New York Yankees fans may not be ready to hear this, but losing Game 7 of the American League Championship Series to the Houston Astros is not the end of the world.
Yeah, we realize they had a chance to do something special. Something no one expected from them. At least not at this point in their version of a rebuild. But when you’re ready, take a step back and look at the reality of the situation.
Saturday night in Houston did not signal the end. It marked the beginning of what could be the Yankees next dynasty. At the very least, this team is poised to be a major factor for years to come.
It starts with talent. The Yankees have plenty of that already, and there’s more coming from the minors. It doesn’t hurt to have money too, and we know that won’t be an issue.
The Yankees are sitting pretty, regardless of how it might feel for the next few days. These are just a few reasons why.
With an injection of youth, the Yankees returned to their roots as the Bronx Bombers in 2017. Or as some people prefer to call them, the Baby Bombers.
Led by Aaron Judge’s rookie record 52 home runs, New York led MLB with a team total of 241.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 17, 2017
That number was supplemented by Gary Sanchez, who launched 33 blasts in just 122 games.
Didi Gregorius (25) and Brett Gardner (21) both produced career highs, while Matt Holliday (19), Starlin Castro (16), Aaron Hicks (15), Chase Headley (12) all finished in double digits. Trade deadline addition Todd Frazier hit 11 of his 27 for New York.
The names to remember there though are Judge, Sanchez, Gregorius, and we’ll throw Greg Bird in too. His 2017 season was hampered by injuries, but he made up for that in the postseason with several crucial hits. Those men will make New York’s core for a long, long time.
Luis Severino pitched like an ace
Severino’s postseason wasn’t the most memorable. He was bombarded by Minnesota in the AL wild-card game, failing to escape even the first inning. Then his start in ALCS Game 2 was shortened by an injury scare. Then he hit the wall in Game 6, leading to the Astros eventual comeback. None of that should override his performance during the regular season, which was All-Star level and at times even Cy Young level. He finished with a 2.98 ERA and 230 strikeouts over 193.1 innings.
Even if the Yankees happen to lose any or all of CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Jaime Garcia and Michael Pineda, they’ll at least know they’re set at the top. It’s easier to rebuild from there.
Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances are the headliners, but Brian Cashman did a marvelous job bolstering his bullpen all season. The emergence of Chad Green was huge. He was the one guy Joe Girardi could rely on all season. The return of David Robertson and addition of Tommy Kahnle in a trade with the Chicago White Sox really cemented things and shortened games to five, six or seven innings at times, depending on how deep the Yankees starter went. All of these arms are under team control for 2018, giving Brian Cashman a lot of flexibility.
Second best run differential in MLB
No stat shows how well-rounded and dangerous the Yankees were this season better than their run differential during the regular season. The Yankees were a +198, having scored 858 runs and allowed just 660. That was the second best differential in MLB behind only the 102-win Indians. Of course, the Yankees ousted Cleveland in the ALDS, proving even further that they can already compete with anyone.
Resilient and now experienced
By the end of the ALCS we learned to never question these Yankees. At many points during the season they were expected to fade away, but that never happened. After falling behind Cleveland 0-2 in the ALDS, they were expected to fade away again. It didn’t happen. Then when they fell behind Houston 0-2 in the ALCS, there was simply no way they could rebound again. But they did, winning three straight in New York.
That’s a sign this team was hungry, and we’re guessing that hunger will only grow now that they’ve gotten a taste of the postseason. Their back was constantly against the wall, but the moment rarely seemed too big. Sure, there were times they faltered, but next time they’ll have experienced pretty much everything the postseason could throw at them.
If you’re a Yankees fan, the only thing you should be thinking when the dust settles is that 2018 can’t come fast enough.
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