It is tough to get excited 10 games into a 162-game season, but through those first 10 games, the New York Yankees are giving the fans something to be excited over.
After a 1-4 start to the season, the Yankees are starting to show why Brian Cashman sold off some of the veterans last season in favor of the highly touted prospects and a farm system that looks to be the second best in Major League Baseball.
With the additions of Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge and the departures of veterans like Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, and Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees were on a new path; one that was going to involve the home-grown players to go with some of the veterans they still have.
After a shaky first week, the Yankees have slowly started to look like the team that people expected next season. Luis Severino is slowly starting to pitch like the top pitching prospect he once was. He struck out 11 batters over seven innings in a win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night. Judge is already showing that he is developing into more than just a power hitter. Judge is already striking out a lot less and getting more hits to go with the towering home runs he hits.
Some of the players on the New York Yankees are off to sluggish starts; Sanchez is on the disabled list with a forearm injury and Greg Bird is hitting just .154 after he hit eight home runs during spring training and looked unstoppable.
However, what has helped is the strong starts from veterans. As Chase Headley, who a year ago could not buy a hit, is hitting .400 and looks like the person they traded for. Alternatively, Starlin Castro, who’s having a solid start to his second year in New York by hitting .350, or Jacoby Ellsbury, whose in desperate need of a rebound season after two straight disappointing years, is hitting .314. Moreover, Aaron Hicks is struggling in his first season in New York, is now hitting .313.
With the lineup producing early on, the Yankees pitching, thus far, is taking care of things. Everyone expected the bullpen to take care of things, which Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman have done; like when they pitched 2.2 scoreless innings on Friday night in a win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the starting rotation is starting to pitch well.
To go along with Severino’s terrific outing, Michael Pineda looked sharp in the Yankees home opener. Pineda took a perfect game into the seventh inning and struck out 11 over 7.2 innings. CC Sabathia, who is in the final year of his contract, has a 1.64 ERA in two early starts. Sabathia is making the transition from being a power pitcher into a veteran who uses finesse to get batters out.
After two rough first starts to the season, Masahiro Tanaka rebounded. He got deep into the game on Friday night against the Cardinals and showed why he is the ace of the rotation, going 6.1 innings in a 4-3 win. In addition, in his major league debut, Jordan Montgomery struck out seven batters in 4.2 innings against the Rays. Montgomery looked like he could become a permanent fixture in the rotation for years to come. Some think he could be what Andy Pettitte used to be for the Yankees. Thus, that lefty presence who won many games.
All of this equals a 6-4 start to 2017 and an excited fan base. Last year, a 9-17 start to the season buried the Yankees and they spent the year in an uphill battle. Now, the Yankees are off to a quick start and slowly looking like they could make some noise in 2017. The New York Yankees could cause shock waves this season. However, they have to keep up the pace that they are on currently. That current pace could get them into the thick of the American League playoff picture.