Top Notes From the New York Yankees ZiPS Projections for 2024

The Yankees are looking to right the ship after a disappointing season. What does ZiPS have to say about the roster they've put together?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 22: Aaron Judge #99 and Anthony Rizzo #48 of the New York Yankees react after the first out was recorded against the Houston Astros during the second inning in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 22, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

If Major League Baseball was like the National Basketball Association, the New York Yankees would likely be World Series favorites by virtue of adding four-time Silver Slugger Award winner Juan Soto in a trade this offseason with the San Diego Padres. Soto, former AL MVP Aaron Judge and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole are arguably the top big three in the sport today.

The problem is, this isn’t a team like the 2009 Yankees — the last iteration of the Bronx Bombers to reach and win the World Series — that has insane depth beyond their big three, which is necessary in baseball. Sure, the 2009 Yankees had Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and CC Sabathia. They also employed Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Canó, Jorge Posada, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett to form one of the deepest and most star-studded teams in modern MLB history.

Many projection systems have serious questions about whether key pieces in the Yankees lineup and starting rotation will be able to repeat their prior successes. Among those is ZiPS, often relied upon as the top preseason projection model.

For those unfamiliar, offers this synopsis of what ZiPS aims to do:

Ad – content continues below

“The system uses statistics from the previous four years for players from ages 24-38, and it weights more recent seasons heavier. For younger or older players, it uses weighted statistics from only the previous three years. The system also factors velocities, injury data and play-by-play data into its equations.”

sZymborski Projection System (ZiPS)”

Sound interesting? Let’s do a deep dive on the 2024 Yankees ZiPS projections.

Yankees ZiPS: Key Position Player Takeaways

  • Soto projects to have a monster first season — and contract year — with the Yankees. ZiPS believes he’ll hit 33 home runs, drive in 102 runs, walk 134 times and post 5.9 WAR in 2024. With those numbers, he would be the most productive player in the American League.
  • Judge will be hard-pressed to ever top his historic 2022 AL MVP season, but his age-32 campaign is projected to be a strong one nonetheless. The system has him homering 35 times and posting a .907 OPS in 2024. Mind you, the system has projected that Judge — who has, at times, struggled with his availability — will put these numbers up despite playing in only 123 games. If Judge can stay healthy all year, ZiPS has him beating out his new teammate for the AL lead in WAR.
  • Gleyber Torres, like Soto, is entering a contract year. The 27-year-old second baseman is going to hit 24 home runs with 79 RBIs and 3.5 WAR in 2024, in the estimation of ZiPS. If he meets those expectations, this would be his most productive season since his All-Star campaign in 2019. Given his youth, that kind of performance should put him in line for a hefty raise in free agency.
  • One player that ZiPS isn’t high on is Anthony Rizzo. The three-time All-Star has recovered from his concussion, which was seemingly a key factor in him posting a meager .457 OPS in 15 games after the All-Star Break last year before he was shut down. A major rebound isn’t in store for the 34-year-old, though, according to ZiPS. The system projects that Rizzo will play just 99 games in 2024. While his projected .731 OPS would be respectable enough, the Yankees would need someone else at first base for 63 games in 2024.
  • Also in the 99-games club is Giancarlo Stanton, who ZiPS believes will play in fewer than 115 games for the third consecutive season. The system still respects Stanton’s power ability, believing he’ll hit 20 home runs and drive in 57 runs this season. But Stanton is extremely limited defensively and as a baserunner at this stage of his career; to contribute for the Yankees, he needs to do better than his 89 wRC+ from last year. The former NL MVP projects to improve upon the -0.8 WAR he posted in 101 games in 2023, but he’s no longer a star.
  • DJ LeMahieu comes with fewer injury concerns than Rizzo or Stanton, but ZiPS also believes the two-time batting champion is past the height of his powers. Between 2015 and 2020, LeMahieu hit .316 with an .830 OPS for the Colorado Rockies and Yankees. He has hit a much more modest .258 with a .720 OPS in the three years since. ZiPS projects that in his age-35 campaign, DJLM will hit .248 with a .675 OPS in 110 games.
  • In his second MLB season, Anthony Volpe projects to slash .229/.307/.413 with 20 home runs, 78 RBIs, 23 stolen bases and 3.1 WAR across 148 games. The Yankees will hope he takes a bigger step forward with the bat, but his strong defense at shortstop means he should be a valuable contributor no matter what.

