Ranking the Top 5 Yankees stories of 2020

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Scott Thompson
·5 min read
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Top 5 Yankees stories of 2020 treated image
Top 5 Yankees stories of 2020 treated image

We're counting down all of the major storylines for the New York teams in 2020. Here's a look at the Yankees' list...

5. Gerrit Cole is Yankees’ bonafide ace

When he signed his megadeal at the end of 2019, Yankees fans rejoiced because Brian Cashman had landed the biggest fish in the free agency pond. And it was desperately needed due to the Yanks not really having a true ace on their pitching staff.

Still, there were some skeptics that didn’t know how Cole would fare in New York. But, even though there weren’t any screaming fans in the seats at Yankee Stadium this season, it looks like he’ll be doing just fine in the Bronx for years to come.

Cole owned a 2.84 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over his 12 regular season starts this year, finishing with a 7-3 overall record. His home run total was a little high, but more times than not, Cole was getting swings and misses with his power pitching. More importantly, he was solid in the postseason, securing a 2.88 ERA between his three starts in the Wild Card Round and Division Series.

4. Luis Severino undergoes Tommy John surgery

Cole and Severino were supposed to be the Yankees’ 1-2 punch heading into the season. Until the latter had to go down with what ended up being a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm.

Tommy John surgery was the way Severino had to go, and he’s been rehabbing ever since. It was a big hit for the Yankees’ rotation especially considering James Paxton wasn’t healthy himself after needing surgery to remove a cyst from his back.

And looking back at the postseason, Sevy was truly missed, as our next point will prove…

3. More playoff failure, including the Game 2 pitching debacle

The Yankees, once again, were clear favorites to make an appearance in the World Series out of the American League. But they ended up falling short to none other than their “little brother” in the AL East – the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was almost déjà vu how it occurred, with Aroldis Chapman allowing yet another game-winning homer, this time to Mike Brosseau in the bottom of the eighth in Game 5 of the ALDS. With the Yanks failing to get a run across in the top half of the ninth, their dreams were shattered in the shortened season and the Rays would end up going all the way to the World Series, only to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But what might have been an even bigger story in that series was the call by manager Aaron Boone to surprisingly pull Deivi Garcia after just one inning in Game 2 to have J.A. Happ come out of the bullpen. Happ said it himself that he told the team he was more comfortable being a normal starter, but the “trick” pulled on the Rays didn’t work out.

The Yankees had all the momentum after a statement-making Game 1 victory, but the Rays took Game 2 and eventually rocked Masahiro Tanaka in Game 3 to take the always-commanding 2-1 lead in a five-game set. Overall, it was another disappointment and that move by Boone will go down as one of his most mind-boggling ones.

2. Luke Voit crowned HR champ, DJ LeMahieu wins batting title

During the regular season, it was clear that LeMahieu was back to his contact-hitting ways. His smooth hitting stroke was making an impact, and he was clearly a favorite to win the overall batting title over the 60 games.

But what people didn’t see coming was Voit -- of all the power hitters on the Yankees -- winning the home run title with 22 dingers on the season. He got red hot, and honestly, it helps that teams were more willing to pitch to him instead of Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton. Voit took advantage of that, but even when those two were injured, he still stepped up for the Yankees. Cashman’s trade with the Cardinals looks even better after that power surge.

LeMahieu, though, just continued to rack up hits and solidify himself as the catalyst on the squad. Yankee fans also continue to hope that 2021 will start with him re-signing long-term with the Bombers.

1. Derek Jeter voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

This doesn’t feel like a 2020 moment because Jeter wasn’t officially inducted due to the coronavirus pandemic. But “The Captain” was one vote shy of being another unanimous inductee next to former teammate Mariano Rivera.

But, of course, this vote was a given the second Jeter’s name hit the ballot. Between being the Yankees’ overall leader in hits and all the iconic moments throughout a 20-year career, Jeter is the epitome of a Hall of Famer and anyone who watched the game knew the second that he raised his cap to the fans for the final time that his bust would be sculpted a few years down the road.

Jeter will get his ceremony on July 25, 2021, along with the 2021 Hall of Fame class.

Honorable Mentions: Gary Sanchez loses job after terrible slump, Clint Frazier proves to be starting caliber, Yankees' young arms show out in MLB debuts