By Moose Jr.,
As of May 9th, The New York Yankees are in first place in the American League East with a record of twenty-one wins and only nine losses. The reason for the turnaround from the disappointing 2016 season (84 wins and 78 losses, missing playoffs and finishing 4th in the division) isn’t hard to figure out. In the first thirty games of the season, the bombers have scored a whopping 177 runs and walloped 50 round-trippers (home runs), both tops in the American League.
Let’s face it Yankee fans have been spoiled. They have been treated to an amazing 40 American League Pennants and 27 World Series Championships in the last 115 years. They are getting impatient with their team because they have only one World Series Championship (in 2009) since 2001.
Yankee detractors contend that every with their enormous wealth and fan base, they buy a championship every year paying for high-priced free agents, plucking them from less wealthy teams who can not compete. From 2009 t0 2013 the Yankees had the highest payroll in Baseball and 2014 to the present have had the second highest payroll, only exceeded by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
So why only one title since 2009? Could the reason be that of the 353 players the Yanks drafted since the 2009 title, only three players are on their current active roster (Aaron Judge drafted in 2013,Greg Bird in 2012 and Jordan Montgomery in 2014)?
When a team signs expensive and older veteran free agents, younger and up-and-coming future stars are not developed. The team suffers in the playoffs because those older veteran bodies break down by the time playoffs roll around and other younger team’s players are more resilient to the grind of a long 162 game, seven month long season, especially in the cold fall temperatures of October in the playoffs.
So why are the Yankees hot now? The answer is simple. They are much younger. Arguably the Yankees top eight players are all under 30 years old and so are 17 of the 25 players on their roster! Wanna bet most of them will around for the playoffs in October!
Their four top pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka is 28, Michael Pineda is 28, Aroldis Chapman is 29 and Dellin Betances is also 29. Their four top hitters: Right fielder Aaron Judge is only 24, Second Baseman Starlin Castro is 27, Catcher Gary Sanchez is 25 and Shortstop Didi Gregorius is 27 years old.
These guys are excellent athletes and have championship caliber abilities. Aaron Judge has a tremendous upside. Blessed with an incredible body (six foot seven, two hundred and eighty-two pounds), Judge is hitting the longest homeruns in Yankee Stadium since Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle and, despite his size, can run, too. Castro and Gregorius are among the best double play combinations in baseball and both have extra-base power. Catcher Gary Sanchez has a rocket for an arm and last year hit twenty homers in only two hundred and one at-bats last year. Wow!
The pitchers are no less impressive with Matsahiro Tanaka the ace of the staff. His stuff and control are good enough to win game seven in the World Series. Pineda is a hard thrower who at times is unhittable. The Yanks have the best pair of relief pitchers in Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances. Chapman may be the hardest thrower in Baseball history routinely throwing over 100 miles per hour and has been clocked at 105 mph (the Guinness World Record for the fastest pitch ever thrown). Six Foot Eight inch tall Dellin Betances, in his first 10 games in relief this year, has an Earned Run Average of 0.84 with 19 strikeouts in only 10 innings. The league is hitting an anemic .139 against him so far. Imagine facing those two pitchers at the end of the game with a Yankees lead. Game over!
It’s probably to early to call, but the 2017 Baseball season might end with the New York Yankees bringing home their 28th World Series Championship home to their beloved fans! Go Yanks!