The loss of Gary Sanchez has proven to be no issue for the Bronx Bombers.
Back in 2016 when the Yanks were sitting at .500 and seven games out of first, they traded star relievers Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman in 2016 looking to strip down and rebuild. They called up young prospects like Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Aaron Judge. But little did they know that by the middle of September they’d be standing a strong 4 games out of first place. Gary Sanchez brought the Yankees right into that position with his 20 home runs and .299 average in under two months.
2017 was supposed to be a huge step forward for the Yankees star backstop, but instead, he went 3 for 20 before being sidelined with a bicep strain, being hit by a foul pitch.
The emergence of players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, Starlin Castro, Luis Severino, and of course, Aaron Judge have covered up for the loss of Sanchez and have guided the Yankees to a strong 12-7 record heading into the first week of May. Castro, sitting second in the AL for average, Judge third for home runs with seven, and Headley third in the AL in OBP, all contribute to why the Yankees are in the spot they are. Ellsbury has also shown glimpses of improvement as Yankees hitting coach Alan Cockrell recommended that Ellsbury steps up in the batter’s box to ensure better contact on the ball, he’s hitting .323 with 6 stolen bases. Ellsbury signed a 7yr/$153m in 2013, he’s hit a measly .264 in his full three seasons in New York.
Luis Severino went 0-8 with an 8.76 ERA in 8 starts in 2016. Out of the bullpen was a different story, he went 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA. Severino’s downfall in 2016 was his changeup, so he called Pedro Martinez and got his input. Whatever Martinez told Severino, it’s working. In his second start this year against Tampa, he allowed two runs in seven innings of work. Severino then moved on to the White Sox and allowed one run through 6 innings of work, but Kozma’s botched double play ball ended up costing them, as Severino gave up a three run home run to Avisail Garcia to end the 8 game win streak. One run through six though, is not too shabby for a guy who was practically serving up batting practice last year. Severino dominated in his most recent start in Boston. He went 7 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, no runs, with six strikeouts. This outing showcases the potential Severino has as a starting pitcher, this is frontline stuff, everything worked for him. He has ace potential, and the patience the Yankees have given him are really beginning to pay off.
Struggling youngsters in 2016 have shown hints of what this team will look like in the future. Gary Sanchez is not necessarily carrying this team on his back, to bring them their 28th title. They’ve got depth everywhere. The young guys have the maturity of a veteran. Severino and Judge, who hit .179, struck out 42 times in 84 AB’s in 2016, have shown that baseball is a game of adjustments, that success comes from making those needed changes and that’s exactly what the Yankees are looking for in 2017. These guys were the keys to their red hot start, and remember, this is only the beginning of a new Yankee dynasty.