The New York Yankees have looked like burgeoning World Series champions for a good few years, regularly coming second-fiddle to the more developed Boston Red Sox. Now, the old rivals have faded into obscurity, and the Yankees look primed to build upon their first divisional triumph in six seasons with a deep run in the postseason.
Regardless of whether a full schedule or the 60-game season would be played, the Yankees were one of the highest-rated teams coming into the 2020 MLB. The expanded playoffs of 16 teams will undoubtedly throw in some joker cards, but it looks as though the Yankees are well-equipped to face anything that gets put in their way.
Of course, this is baseball, and any team can perk up and fly through the playoffs. Perhaps the most important aspect is that the trade deadline is expected to be a somewhat tame affair, with weaker teams clutching their best players as they have a chance in the playoffs under the expanded set-up. This means that the stronger teams may struggle to reinforce and draw level with the top contenders.
So, are the Yankees finally primed for World Series glory in 2020?
Worthy adversaries in the AL East
While the Yankees have stepped up to fill the boots of the long-dominant Red Sox, the low-cost Tampa Bay Rays have been sure to keep the ascending club in check. The Rays spend far less than most other teams, and yet the roster is teeming with talent – enough to stifle the Yankees a few times this season.
It’s become a thrilling rivalry, one which hopefully continues for several seasons with the same level of grit that we’ve seen this season. However, despite the Rays lurking nearby, the Yankees’ team has simply been too deep to deny. They have so much depth at every position, with a sublime collection of top-heavy talents and a stacked bullpen, making them the team to beat in the American League.
A daunting foe across the league
It takes an incredibly dominant regular season for a team to be labeled as the outright favorites to win the World Series. This season, with a shorter regular season and an expanded postseason, all of the ratings have been skewed. We don’t get the usual sample size to compare teams, especially as there’ll be so few cross-country match-ups.
So, the experts have to put less weight on the performances thus far and more of an emphasis on the quality of the team and its depth. With these factors in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Yankees lead the World Series odds in the MLB betting at +350, with the Los Angeles Dodgers basically level-pegging at +375. The only team close to those two frontrunners are the Minnesota Twins at +900.
The Dodgers may be the only club that can honestly stand toe-to-toe with the Yankees on the talent front. They are absolutely loaded, helped in great part by their blockbuster trade with the Red Sox earlier this year, bringing in David Price and Mookie Betts to solidify their win-now stance. While Price isn’t playing, the team is still a powerhouse at every position.
Assuming that the stacked Yankees are now experienced enough to avoid an embarrassing early exit to a lower seed, a deserving all-star rumble in the World Series between the New York outfit and the west coast’s Dodgers looks to be on the cards.