Chris Russo of MLB Network’s show ‘High Heat’ is already crowning the New York Yankees the class of the 2018 American League.
While it’s no surprise that the New Yorker is already leaning heavily towards the team whose TV network used to broadcast his radio show live every day.
However, current Houston Astro starter Justin Verlander didn’t necessarily agree with ‘Mad Dogs’ comments, quoting the tweeted video Tuesday afternoon.
Here’s the video
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 13, 2018
Now, is Russo crazy for suggesting that the Yankees, who added Giancarlo Stanton this off-season after winning 91 games in 2017, are the class of the American League? No, he’s not, but he’s still wrong. Houston won 101 games, had a dominating rotation last season, and all they did was add to by acquiring Gerrit Cole from the Pirates.
Sure, the Yankees bullpen might be the best in all of baseball, and a lineup comprised of Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez is bound to smack some long balls in Yankee Stadium. But show some respect, the Astros just won the World Series and did nothing but get better this offseason.
For what it’s worth, Fangraphs Steamers projections have the Astros winning 98 games this season, a full seven games better than the Yankees who come in at 91 wins. In terms of WAR, the Astros are being projected at 52.1 for 2018, whereas the Yankees are at 46.8.
Simply put, the Yankees got better, but they still have a lot to prove and honestly might not even be the best team in their division this year. The Yankees rotation doesn’t even come close to Verlander and the Astros, so until then Russo can talk all he wants, Verlander will just focus on getting another ring.