Yankees' best-case and worst-case scenarios for 2024

The highs are high, but the possible lows...?

Mar 3, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA;  New York Yankees left fielder Juan Soto (22) runs the bases after
Mar 3, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Juan Soto (22) runs the bases after / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Yankee fans have a preternatural tendency to assume their team will contend for, and probably win, the World Series. Giving them Juan Soto, even on a short-term rental, feeds that assumption. Any analysis of Yankee chances for 2024 has to begin by understanding that mindset.

Yankees' Best-Case Scenario for 2024

Clearly the Yankees have enough talent to make World Series dreams plausible. Begin with Gerrit Cole, the game’s best pitcher right now. In 2023, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was 15-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 33 starts encompassing 209 innings of work.

The offense begins with the outfield sluggers, Soto and Aaron Judge. In two-thirds of a season, Judge hit 37 home runs with 75 RBI. Soto, who played all 162 for San Diego, hit 35 homers with 109 RBI. Gleyber Torres produced an .800 OPS, better than anybody on the team except Judge. The Yanks also added Alex Verdugo, joining a supporting cast that includes veterans of the stripe of Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu.

Stanton’s is the key name here. All the reports out of camp are that he’s in the best shape of his life and ready to deliver as he did as recently as 2021, when he produced an .870 OPS. That level of Stanton would be a capital boost for the Yankees.

Beyond Cole, the Yanks plan to use a buffet of veteran starters who’ve done it … sometimes. Marcus Stroman was great for half a season with the Cubs last year, Carlos Rodón was sensational with the Giants in 2022, and Nestor Cortes was nasty as a Yankee starter, also in 2022.

If it all works – particularly if Stanton, Stroman, Cortes and Rodón all return to previous form – then yes, this Yankee team can make dreams come true. That’s not to say the Yanks are better than the Orioles – they’re not – but they’re good enough to snag a wild card spot. And, as has been frequently demonstrated from there, anything’s possible.