Heading into this season, the New York Yankees looked like a team going through a bit of a rebuild.
With a plethora of young talent in their farm system, they appeared to be building towards success in a few years, but not now. They started bringing up some of their promising stars last year, but many thought that it wouldn’t be enough to contend this year.
However, the Yanks have busted out of the gate strong. Right now they are second in the AL East with a 10-5 record, and recently reeled off an eight-game win streak before losing to the White Sox on Tuesday.
Even more impressive is that they have accomplished this with injuries to key players. Shortstop Didi Gregorius has not played a game all season after suffering a shoulder strain during the World Baseball Classic. And catcher Gary Sanchez suffered a strained bicep about a week ago, although he recently started throwing again. So to have accomplished this without two of their star players has made their hot start even more surprising.
So, what exactly has been the catalyst for the hot start? First, there’s the pitching. The Yankees did not acquire a new starter in the offseason, leaving them with unproven talent behind the trio of Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda. If the Yankees were going to trip up this season, this would have been the likely reason. Instead, they have found success with their young pitchers, most notably Jordan Montgomery. In just his second start, he opened with six shutout innings to earn the win. If he and fellow youngster Luis Severino keep up their hot starts, the Yanks can continue to be a contender.
And then there’s the bullpen, which is almost on another level. The Yankees have one of the best set-up men in baseball in Dellin Betances, as well as one of the best closers in Aroldis Chapman. If they’re winning after seven innings, don’t expect their opponent to mount a comeback. Add middle relievers Adam Warren and Tyler Clippard into the mix, and you have one of the best bullpens in the game.
And let’s not forget about the piece that holds this Yankee team together: the offense. The Yankees added power to their lineup by signing Matt Holliday in the offseason, and with two homers and eight RBIs already, it’s cleat that the move is paying dividends. Another big bat in the lineup is Chase Headley, who is enjoying a great start after having an abysmal April last year, leading the team with a .409 batting average. And you can’t talk about the Yankees’ offense without mentioning Aaron Judge. The 6’7” slugger leads the team with four home runs, and most of them have been moonshots. As one of the faces of the future of this franchise, this is definitely exciting to see.
Overall, early returns point to a successful season for the Yanks. How successful remains to be seen, but if they keep up their hot start, the future might come sooner than expected in the Bronx.