New York Yankees: Who will lead the team in home runs in 2018?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Aaron Judge
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Aaron Judge /
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New York Yankees
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 18: Greg Bird /

Everyone not named Judge, Stanton or Sanchez

Sure, the big three can easily smash 40 dingers out of the park, but there are still other guys on the roster. Granted, injuries happen, which could allow one of the other New York Yankees crack the top two in home runs on the team.

Clearly, there will be some guys that, barring some steroid injections and corked bats, won’t crack even 20 home runs. Sorry, Ronald Torreyes.

That being said, a high percentage of players on the squad can go on hot streaks. Gardner, at 34 years old, set a career-high in home runs last season with 21. But the list of players that could sit atop the list boils down to three – Gregorius, Bird, and Hicks.

Gregorius was arguably the team’s most improved hitter in 2017. His development as a middle-of-the-lineup guy proved to be crucial, especially in the Wild Card matchup.

But fans may deem his 25 home runs from last season a fluke. At least 10 of those hits were considered “just enoughs” on ESPN’s home run tracker. And nearly half of them – 12 to be exact – didn’t reach 370 feet. Don’t blame the home stadium though, as only five of the 12 were hit at home.

The shortstop does have the potential to surpass the 30-homer mark because he’s become a pure hitter. His home-run per fly ball rate was a career-high this past year at 11.8 percent. And he hit more fly balls than anything else this season.

Gregorius may be no match for Hicks, though, who 15 home runs in 301 at-bats, which was 230 fewer at-bats than the middle infielder. But if Hicks hits as well as he did in the second half of last season, he may not even reach 10 dingers.

Stanton’s addition to the New York Yankees means Hicks may not see playing time every day, either, depending on the designated hitter situation. Very few of his home runs were considered lucky or barely reached the seats.

Thus, he could have an opportunity to see 30 home runs come off his bat, if he plays like the Aaron Hicks in the first half of 2017. Time will tell whether his season at the dish was a fluke or not.

Bird is the ultimate wild card. He flashed his brilliance and what seemed like unlimited power in Spring Training. Yet, he didn’t have many opportunities to send balls into left field during the regular season thanks to injuries.

Considering that Bird has just 348 career at-bats under his belt, fans may be skeptical. But some analysts are on the Bird bus, claiming he will be one of the more productive first basemen in the league.

If he can hit the ball, it will go far. Yet, one of the most significant improvements the New York Yankees need from Bird is his contact ability. He’s hitting .227 in his regular season career, but nearly a third of his hits are round-trippers.

If the 25-year-old pans out well, he could ultimately find himself the team’s leaderboard in home runs.