The Yankees have been doing Yankees things again. With their 4-2 loss to the New York Mets on July 2, the team officially ended its streak of 31-straight games with a home run. It has been a magnificent year so far for New York after a decade without a World Series — a normal feat for practically any other team. The Yankees have been swinging for the fences, and it has been paying off thanks to a balanced effort from their entire squad.
Because of that, it is hard to pin the MVP title on any single Yankee. From offensive juggernauts to balanced attackers, the Yankees have gotten contributions from all over the place, and a number of them could be considered MVP. (Note: all stats through July 7, 2019).
As far as home run hitting goes, Gary Sanchez has been the Yankees most reliable bat. Despite missing a handful of games this year after struggling when it mattered last year, Sanchez has knocked it out of the park 24 times through 68 games played. While other players have shown more bat control, it has been Sanchez who renders the field useless with his powerful swings.
Sanchez’s 57 RBIs already surpassed his 53 from last year. His work from behind the plate has also proven valuable to the Yankees best season in years, but his .245 batting average could be a concern when he is not hitting home runs. While injuries are a concern for Sanchez, his continued dominance at bat could lead him to many accolades if he keeps up his hitting by the end of the season, but that also doesn’t mean that he is the team’s MVP.
If Sanchez is making his name with power, DJ LeMahieu is doing it with his balance. While he may only have 12 home runs to Sanchez’s 24, his ability to reach base when he doesn’t knock it out of the park is unmatched on the Yankees. With 113 hits through 81 games, LeMahieu puts the ball in play far more often than leadoff hitter Gleyber Torres.
With a .336 average, LeMahieu is having one of the best batting seasons of his career, but his fielding has also been a vital part of the team’s success. With the Yankees being riddled with injuries all season, LeMahieu has proven to be a jack-of-all-trades, playing games at all three bases when the team has called his number. Because of that versatility on both offense and defense, LeMahieu deserves much of the credit for the Yankees success.
Despite the Yankees’ success through the first half of the season, their pitchers have struggled to shine through. Domingo German, however, is an exception to that rule. Although a left hip flexor has kept him out of recent play, German has accrued a 10-2 record over his first 14 appearances, and his command of the pitcher’s mound has given the offense more room to work with as the team looks to put teams away with their bats.
With a 3.67 ERA, German has overcome his previous year’s struggles. Not only that, but his appearances on the mound give the team a lot of confidence in a year where its other pitchers are not giving fans a reason to do so. While the bats a major part of the Yankees’ story, the pitching deserves its due, and German has done what his other pitchers have struggled to do by helping the team from the mound.
Going into the second half…
Baseball has a long season, and while the Yankees hold a healthy lead over the rest of the AL East, their injuries may be a concern, their best players may fall off, and other teams may suddenly get hot. It will be up to them to maintain their current success and return the team to the legendary status it is known for.