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Sports Illustrated's New York Yankees Fantasy Baseball Preview

Whether or not Major League Baseball will be played this year remains to be seen. As negotiations continue between the league and players union regarding the sport's return amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, there's no way to know just yet if your favorite players will be taking the field this summer. 

Nonetheless, Sports Illustrated's fantasy and gambling staff put together a comprehensive breakdown of which Yankees you should (and shouldn't) pick up in your fantasy baseball drafts for the 2020 season.

From the sleepers, to the busts and the breakouts, here's a few excerpts from SI's coverage and additional analysis from Inside The Pinstripes:

Aaron Judge

When healthy, Aaron Judge is one of the best outfielders in the league. 

His injury status this spring, however, makes him a risk when it comes to a selection in the early rounds of your fantasy draft.

Based upon his rookie season in 2017, and glimpses of greatness over the last two campaigns, the Yankees' slugger can do damage and earn you plenty of points with his powerful bat. His elite ability to get on base, score runs and scorch the ball with some of the best exit velocity the league has ever seen makes Judge a prime candidate to pave the way for your club's offensive output. 

That said, not only is his injury history a cause for concern – and the fracture in his first right rib keeping him out until "summertime" this year – but his high strikeout rate may be a reason to think twice before drafting Judge too high. 

SI's fantasy and gambling analyst Shawn Childs breaks down how to approach selecting Judge in your draft:

Last year he lost two months of the year with an oblique injury. Judge didn’t hit his stride in 2019 until the August 15th (.301 with 15 HRs and 23 RBI over his final 133 at-bats). With two years with missed games, he does have some injury risk while being fully priced on draft day (ADP – 28). We have already missed good chunks of Judge's prime.

Stress fractures take time to recover, making him a tease on any baseball drafts in June. Fantasy owners will expect him to be ready for the start of the year, but his recovery may linger longer than expected. Worth a flier if he's discounted, but I would avoid if his draft value comes in at a full price.

Bottom line, if Judge is healthy and you can snag him at a discounted price on draft day, don't hesitate. Otherwise, proceed with caution.

READ MORE: Fantasy outlook on Aaron Judge

Gleyber Torres

Gleyber Torres is no longer a highly-touted prospect. The Yankees' shortstop has already grown into a perennial All-Star, elite power hitter and rising star.

Depending on where Torres is situated in the Bombers' high-octane lineup, we could see an increase of runs and RBI in 2020. After 38 home runs last year in his sophomore season, it's hard to envision anything lower than 30 or 35 long balls each season for years to come. 

Here's more from Childs, this time on the Yankees' 23-year-old phenom:

His average hit rate (1.934) made massive strides since 2015 (AVH – 1.307). He played well over the first three months of the year (.295 with 19 HRs and 47 RBI over 281 at-bats), but Torres lost his value in home runs in July (one HR over 88 at-bats). His correction in power came in August (.277 with 13 HRs and 21 RBI over 101 at-bats).

His approach came in at the league average (K rate – 21.4 and walk rate – 8.0). Torres repeated his fly-ball rate (41.9) with further growth in his HR/FB rate (21.5)

Brett Gardner

The longest-tenured member of the Yankees is poised to take a step back in 2020. 


Entering his age-36 season, in all likelihood we will witness a regression from Brett Gardner

His career-high outburst in the home run department last year shows that he still has some pop in his bat – and in Strat-O-Matic's simulation of the 2020 regular season, Gardner is New York's best hitter – but poor production against left-handers and competing for playing time will devalue this veteran in fantasy.

Here's Childs' take:

His bat came up empty vs. lefties (.212 with five HRs and 17 RBI). He played the best in September (.259 with ten HRs and 20 RBI over 85 at-bats). Gardner will take walks (9.5 percent) while having some fade in his strikeout rate (19.6 – 17.6 in 2018). His HR/FB rate (19.3) was well above his career resume (9.4) and his 2018 season (8.5).

A veteran player who now has more competition for playing time with Aaron Hicks getting closer to starting the year healthy. Gardner signed a one-year deal with the Yankees. I can’t see him repeating his power...

Especially now, with Hicks marching closer to his return from Tommy John surgery, Gardner's usage in the outfield may be limited in a truncated season later this summer.

READ: Adding a universal DH will bring Giancarlo Stanton back to MVP form in 2020 

Miguel Andújar

After appearing in just 12 games last year due to injury, hesitating before drafting Miguel Andújar is justifiable. Then again, he may end up being the biggest sleeper of your draft from those in pinstripes. 

Let's not forget the numbers Andújar posted in his rookie year, the only full big-league season of his three years in the Majors. The third baseman hit .297 in 149 games, stroking 47 doubles and 27 homers while driving in 92 runs. If it wasn't for two-way standout Shohei Ohtani, Andújar would've been crowned AL Rookie of the Year.

Childs prefers to be patient when it comes to picking Andújar in a draft this summer – after all, where he fits into this jam-packed offensive unit is still up in the air – but in the right spot, his upside could be a draft-day steal.

Shoulder injuries can lead to a slow recovery in power. The Yankees don’t like his glove at third base, which points to a move to first. An interesting player, but I have to see if he’s driving the ball well in spring training before paying for his 2018 stats. The have-nots in the high-stakes market have him listed as a DH out of the gate with an ADP of 232, which is at least 150 picks lower than his 2019 draft value.

The options at 1B, 3B, and DH for the Yankees in 2020 bring a lot of cloudiness to Andujar’s opportunity. His bat offers upside, and it will be discounted in any June drafts once the start of this year’s baseball season is announced.

Let's not forget, Andújar took some reps in the outfield this spring, attempting to find a way into the starting lineup. If Gardner, Hicks, Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are all healthy come Opening Day, it's tough to envision Andújar in a starting role. 

Hungry for more Yankees related fantasy baseball content? You're in luck:

WATCH: What makes Gerrit Cole the best starting pitcher in fantasy baseball?

WATCH: Giancarlo Stanton fantasy outlook 

To keep up with all of Inside The Pinstripe’s coverage, click the "follow" button at the top right-hand corner of this page.

For more from Max Goodman, follow him on Twitter @MaxTGoodman. Follow ITP on Twitter @SI_Yankees and Facebook @SIYankees