Yankees’ Power Reason for Recent Hot Streak

Jun 28, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) singles to right during the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium. Texas Rangers won 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 28, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) singles to right during the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium. Texas Rangers won 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

Since August 12th, the Yankees lead the MLB with 19 home runs. The immediate impacts of young players like Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge has been felt.

It seems that the New York Yankees have been hovering around .500 for quite some time now. That’s because the last time the Yankees were five games under or five games over was May 18th when the team was 17-22.

The Yankees have truly been the epitome of “middling” throughout the course of the 2016 MLB season. But their recent success thanks to production from Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge has made the team much more fun to watch and much more potent in the process.

Around the time of the trade deadline, something seemed to click within the Yankees’ organization. Alex Rodriguez suddenly retired and Carlos Beltran was traded, thus leaving two big spots in the lineup for the taking. Out with the old and in with the new the Yankees went. 

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Top prospects Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge emerged in pinstripes and truly have been impressive. But even players like Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro have taken their game the extra mile since the start of the month of August. New York has scored 91 runs in 18 games in August.

That’s an average of just over five runs a game. Sure some games may have bloated this statistic and the average in the process, but the Yankees have played much better baseball in August and their record of 11-7 in the month has proven that.

For New York to make the post-season, their play will need to greatly improve. With how well the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays have been playing as of late, the Yankees will likely have to win about 27 games in comparison to just 13 losses. Stranger things have happened, but the Yankees will need to keep riding this hot streak for them to make the post-season.

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Since being called up, Sanchez has been an absolute machine. No really, as of Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Sanchez has had four consecutive multi-hit games. In 54 at bats, he has had 22 hits. He boasts a .379 batting average in total and a near .420 batting average in August. Talk about productivity.

It will be interesting to see how Sanchez handles the pressure when teams learn how to pitch for him, but there is no questioning how well he has played since being called-up. And how can we forget about Judge? The first baseball that came off of his bat that was in play was a 457-foot bomb to straightaway center field.

With a guy like Judge in the lineup, the Yankees have a bat that can knock any baseball out of any park. While he does have nine strikeouts in 26 at bats compared to seven games, Judge has made vast improvements from where he was at this point in the year last year.

In just six games, Judge has hit two home runs. An average of two home runs per six games would be 27 home runs in a season. That’s an ideal number for Judge’s home run count per season in the future.

The middle infield duo of Gregorius and Castro has hit a combined 10 home runs in August. In fact, it seems that Gregorius is going to finish as the team’s MVP for the second consecutive season. Gregorius’ play has improved so much that he has gone from batting at the bottom of the order to a mainstay atop the order.

Regarding Castro, what you see is really what you get with him. Castro has batted more than any other Yankee in 2016. He’s done a terrific job at moving over to second base and handling the duties there. Outside of a hot start at the beginning of the season, Castro’s batting average has hovered around .260.

The difference is that his production in the month of August has come in times where the Yankees have men on base. Hitting with runners in scoring position is something the team has struggled with all season. But that hasn’t been the case lately.

Outside of Masahiro Tanaka, you really have no clue what you’re going to get with the Yankees’ rotation. Before the season, the rotation was supposed to be the strength of the team. But with Michael Pineda‘s inconsistencies, Nathan Eovaldi done for the year, and C.C. Sabathia seeming to have at least one real bad inning a game, the Yankees’ pitching staff has been filled with a ton of question marks.

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For the Yankees to be successful, they will need to continue to score runs at a consistent rate. Because of how many games are left in the season and the ground that will needed to be covered to reach the post-season, each night has the feeling of a must-win game for the Yankees.

But if players like Sanchez, Judge, Gregorius, and Castro can keep up their impressive play, the Yankees can continue to make things more interesting for the second AL Wild Card spot.