stretch.