This was not the kind of start people expected for the New York Yankees’ 2017 season.
Most Yankee fans would have been happy if the team was merely floating around .500 baseball at this moment in time. Instead, after a 1-4 start, they rattled off eight wins in a row. Sitting in the top tier of the American League with a record of 15-8 to end the month of April, the Yankees have surpassed expectations thus far.
Out of everything that has gone right for the club, the most prominent contributions have come from unlikely names.
The Yankees have been scoring runs at an alarming rate, with 124 runs scored on the season. That has them at fourth in the majors for runs scored, trailing only Milwaukee, Arizona and Washington. With 36 home runs, it’s clear that hitting has been the Yankees biggest strength.
However, it is not the usual suspects that have had the most impact in the Yankees hot start, but instead guys like Ronald Torreyes, Austin Romine and Chase Headley.
In 2016, Chase Headley had an awful start to the season, as he consistently had empty trips to the plate. A career .238 hitter in April over his previous eight seasons, Headley has turned things around and is slashing .301/.402/.494 while second in runs scored on the team with 17 runs.
When Didi Gregorious was forced to miss the start of the season because of a shoulder injury, journeyman Ronald Torreyes was the next man up to fill in the short stop position, and from the bottom of the lineup, Torreyes has driven in 13 runs while hitting .313.
The same can be said for catcher Austin Romine, who replaced star Gary Sanchez after a bicep injury. Romine turned in an impressive game against Baltimore on Saturday when he drove in five runs and added his second home run of the season. Hitting .314 with 10 RBIs, Romine has been a delightful replacement while Sanchez has healed.
The biggest question leading up to the start of the season was the starting rotation. Masahiro Tanaka was the clear-cut ace of the staff, but let’s not forget that many consider his arm to be a ticking time bomb with a partial torn UCL. After Tanaka, it looked like a black hole, with veteran CC Sabathia and “Mr. Inconsistent” Michael Pineda rounding out the second and third starting jobs. A lackluster starting rotation that was considered the team’s biggest weakness has turned heads and become a strength, boasting an impressive 3.22 ERA through the first 22 games. That trails only the White Sox for best in baseball.
For a team that was considering the 2017 season a rebuilding year, they’re showing that the rebuild might come faster than anticipated. For the Yanks to continue winning, they will need the starting rotation to continue its strong pitching and the out-of-nowhere hitters to continue producing at the plate. Buckle up Yankee fans, you’re in for an exciting season.