The Yankees are sure to hit a lot of home runs in 2018, considering they added NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to a team that led the majors with 241 long-balls in 2017.
Many are pegging the Yankees as World Series favorites, along with the Astros, and rightfully so; both have lethal offenses, strong rotations, and the Yankees have perhaps the best bullpen in the game. In addition, the Yankees have a plethora of young, quality prospects ready to make an impact in the near future.
Given the dimensions of Yankee Stadium, most notably in right field, it’s easy to see why the team tends to hit many home runs. But how has that stat correlated with their success?
Since moving across the street to their current home back in 2009, the Yankees have averaged approximately 204 home runs per season and over that time; their average MLB rank for the category was seventh.
As the graph above indicates, it seems as if the number of home runs the Yankees hit has pretty strongly correlated with the team’s success, and it appears we could see a similar trend in 2018.
The average on-base percentage (OBP) across MLB in 2017 was .324. Of the players expected to regularly be in the lineup, Aaron Judge (.422), Aaron Hicks (.372), Brett Gardner (.350), Gary Sanchez (.345), and Stanton (.376) all mustered OBP above the average mark. This shows that long-ball aside, these players find ways to get on base. It seems likely that with the depth of the lineup, either the heart of the order will get more pitches to hit or they will be pitched around, in which case guys will take their walks. All of the aforementioned players except Sanchez were in the top 100 in the MLB in walks in 2017.
A high OBP and many home runs will be a deadly combination for opposing teams. While living and dying by the long-ball is not typically the optimal formula, especially in the postseason, some overlook the fact that this lineup will have diversified talents.
In addition to the noted OBP, players such as Gardner and Hicks can provide plus-speed. Furthermore, even the Bombers in the middle of the lineup, namely Sanchez, Stanton, and Judge, all have the ability to hit for a relatively high average, hitting .278, .281, and .284, respectively. Didi Gregorius also hit .287, and looks to be improving with each passing year.
Power is going to be at the forefront of people’s minds when they think about the 2018 Yankees. While that has translated into success in recent memory, this offense has the ability to beat opposing teams in a multitude of ways. But the home runs sure look promising.