Andrew McKiernan takes a look at the Yankees’ performances so far and considers their chances of success this season as the games come thick and fast.
Let’s take a step back through the months for a moment. It’s early March, the MLB is only a few days away from announcing the cancellation of the remaining Spring Training games and postponement of the 2020 season, and the Yankees’ IR is about as long as Tolstoy’s first draft of War and Peace. In a way, the move to a 60 game season beginning in July was the best thing that could have happened to the Yankees, reflected by their red hot start since the mid-summer Opening Day.
One of the clear favorites in the league to win the World Series with a healthy roster, the Bombers proved why Vegas ranks them as such from the gate, winning 8 of their first 10 games.
And even though they may have taken their foot off the gas ever so slightly, Aaron Boone’s squad is still a force to be reckoned with. At 11-6, they sit atop the AL East with the fourth highest winning percentage in the MLB behind the Cubs, Rockies, and A’s.
The question is, does the roster have the depth to keep up this streak and make a serious run in the playoffs? With the news of Stanton’s injury sidelining him for about a month, and Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres holding the second and third worst batting averages on the team, respectively, will the team be able to continue winning? The answer is yes.
Boone has shown once again the strength he can put on display anywhere on the roster. When a Yankees star underperforms, it doesn’t take long before another in pinstripes steps in and fills the gap. This year, those performances can be found in DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela. The two infielders have been outperforming any expectations that may have been placed on them before the season started, DJ boasting an incredible .400 average through 60 at-bats while Urshela sits just below .300 with 13 RBIs, the second most on the team.
The only player with more RBIs than Urshela is, you guessed it, the reincarnation of 2017 Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but Judge is having himself a record book season start, leading the roster in HRs, SLG, and OPS out of eligible players. His bat will likely be the key factor in the Yankees’ World Series hopes come post season, which it looks almost certain that the Bombers will make.
Even with the signing of Gerrit Cole in the offseason, the Yankees pitching staff had holes at the beginning of this year–Luis Severino missing the season for Tommy John and Domingo German suspended for the regular season. Despite the setbacks though, the rotation has been solid for the majority of the season to date. Cole has started 3-0, looking dominant as ever while striking out 26 and holding opponents to a .195 batting average.
The future only looks brighter, as the bullpen is set to see the return of Aroldis Chapman after facing live batters at the Yankees Alternate Training Site in Scranton on August 11th. Not to mention that German’s suspension only runs until the end of the regular season, and he will be available to the Yankees come the postseason so long as they make it.
If there’s one thing that can be said about this Yankees team, it’s that Aaron Boone has them synching on every level. Coming off of two straight 100-win seasons, Boone is hungry to finally propel this team to the height he knows they can achieve. Both the AL and the NL should be careful come the playoffs, because there isn’t a baseball team in the country that this Yankees Squad can’t compete with.