The Yankees are off to an incredible start this year with one of their best starts since the first of their ‘Three Peat’ back in 1998. Aaron Judge has been phenomenal for the New York outfit and is a shoo-in for MVP and he is getting a lot of support from his teammates out on the field. Nestor Cortes will surely make the All-Star game while Michael King and Clay Holmes are two of the best relievers in the American League right now. This is a stacked team full of great talent hitting their prime and the numbers back it up. Their 51 wins from their first 69 games is the third best start in franchise history and for a team like the Yankees with so much of it, that accomplishment should speak for itself. Having scored the most runs this season and conceded the fewest they are not only well on course to eclipse their tally of 92 wins last year, but well on course to take the overall wins record. They have exceeded all expectations but can they see it through and claim a first World Series crown for 13 years.
Aaron Judge leading the charge
The 30-year-old is in the form of his life and a big part of the reason why the Yankees are favourites to win it all this year according to these MLB betting sites. He is leading the league with 27 home runs and 58 runs scored in the Yankees’ 69 games so far this season. The outfielder also recorded his sixth multi-homer game of the season in a 5-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays, making him the only player in franchise history other than Babe Ruth to record six such games within the team’s first 70 games. He even followed it up with a walk-off hit against the Astros the following night as the Yankees maintained the pace in their all-time wins record chase. Whilst it is unlikely that Aaron Judge will hit the all-time record of 62 homers but it is not outside the realm of possibility which speaks volumes for just how good he has been thus far. With the Californian at the peak of his powers Yankees fans would’ve been over the moon at the news that Judge managed to settle on a $19 million deal to keep him at Yankee Stadium for the foreseeable future. He is arguably the hottest commodity in baseball right now and if the iconic franchise is to go all the way this year he will be leading the way.
Scintillating speed making a difference
It’s no surprise that the pitches come in quick when you have the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Gerrit Cole and Clay Holmes on your books but these speeds are unprecedented. They were quick from 2018 through to 2021 but the average 95.1mph velocity of their sinkers is the highest average speed recorded in the history of baseball. Only time will tell as to whether they can sustain it for the full season but if they can there are few teams in the league that will be able to cope with such ruthlessness. To add to that over 25% of their fastballs are reaching above 97mph, a bone-chilling statistic. With that comes a reduced average and slugging percentage that all comes together for an utterly lethal defensive package. It is no surprise that with pitchers on top of their game recording speeds such as this that they have conceded the fewest runs in all of baseball this term.
Infield defence drastically improved
Last year, the infield was a major issue for the Yankees and a big reason why they do not go deep into the post-season. They ranked 22nd in the league for turning grounders into outs, 25th in left-side infield outs above average and the 6th worst infield overall in 2021. But with a lot of resfuffling they have managed to turn their fortunes around. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has overcome a rough introduction to prove himself to be a pretty competent shortstop DJ Lemahieu, Josh Donaldson and Marwin Gonzalez have made third their own this year improving the position in the absence of Gio Urshela. While not everything has been perfect given Anthony Rizzo’s below par performance on the right side thus far and Gleyber Torres struggling at second base and shortstop, it still marks a significant improvement for the Yankees and one that has seen them go on a remarkable run.
History in the making but still a long way to go
Coming into the 2022 season the Yankees were undoubtedly contenders for the AL East Championship and even a World Series but they’re now on the verge of becoming one of the greatest teams in the wildcard era. The gap between the Yankees and their nearest competitors is equal to the gap between their nearest competitors and the eight placed team. They’re on track for a record 119-win season and whilst it is still unlikely, they already effectively have a postseason spot in the bag. The Mariners, Tigers and ‘98 Yankees are the only three teams to have started this well in the last 50 years. Their defensive capabilities are so great that if they’re three runs up on you the game is all but done. The statistics are truly mind-boggling, but before we roll out the red carpet for them it’s worth mentioning that of the 12 teams that have managed as many wins as the Yankees have from their first 69 games in MLB history, none have gone on to sustain that winning rate throughout the rest of the campaign. Even if they were to maintain a .624 winning percentage, the average of all of the dozen post the 69 game mark, they would end up with 109 wins in total. Whilst that would still be an extremely impressive regular season performance, it’s a telling reminder of how difficult the task they have is going to be but the Yankees are still in the conversation. What will ultimately define the success of the 2022 Yankees is a 28th World Series Championship and as things stand they are within touching distance of greatness.