Obviously, it’s early in the season, so anything can happen during the 162-game grind. However, the Yankees are playing some of their best baseball yet.
They’re hitting, they’re pitching well and the bullpen has been superb. Throw it all together and you have an 8-1 homestand after the team swept the Tampa Bay Rays, the St. Louis Cardinals and won their series against the Chicago White Sox.
The Yankees are clearly in a league of their own as they prepare for their three game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. But you do have to wonder, are the Yankees contenders…or are they simply pretending?
The only main acquisition the Yankees made regarding the lineup was Matt Holliday; they also signed Chris Carter but he was mostly insurance for the young Greg Bird. Not to mention Carter hasn’t exactly been what the Yankees envisioned in April. But even if the Yankees didn’t sign Holliday, they’re getting contributions from everyone in the lineup. Chase Headley is off to a phenomenal start, Aaron Hicks is opening eyes and Aaron Judge is doing everything advertised, including hitting the longest home run Yankee Stadium has ever seen.
The Yankees have also been getting it done defensively. Starlin Castro, Headley, Ronald Torreyes, and Gold Glover Brett Gardner all used their gloves to help their starting pitchers. It also doesn’t hurt they ended up on multiple highlight reels.
We also have to discuss the pitchers. While Masahiro Tanaka hasn’t looked as dominant in April–even though he had a very good start on Wednesday night–the rest of the rotation has been getting it done. CC Sabathia has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees, performing as if he’s the Sabathia of old. Luis Severino has been brilliant in his three starts and Michael Pineda has turned things around. But the highlight of the recent homestand was Jordan Montgomery, who pitched well in his first Major League start and received the win in his second Major League start. Getting helpful contributions from their young rookie really helped the rotation, which entering the season appeared to be a question mark.
Finally, we have to talk about the bullpen. Every single pitcher in the bullpen has been getting it done, and because they’ve all been dominant, the Yankees have one of the best bullpens in the league. Opposing teams knew facing Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman wasn’t a walk in the park. But they never anticipated having trouble with Bryan Mitchell, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Layne, and Adam Warren as well.
Believe it or not, the Yankees have one of the most put together rosters in the Majors, and they’re absolutely dominating without Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez, two important players who are on the shelf due to injury.
We’re only about 10 days away from May, but so far the Yankees have been extremely impressive. They already have 10 wins under their belt, which didn’t happen last year until the calendar turned to May.
This team is actually much better than the previous two Yankees teams, but there’s still room for improvement. Despite that, the Yankees are without a doubt contenders, and as long as everyone can stay healthy and productive, this should be a ball club that most teams fear to face.