TAMPA, FL - MARCH 11: Masahiro Tanaka of New York Yankees pitches during the spring training game between New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 11, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
It’s no secret the Yankees have impressed Major League Baseball by going a league-best 18-6 this spring, but their record is not the only category in which they are leading. Both the pitching staff and the young hitters have been tearing up the stat sheet this spring.
Yankees pitchers have combined to lead the Majors with a 3.54 earned run average and 1.13 WHIP. They have also held opponents to a .209 batting average, which is the best in baseball. The Tampa Bay Rays are second behind New York with a .244 opponents batting average.
Leading the staff is ace Masahiro Tanaka who has been untouchable this spring; he has yet to allow a run in 13.1 innings. The 13.1 innings is the most by any pitcher who has not allowed a run this spring. Overall, the 28-year-old has given up three hits while striking out 19 and walking two.
On the offensive side, the power has been on display throughout the organization as the team is second in the Majors with 35 home runs. They also lead the Grapefruit League with 143 runs and an OPS of .827.
Leading the team offensively are two of their younger players in catcher Gary Sanchez and first baseman Greg Bird. Both have hit four home runs each this spring, which is good for ninth best in baseball. Bird, coming off a shoulder injury that forced him to miss all of 2016, is not missing a beat this spring as he leads the majors in extra-base hits with 11. He has six doubles, one triple and the four home runs. Bird is hitting .421 and has an OPS of 1.447. Sanchez, on the other hand, is hitting .361 and has an OPS of 1.188.
Bird and Sanchez are expected to be major cogs in the middle of the lineup this year.
The Yankees are also getting good production from some of their top prospects. Shortstop Gleyber Torres is hitting .464 with two home runs and nine RBIs. Outfielder Clint Frazier is hitting .324 with seven RBIs and three stolen bases. Pitcher Chance Adams has also impressed by recording five strikeouts in 4.0 innings. Top pitching prospect James Kaprielian threw two scoreless innings and struck out three in his only spring training action of 2017.
The Yankees are hoping that this success can translate into the regular season which kicks off April 2 at Tampa Bay.