The 2018 New York Yankees are looking to begin their next dynasty. To do this, they’ll need someone who they can count on to lead them both on and off the field. The team that entered into 2017 with limited expectations and got all the way to within one win of the World Series has since exponentially increased their likelihood of winning it all.

But expectations in the Bronx are always high, aren’t they? Even more so with the addition of the NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to a young powerful core including superstar Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and if healthy Greg Bird.

The Bronx is always burning for another World Series title to add to the magic of the brand. But this young athletic core of stars seems really special. More so than any team since the inception of the core four in the ‘90s. With the heap of talent that General Manager Brian Cashman so impressively put together, bringing back memories of when Derek Jeter was leading the pinstripes, who is next in line to lead this team to the promised land of another title?

Aaron Judge

The most obvious person to come to mind is the phenomenal Rookie of the Year award winner Aaron Judge. Everyone knows about his light tower power, above average defense, great arm, and calculated off the field press conferences. He’s a humble superstar. To this point he hasn’t done much wrong. His talent, humility, and class has made him a larger than life(even more than his six-foot-seven frame does already) figure in New York. So, he would be the most logical choice right? Well not necessarily.

While he remains the catalyst for the offense. Judge has his struggles. Judge set a postseason record for strikeouts at the time during the 2017 postseason. However, when the Yankees were at their best the big man was doing serious damage at the plate. One other good thing about Judge is he still plays good defense while he slumps, as evidenced by him robbing a home run from Francisco Lindor in ALDS Game 3. Although Judge will be entering just his second full major league season in 2018 he definitely has the backing of his teammates. He is without a doubt the face of the franchise and will be for years to come, but that title is not always synonymous with being the leader of his peers. But if Judge can become more consistent there is a great chance he helps the Yankees swing the gavel down on the rest of baseball.

Didi Gregorius

Another name that comes to the forefront of minds during this discussion would be the former captain’s replacement, Sir Didi Gregorius. Who better to lead his peers than a knight? Gregorius had a breakout campaign in 2017 during both the regular and post seasons. He was perhaps the most clutch Yankee during their deep playoff run. Gregorius hit a game tying three-run home run in the AL Wild Card game, as well as two off of Corey Kluber in the same game during the division series. Gregorius has made a name for himself (as well as his teammates) via his post-game tweets as well as helping out with the “Toe-night Show” interviews in the dugouts. He is one of the biggest personalities in the locker room and most consistent producers on the field both offensively and defensively.  Seems like this knight has a pretty good shot at leading the Bronx kingdom back to royalty.

Greg Bird 

The last player who could be ready to take over this responsibility in the 2018 season is Greg Bird. Bird hasn’t played much of the last few seasons which is far and away the biggest drawback of any of the possible candidates. Bird however seems to have the ex-factor and demeanor one would look towards to be a great Yankee leader. He has even garnered comparisons to Don Mattingly last season by Alex Rodriguez. In the limited time we did see Bird in 2017, mainly in the postseason, he looked like nothing could phase him. He had some clutch moments as well including a decisive home run in ALDS Game 3 that shifted the series in New York’s favor. If Bird can stay healthy for a full season, he may just be the type of player to put the team on his back and fly them to the promise land.

Of the three players listed, the likeliest one to become the leader of this group of talented sluggers would be Greg Bird. This seems like the wild card pick but there seems to be an edge to Bird when he’s on the field. Obviously his health is a huge concern. You can’t lead if you can’t play. However if he stays healthy, he has one of the prettiest left-handed swings in all of baseball.

Honorable mentions: Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez.

Follow Daniel McNatt on Twitter: @danielmcnatt96 

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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