I know it’s still early, literally and figuratively but good morning nonetheless, but what the New York Yankees have done thus far this season is nothing short of impressive regardless. The Yankees have been without Gary Sanchez for much of this run and have been without their starting shortstop Didi Gregorius for the entire season to date yet the team continues to battle, continues to put in the work and they flat out continue to win. Now while I am well aware of the fact that a division and pennant cannot be won in the month of April I am also keen to the fact that the division can be lost in this month, see 2016 as a great example of this, so I am excited to see what I am seeing. I am especially excited to see this since I pretty much predicted it before the season started when basically no one else did here in the Yankees blogosphere, I guess because it wasn’t the popular pick.
Honestly, and I am once again beating my own drum but I don’t mind it too much, I think the Yankees could be for real this season. Are they going to run away with the division? Not likely, but maybe, but I do think they will absolutely compete until the finals days of the season for one of the two Wild Cards. Again, I know that’s not saying much as teams with 80-something wins are in it until the end of the season but one must remember that this team wasn’t exactly built to win now. Sure they added Matt Holliday and Aroldis Chapman but they also traded away half their team last season and Brian McCann this winter all for prospects. This team was built to draw some fans to the yard and win some games that they probably shouldn’t have with that bullpen but I don’t think many, aside from myself, thought this team would be as successful as they have been. The best part is that the team actually has room to improve as well in 2017.
As I stated above the Yankees are doing this all without their best hitter in Gary Sanchez and a great hitter and defensive wizard in Didi Gregorius on the team. You would have to think that Ronald Torreyes’ bat would slow down sooner rather than later and when it does Didi will be there to step right in and pick up the slack. You also have to keep in mind that neither Austin Romine nor Kyle Higashioka are adding much to the team offensively meaning the middle of the Yankees order can and will produce more when Sanchez returns. That should scare American League pitching as New York is already beating up on pitchers on the regular right now.
Speaking of pitching the New York Yankees are also on this great run without much help from their best pitcher and ace Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka will be better, history suggests that and his stat line shows you that he almost has to get better. Once he gets better the rest of the starting rotation can stabilize and improve and the Yankees can keep moving forward. Imagine what the Yankees record would look like had Tanaka been pitching like the Tanaka of old in his starts this season. They’d be in first place and beginning to run away with things already. Tanaka has seemingly found arm strength and velocity that he hasn’t had in recent years suggesting his elbow is healthier than it has ever been but has left him with a bit of an adjustment period. He will figure it out and he will be back to winning 15-20 games this season with an incredible offense and defense behind him.
Aaron Judge is on pace to hit 50 home runs this season and Aaron Hicks isn’t far behind him as he is on pace to hit around 30 this season as well. Will both Aaron’s reach those numbers? Not likely but I think the Yankees would be happy with around half that production from both men so that’s exciting when thinking about the state of the Yankees outfield.
New York has also been absolutely terrible with runners in scoring position this season. So many #RISPFails thus far and that has to improve. When it does, mixed in with the fact that almost every player on the team can hit a home run at any given time once Sanchez and Didi are back in the fold, this offense has the ability to really put up some gaudy numbers. Mix that with a pitching staff and bullpen that have been absolutely dominant aside from Tanaka and this Yankees teams has all the parts to be something special. And if they are missing a part to make the team special they have a loaded farm system that they can utilize to go get what they need to be special.
The Yankees are the underdogs of Major League Baseball in 2017 but I have a feeling if they keep playing the way they have thus far that they won’t be for long. They may be shocking you guys but I can’t say that they are shocking me, I had them doing this all along.
Go Yankees! Keep it up.