Yankees ZiPS: Key Pitching Staff Takeaways

Starting Pitchers

  • After twice finishing as the runner-up for the honor, Gerrit Cole finally won his first AL Cy Young Award last season. ZiPS believes he’ll have another solid campaign, but not one that would make him a serious threat to win the Cy Young for a second year in a row. Now 33, Cole projects to go 11-8 with a 3.53 ERA, 3.78 FIP and 3.5 WAR over 186.1 innings in 2024.
  • Carlos Rodón will bounce back in a relative sense, per ZiPS, but won’t return to the form that earned him a six-year, $162 million deal last offseason. Rodón is projected to go 9-7 with a 3.86 ERA, 3.70 FIP and 2.4 WAR over 114.1 innings. There’s value in that, but those numbers wouldn’t make him a legitimate No. 2 to pair with Cole.
  • The ZiPS projection on Nestor Cortes is interesting. The system doesn’t believe he’s going to recapture the All-Star form he showed in 2022 but has him projected for a 3.86 ERA, 3.98 FIP and 2.0 WAR. However, that would come over just 102.2 innings. If Cortes can remain healthy and effective over a full season, his value will increase tremendously.
  • Marcus Stroman inked a two-year, $37 million free-agent deal with the Yankees in mid-January. ZiPS sees him more as rotation depth than a short-series postseason starter. The two-time All-Star is projected to go 10-8 with a 4.04 ERA and 4.31 FIP over 138 innings. Those numbers would make him the No. 4 starter in the rotation, behind Cole, Rodón, and Cortes but ahead of Clarke Schmidt.

Relief Pitchers

  • ZiPS projects some regression for closer Clay Holmes, who recorded 24 saves with a 2.86 ERA and 1.5 WAR in a career year for the Yankees in 2023. In 2024, Holmes is projected to post a career-high 31 saves but with much more pedestrian marks in terms of ERA (3.84) and WAR (0.4) than he put up the previous season.
  • Jonathan Loáisiga will be one of the primary set-up men for Aaron Boone, and ZiPS believes he’ll post a 3.68 ERA over 42 games. The long-time Yankees pitcher will reach free agency following the season. Not yet 30 years old, he could earn himself a nice deal with a solid and healthy 2024 campaign.
  • There’s lots to like in the Yankees’ bullpen when you also consider arms like Tommy Kahnle, Caleb Ferguson and Ian Hamilton. Still, this bullpen feels a star closer away from being a World Series-caliber group.

Yankees ZiPS: Closing Thoughts

  • It’s hard to know exactly how Blake Snell and/or Josh Hader — both of whom have had tremendous success pitching in small markets — would react to playing in the most pressure-filled market in the sport. But how much better would the Yankees rotation and/or bullpen look on paper if they had signed one of those two this offseason? ZiPS projects a 3.37 ERA and 3.1 WAR for Snell; for Hader, the system foresees a 3.09 ERA and 31 saves.
  • If Cole has another solid year, he’ll probably trigger the opt-out clause in his contract next offseason. However, the Yankees could prevent that outcome by adding an extra year worth $36 million onto the end of his current deal. If Cole reaches his 50th percentile ZiPS projections, that’s likely to be what happens.
  • Soto was born to hit in Yankee Stadium. Although his ZiPS numbers are impressive, the projections on his power output — specifically that he will hit 33 home runs — actually seem pretty conservative.
  • Brian Cashman trading for Stanton after his 2017 MVP season with the Marlins might go down as one of the most short-sighted moves in MLB history. There were already a few injury-riddled seasons on his resume and legitimate questions about how he would age. Now, the Yankees are stuck paying most of his $118 million salary over the next four years (the Marlins are still on the hook for some of it). Had they just waited a season, New York could have had either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado in free agency.
  • While the Los Angeles Dodgers might have something to say about it, the Yankees probably have the best trio of stars headlining their organization in Cole, Judge and Soto. But there are just too many questions outside of those three to feel like the Yankees are one of the five best teams in baseball right now, even if they feel fairly likely to be a playoff team.
  • In terms of projected standings, ZiPS believes that the Yankees will go 88-74, the same mark as the Toronto Blue Jays. Both would finish behind the 90-72 Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. However, the Yankees and Blue Jays would each earn Wild Card spots in the Junior Circuit under the ZiPS median standings projections.