The New York Yankees will be hard to beat by any team in the American League

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Few baseball analysts predicted that the New York Yankees’ pitching team would be as strong and effective as they displayed in the first quarter of the season.

The Yankees’ strong offense was a given. The team features rackets Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. When healthy, this tandem is considered by many to be the most dynamic power duo in baseball.

For this scout, the Yankees have a combination of hitting quality and excellent pitching that is second to none in the game.

Giancarlo Stanton, now recovered, just adds a lot more firepower to the Yankees lineup.

The most common lineup for the Yankees according to fangraphs.com is as follows:

DJ LeMahieu-2B

Aaron Judge-CF

Anthony Rizzo-1B

Giancarlo Stanton-DH

Josh Donaldson-3B

Aaron Hicks-LF

Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS

Jose Trevino – c

Joey Gallo-RF

Donaldson (Handel), Kiner-Falefa (Handel) and Trevino (Handel) are new to the Yankees this year. Everyone contributed at some point in the first quarter of the season as they lengthened the lineup with solid hitting and good defense.

Entering the game on June 9, the offense was solid. The Yankees led all of baseball in home runs (83) and ranked third in slugging percentage (.424). Of course, it never hurts to have a hitter like Judge, who has hit Major League Baseball’s best 22 homers. Rizzo reached 14.

Richter has raced among the leaders in 45 races. He is a leading contender for winning prestigious baseball awards and honors.

Sparkling Yankees Pitching Stats:

While the Yankees’ offense has performed well, it was the Yankees’ pitching team that took a bit of center stage in their stellar season.

As of play starting June 9, the Yankees pitchers lead all of baseball with the lowest earned run average of 2.87. It’s 2.90, the next best among the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yankees pitchers have hit 168 runs, the fewest by any team. They’ve also given up the fewest home runs and hit 41 long balls, three fewer than the Atlanta Braves.

Crucially, the 134 walks given by Yankees pitchers are the fewest in the MLB. This resulted in the best overall WHIP (walks and hits per inning) at 1.06.

On June 9, the opposition hit a collective .214 against Yankees pitchers, the best in the game.

Yankees rotation:

The Yankees’ usual rotation includes the following five pitchers:

Gerrit Cole-RHP

Luis Severino-RHP

Jordan Montgomery-LHP

Jameson Taillon-RHP

Nestor Cortes-LHP

The Yankees went into the season with a few questions about their starting team.

Would Luis Severino be alive and well following his return from Tommy John surgery in Spring 2020? He served last year but this year should be the real test.

The right-hander Severino passed with flying colours. He dominates racquets with an outstanding repertoire.

According to Brooksbaseball.net, Severino throws his fastball at an average of 96 miles per hour. His fastball/slider combo has thrown batsmen off balance, while his changeup alters both the batsman’s balance and timing. He has also thrown an occasional cutter.

Would right-hander Gerrit Cole return to form with great spin and effective secondary shots?

Like Severino, Cole’s fastball clocks in at 97 mph. Especially on two shots, Cole still lifts his four-seam fastball in the hitter’s eyes, causing swings and misses.

He also throws his slider a quarter of the time. And it works fine for him. Cole also uses a cutter and changeup, mixing in those pitches less frequently than fastball and slider.

While Cole struggled a bit after MLB banned “sticky stuff” for pitchers in 2021, Cole has adjusted and he’s pitching very well.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon appears to be perfectly healthy. Aside from a tough game on June 7, Taillon has been reliable in limiting opposition and digging deep into games. Unlike Severino and Cole, Taillon throws his fastball at a slightly slower pace. Normally sitting at 94 mph, he splits his repertoire almost evenly between a four-seam fastball, a sinking two-seam fastball, a cutter, a slider, a bite curve, and a switch. Mixing and matching this arsenal has resulted in it being deceptive and very effective.

Left-hander Jordan Montgomery has the highest earned run average of any five Yankees starters. His current ERA is 3.02, which is not bad at all.

Montgomery throws a sinking two-seam fastball at 92 mph, a cutter and a changeup.

Montgomery attempts to induce ground balls by getting the batter to smack the ball while the two-seamer sinks and attempts to make contact. He also throws a cutter, a turn, and a switch.

Left-hander Nestor Cortes is possibly the Yankees rotation’s greatest success story.

Cortes uses a full repertoire of a four-seam fastball at 91 mph, a slider, a curveball, a cutter and a changeup. His fastball/cutter combo has dominated hitters so far this season. He gets a large number of swings and misses. While he does create flyballs with his sweep slider, he’s had great success with it so far.

Cortes had a tough game against the Minnesota Twins on June 8, but he remains one of baseball’s leading pitchers. His current ERA is 1.96.

Cortes’ success was a welcome component and almost a “heart” of the rotation’s success.

The Yankees Bullpen:

It wasn’t just the Yankees rotation that led to the good pitching results. The bullpen was very solid and productive.

Lefty closer Aroldis Chapman is on the injured list with Achilles tendonitis. In his place, right-hander Clay Holmes has taken on the role of closer and has done an excellent job. At the start of the game on June 9th, Holmes already saved eight games with his fastball/slider combination. He throws his fastball at 98 miles per hour. Holmes sports a fantastic 0.34 ERA that comes into play on June 9th.

Right-handers Michael King and Miguel Castro were used effectively by manager Aaron Boone to set up Holmes.

Not only is Chapman on the injured list, Zack Britton (Tommy John surgery), Chad Green (Tommy John surgery), and Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder infection) are all disabled. Each has been an important part of the Yankees’ bullpen in the past.

Now manager Boone’s midsections are cobbled together with collaborators like Wandy Peralta, Ron Marinaccio, Lucas Luetge, Manny Banuelos and Clarke Schmidt. They may not be household names, but they do a solid job of fulfilling their role.

Conclusions:

On June 7, the New York Yankees became the first MLB team to have 40 wins. Starting June 9, they are a full 7 games ahead of second-placed Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East.

For comparison, the Houston Astros, considered by many to be the best team in the American League Central, have won 36 games. They have a significant lead over the Los Angeles Angels, who have lost 14 straight games. That streak cost manager Joe Maddon his job, as Phil Nevin was taken on as Angels manager for the remainder of the season.

On June 9, the Minnesota Twins were four games ahead of the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central with a record of 33-25.

If the batting continues and pitching comes anywhere close to the success they are currently enjoying, the New York Yankees could be poised for a mighty finishing record. A 100+ win season is clearly within reach.

Led on offense by MVP nominee Aaron Judge and on the mound with a fantastic rotation that could include a Cy Young Award winner, the Yankees will be very difficult to beat.

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