Yankees offense successfully sprays the ball all over the field

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 28: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a two run home run against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning during their game at T-Mobile Park on August 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 28: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a two run home run against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning during their game at T-Mobile Park on August 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Yankees are on pace for a 105-win season. Currently standing 88-47 with 27 games left to play, the Yankees could play .500 baseball for the rest of the season and still end up with 101 wins.

Last season, the Yankees reached the century mark in wins for the first time since 2009; that’s also the last time the Yanks won a World Series title.

If the Yankees do reach 100 wins for the second year in a row, it’ll be the sixth time in franchise history, having also won seven out of 10 World Series’ in those years.

The most recent double, or triple up, of 100+ win seasons was the three seasons from 2002-2004, none of which ended in championships. And while much of the season hasn’t gone to plan, just as much has in a way.

From the unprecedented number of injuries to the unexpectedly high performance from guys considered “bench players,” the Yanks have carefully maneuvered their way clear of their American League East counterparts.

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A franchise-best SLG for the Bombers this year at .490 to go along with their highest BA since, yet again, that 2009 championship season, shows their offensive improvements.

While their 2009 BA and OBP currently stand a few ticks higher than this season’s club, with the rate of injuries they’ve overcome, how could you not be impressed?

Even with the vast rotation of players called up and sent down from the minors, almost every one of them experienced some level of success at the majors.

As we all know the Yankees hit the ball hard. Currently ranked second in home runs, eight behind the Minnesota Twins but just 14th in hard-hit percentage — showing that it’s not all about power.

The Yankees high BA, or rather, their impressive slash line ranks third in all of baseball. The only team with a better-ranked overall slash is the Houston Astros, currently sitting second in BA, first in OBP and second in SLG.

Powered by precise hitting, the Yankees accomplished season is not all luck. Continuing their high fly ball and high line drive approach they’ve been taking over the last couple years, the Yanks have optimized their offensive output.

Although nothing too drastic of a change, the Bombers have their highest line drive percentage in the last five seasons; higher than last season’s mark by 1.5 percent.

But this 1.5 percent adds up when the Yankees hit the way they have. A .690 wOBA off line drives this season is the highest mark in the AL and higher than the entire the league by .045.

They also rank fourth in wOBA off fly balls and second for ground balls.

So what you end up with is the team that does the most damage in the league off line drives, hitting 1.5 percent more liners plus a top four hitting team on ground balls and fly balls.

The Yankees also record hits on ground balls and line drives with the second-highest rate in the MLB. With an over 65 percent success rate off line drives and a line drive’s tendency to roll to the wall for extra bases, the Yanks offense has a method to their madness.

In achieving such a high level of success and maximized output, the Yankees have remained within a small window of launch angles and launch speed primed for hits.

Using the upper and lower quartiles as the limits of this window, teams would aim for -11 to 4 as their launch angle with launch speeds of 86.2 to 101.8 MPH on ground balls.

Respectively, for fly balls that window is 26 to 33 degrees and 95.6 to 104.9 mph; for line drives the windows for hits and outs are very similar.

This similarity is likely due to the small difference between line drives caught on sliding or diving plays, or even hit right at a fielder, compared to those which find grass.

That being said, the Yankees find themselves within these windows more than the MLB average on both ground balls and fly balls, but fall short on line drives, surprisingly.

Nonetheless, when the window is adjusted to not cap off launch speed on fly balls and line drives, the Yanks now find themselves way above the average. But not all players are created equal. Some get on base with more success off ground balls, some, line drives and some, fly balls.

Well, the Bombers have played to their strengths. Breakout starter Gio Urshela is hitting line drives at the highest rate of his young career, coinciding with almost 72 percent of his liners resulting in hits.

However, it also works in reverse; first baseman Mike Ford’s success rate on ground balls is a mere 7.4 percent, hence his ground ball rate being fourth lowest on the team and the lowest of his professional career since Low-A.

Take this strategy and apply it down the Yankee lineup and you’ve got one mean hitting machines in the Bronx. As a whole, the Yankees have five healthy players with line drive success rates higher than all of baseball; eight on fly balls and nine on ground balls.

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The results this season have shown the impressive nature of hitting with this approach, or at least the appearance of it. Nonetheless, the Yanks have succeeded thus far and are likely to reach the 100-win mark yet again. Perhaps a World Series championship is destined for the Bronx.