Yankees playoffs: The ALCS and making of the 2017 Baby Bombers

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
4 of 12
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Arms Race

By the end of training camp, the team showed enough strengths for us to accurately predict their finish, some 162 games later, in the second of our two-part 2017 AL East Predictions:

"The Yankees, however, were one of the teams that improved. They have a real ace and a farm system that can either produce a front-line starter or the talent to trade for one. That is a huge advantage over the other teams. Their offense looks ready to be a dominant force in the division, and they will slug their way to second in the East and a playoff berth."

What the Yankees showed themselves possible of doing in the spring, they accomplished by Autumn.

Arm Yourselves for Battle

And so the season started but, before long, a perceived weakness had clearly become a strength. The baseball world thought the Yankees would hit okay, but their pitching was to be a problem. That did not turn out to be the case.

The pitching staff got off to a great start, and carried the Yankees to the playoffs, and game seven.

And it will be the pitchers who decide if the Yankees advance. That works well with this piece because, even though not every player who was helping the team then is helping them now, CC was one of those who had enabled YanksGoYard to months ago write, Yankees Suddenly are Looking Armed and Dangerous.

"Right now, here on April 19th, the Yankees have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. And that extends from the mound to the bullpen and all the way to Trenton. Plus, the Yankees do not need all of these pitchers to remain pitching at the highest level. They only need one of them to become a real number two, someone who wins 18 games and throws up an ERA below 3.40 for the season. That looks increasingly likely, and the smart money is on Severino."

That, however, was obvious, although 18 wins proved elusive.

Finding the real factors behind a team’s success, though, means being more than a reporter; you have to be an observer. You have to be able to go inside the numbers and separate the wheat from the chaff.