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Benchmarking the 2017 Yankees through 130 games

The Yankees sit at 70-60 after 130 games, exactly 10 games over .500. The team has been as high as 15 games over .500 on June 12th, and as low as 3 games under .500 on April 8th.

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All things considered, they’ve been fairly consistent. Would you have been happy with this position at the start of the season? My guess is yes. The heightened expectations when the team went through their hot streak, culminating on June 12, were a little unrealistic in hindsight. If we remember back to expectations most had at the beginning of the season, many people probably would have jumped at a Wild Card lead and only 4 game deficit in the division through 130 games.

The Yankees have made the playoffs only one time in the last 4 seasons — losing to the Houston Astros in the 2015 Wild Card game. What’s interesting though is that this team will probably fall roughly within the records of those past 4 teams, which finished with 85, 84, 87, and 84 wins.

So where were those Yankees teams at this point in the season? Is the current team at risk of missing the playoffs like in years past? Here’s the record of each of those teams after 130 games and how they finished.

2013: 69-61, finished 85-77
2014: 68-62, finished 84-78
2015: 72-58, finished 87-75 (Wild Card)
2016: 67-63, finished 84-78

The 2017 Yankees have a slight jump on the teams that missed the playoffs and are just behind the 2015 team that made the playoffs. The good news is this current team is definitely better than most, if not all of those past teams. They’ve already scored 678 runs, where the three teams that missed the playoffs scored no more than 680 in an entire season. The 2015 team scored 764 runs.

It seems probable the Yankees will make the playoffs. They have an outside shot at the division with a big series this weekend against the Red Sox. They also control their destiny with a number of games against other Wild Card contenders. Also, the team continues to receive boosts: Starlin Castro and Greg Bird are back, and Matt Holliday could be activated on Friday. Not to mention a number of younger players will be called up on September 1st.

Every season is different, but based on the past 4 seasons, the Yankees are in good shape to at least make a Wild Card spot. But hey, maybe they’ll turn it back on and do more than that.