Last year Aaron Judge shocked the world. In a year when he was a legitimate possibility that he could start the year in AAA, he not only won the right field job but was an all star, Rookie of the Year and nearly the MVP.
The same argument can be made for Luis Severino who had a terrible 2016, and bounced back to finish 3rd in the Cy Young. Also not to be forgotten should be Chad Greene, who went from 6th or 7th starter to dominant middle-reliever thanks to a high spin-rate fastball.
Who will be this year’s breakout star
Expecting a “Judge year” from another young player is unrealistic, but there are several Yankees poised for their first big year.
Bird struggled out of the gate due to an injury suffered in Spring Training that required months to diagnose and surgery to repair. But 9 home runs in 147 at bats, as well as a strong postseason, mean Bird could be poised for the 30+ HR season that everyone has been waiting for.
Before Hicks suffered an injury, he was having a lights-out season. He wasn’t the same after returning from the DL but still put up 3.9 bWAR. A healthy season could mean .280 with 25 homers from the switch-hitting center-fielder.
Frazier saw limited playing time in 2017, but had a number of great moments including a walk-off home run against the Brewers. An injury to any of the three outfielders or in the DH spot could open the door for Frazier, who possesses a Mike Trout Lite tool set. 500 at bats could mean 20+ home runs from the young outfielder.