Let’s rewind back to March when “experts” jumped the gun and wrote off this Yankee team. In what was almost certainly supposed to be a rebuilding season, there was hardly any expectation surrounding this Yanks squad.
With questions looming about the depth of the rotation and what kind of offensive output we would see from the lineup—it made it difficult to blame the non-believers. Yet here they are preparing for October baseball, way ahead of schedule.
While the fight for the AL East most likely ended this past weekend, this team put forth a valiant effort to compete the whole year. The Yankees are 16-7 thus far in the month of September and the Red Sox were still able to fend them off. Going 15-7 this month, Boston has extended the lead in the division from 3 to 4. With just 6 games left on the Yankees’ schedule, it’s looking like hosting the wild card game in the Bronx next Tuesday is a virtual lock.
All in all, this season has been turbulent, exciting, and frustrating—but most importantly, successful. A young core impelled this team to trounce pre-season expectations, and they’re chomping at the bit to go out there and compete in October.
Without further adieu, let’s get into some numbers on how they’ve got it done in 2017.
Luis Severino’s resurgence
After posting a 2.89ERA in 11 starts back in 2015, a 21-year-old Sev was all the hype. The next year, however, was none of the same.
Going 3-8 with a 5.83ERA, his 2016 campaign featured a bus trip back to triple-A Scranton. Determined to bounce back, Severino worked his tail off in the offseason and made some key adjustments.
“Last year, I wasn’t commanding any of my pitches… I wasn’t throwing my changeup. This year, I’m trying not to overthrow and locate my fastball and my breaking stuff,” said Severino.
What a year it has been for the 23-year-old right-hander. In 30 starts this season, Sevy’s stat line displays why he has emerged as the ace of this staff:
13-6, 187.1IP, 146H, 63ER, 50BB, 221Ks, 3.03ERA
It’s safe to say Luis Severino has been a major component of why this 2017 Yankees’ team has been successful. A tenacious competitor who never backs away from the challenge, Sevy is the guy you can be confident in when the wild card game rolls around next Tuesday.
Here comes The Judge
ALL RISE. What a year it has been for Aaron James Judge, who hit his 49th and 50th dingers yesterday to pass Mark McGwire for the most as a rookie in baseball history.
With a first half for the ages, it’s no wonder Judge has the lead—or is pretty damn close to it in most AL offensive statistics.
124 runs (1st), 7.3 WAR (2nd), 50HR (1st), 108 RBI (3rd), .416 OBP (2nd), .610 SLG (2nd), 1.026 OPS (2nd), .422 wOBA (2nd)
These gaudy numbers are despite the longest strikeout streak in a single-season, which lasted 37 games. Hitting just .179 from the All-star break until August 31st, Judge has his swagger back in the month of September.
In 22 games this month, he’s 23 for 75 (.307/.436/.831) with 5 2Bs, 13HR, 26RBI, and 25 runs scored. Belting 3 homers this weekend in Toronto, and 5 in his last 4 games–it looks as if The Judge is heating up at the exact right time.
As a tandem, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge have combined for a .283 average with 41 2B, 83HR, and 197 RBI. A modest 2-3 punch.
Chad Green’s domination
For a bullpen that has surrendered 23 blown saves, the most consistent guy has far and away been Chad Green. His numbers this year have been absolutely ridiculous:
5-0, 67.1IP, 33H, 14ER, 17BB, 102Ks, 1.90ERA
102 strikeouts in 67.1 innings pitched is just absurd. With Dellin Betances struggling recently, Joe will most likely call on Chad Green before him in a big spot. As far as comparisons go, Green is in the upper echelon of relievers this season in the AL:
41.9 K% (2nd), 0.72 WHIP (2nd), 13.71 K/9 (3rd), 84.9% LOB (6th)
There’s a new Mr. Clutch in town
You can’t say enough about how much Didi Gregorious has progressed as a player. Didi has been the guy all year long. From a middle of the pack shortstop in his first two years in pinstripes, he has emerged as a top 5 shortstop in the American League—despite missing almost all of April:
25HR (2nd), .485 SLG (3rd), 87 RBI (3rd), .287 AVG (4th), .338 wOBA (4th), 10.6 DEF (4th), .805 OPS (4th), 3.7 WAR (5th)
His 162-game pace had he not missed time would be 31HR and 106RBI.
Didi’s launch angle as a Yankee:
’15: 10.3° (9HR)
’16: 13.5° (20HR)
’17: 17.1° (25HR… and counting) pic.twitter.com/CVfO6sOgXJ
After passing Jeter for the single-season franchise home run record for a shortstop, Didi has cemented himself as a perennial player and a viable replacement for one of the greatest. Talk about having the clutch gene: Didi leads the team with RISP (min 50 ABs): 43 for 139 (.309/.496/.823) 8 2Bs, 6HR, 59RBI
Don’t be surprised if you happen to see him come through yet again as we flip the calendar to the most important month of them all—October.