New York Yankees’ structure prepares them for successful shortened season

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees heads to the dugout after pitching in the first inning during the spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Steinbrenner Field on February 24, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.

With a 60-game season now around the corner for Major League Baseball, let’s take a look at how this New York Yankees team will stack up.

Allison Case

So after weeks of deliberation and months of uncertainty, it appears that Major League Baseball is on the horizon. America’s pastime will be returning to our television screens just in time for the dog days of summer, a time where players are typically worn out and just trying to muddle their way through.

Well, things will be slightly different. Instead of a normal 162-game season, teams will have just 60 games to prove their worth and make a run for a title. With this type of set-up, ballclubs that might never possess the opportunity to hang in there for an entire season may end up in the mix for the final trophy.

The New York Yankees are always contenders. That is just a fact that 27 World Series titles cannot dispute. But with a shortened season coming up, could they be in for a rude awakening?

While predictions are almost impossible to make during this time, it wouldn’t be a baseball blog without them. So in order to make some informed predictions, ESNY did some research on previous seasons to see just how well this team will fare.

While the Yankees seemed to get off to slow starts in the past, that wasn’t the case from 2017-19. In their first 60 games last year, the Bombers went 38-22, the second-best record in the American League. In 2018 and 2017, they went 41-19 and 37-23, respectively. All of these would be worthy of the postseason with this new format.

The problem is in 2019, the Yankees had some close opponents who you wouldn’t expect. While the Bombers finished seven games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, the race was tight for the first 60 matchups. In fact, Tampa Bay was just one game behind the Yankees’ record at the end of that span.

When it comes to starting out slow, it seems the Yankees don’t have much of an issue there. Now, we delve into a topic that might be a touch more complicated.

In terms of batting, it takes a good amount of time for Yankees hitters to really heat up. Typically, players will go through slumps early on, and by the time the warmer months roll around, the bats are at full strength.

Nonetheless, it’s hard to ignore the obvious heat that radiates from these Yankee bats come August. For example, Gary Sanchez has the most impressive numbers of his career in that specific month. A career .246 hitter, Sanchez bats .316 in August with a .706 slugging percentage and 1.094 OPS.

In the months of August, September, and October, Sanchez has slugged 51 home runs in 156 games. It’s safe to say that he’s really a fan of both the hot weather and the end of the season.

Another notable August performer is DJ LeMahieu, who spent his first year in the Bronx with a .327 batting average and .893 OPS. In that month, he’s recorded a .301 average and .802 OPS.

Aaron Judge, however, will be coming off an injury and entering the season in a month where he’s statistically not at his best. Judge is a career .228 August batter. The man starts the season fairly strong though, with a career .304 average and 1.043 OPS in March and April.

Starting the season late raises questions over the readiness of hitters, so it’s difficult to truly gauge what sort of campaign they would experience. But there is also another important factor to pay attention to in this shortened season.

With several opponents being cut out from the schedule, the slate the Yankees will be facing is certainly not simple. They won’t have easy series against lesser teams. They will need to bring their A-game for the entire year. It will all have to be earned.

The Yankees are set up for success in the long game and will also be contenders in the short game. Their past success at the beginning of the season shows that no matter the situation, they always come out of the gate pretty strong.

Sixty games should be no trouble for this ballclub. The only thing the Yanks will need to worry about is the plethora of teams now allowed in the playoffs, but that’s a whole other story.

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