Analysis

Yankees: The Good, Bad, and Ugly From The First 18 Games

After 18 games, the Yankees enter a four-game weekend series with the rival Red Sox 12-6. What’s gone right and what has gone wrong for the Bombers so far?

The New York Yankees are already nearly a third of the way through the 60-game 2020 baseball season and so far there has been a lot to like from the Bombers.

New York sits a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays atop the AL East at 12-6, are a perfect 6-0 at Yankee Stadium, and are 6-3 in American League East play. 

While the Yankees lead the East, the team has been far from perfect as the starting rotation has had its struggles and the defense has been shaky at times.

Here’s a closer look at the good, bad and ugly from the Yankees first 18 games of the 2020 season. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 01: Gio Urshela #29 of the New York Yankees smiles after hitting a second inning grand slam home run against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on August 01, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Good

Offense

By far, the biggest strength of the 2020 Yankees is their loaded lineup. The Yankees rank among the top 10 in baseball in nearly every major offensive category, including runs scored (94), home runs (31), one base percentage (.345), slugging (.468), and OPS (.813).

Aaron Judge has led the way for the Bombers offense with an MLB leading nine home runs to go along with an AL-leading 20 RBI’s and a .290/.343/.758 slash line.

DJ LeMahieu has continued to make his case for a contract extension as he leads the AL with a .431 batting average, has slugged two home runs with eight RBI’s.

Other key contributors include Gio Urshela, who has hit three home runs with 13 RBI’s, Luke Voit, who has crushed five home runs with a .275 batting average and 12 RBI’s and Mike Tauchman who is slashing .300/.364.400 with four RBI’s off the bench. 

Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and the bullpen

While the Yankees rotation has had their ups and downs early on in 2020, newly signed ace Gerrit Cole and veteran Masahiro Tanaka have been stellar early on.

In four starts, Cole is 3-0 with a 3.22 ERA, 26 strikeouts in 22.1 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .231 on balls in play against the Yankees ace, which is significantly lower than his career-low of a .276 BABIP posted in 2019.

As for Tanaka, he has posted a 2.31 ERA over his first three starts despite being on a pitch limit as he recovers from a concussion. He has only walked three batters in 11.2 innings pitched and has allowed a total of just three runs.

With Cole and Tanaka anchoring the staff, the Yankees have a trustworthy 1-2 punch for the first time in several seasons.

Despite losing Tommy Kahnle to Tommy John Surgery and Aroldis Chapman having yet to make his season debut after a battle with COVID-19, the Yankees bullpen has been stellar thus far this season.

The Yankees 3.49 bullpen ERA ranks fourth-best in the AL while their BABIP of .258 ranks as the best in the AL and 5th in the majors.

Zack Britton has stepped into the closer’s role with great success as he leads baseball with seven saves. Chad Green and Adam Ottavino have also pitched well as Green has posted a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings of work while Ottavino has posted a .129 ERA in seven innings.

Both Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa have also gotten off to strong starts as Loaisiga is 2-0 with a .348 ERA in 10.1 innings of work and Cessa has posted a 2.45 in three outings.

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