HomeTrending MLB NewsThe Yankees’ Only Barrier Is Themselves

The Yankees’ Only Barrier Is Themselves

On Monday night, the Bombers lost the opener of a series against the Blue Jays, but it’s a blip on the radar of a season filled with success.

Juan Soto

Juan Soto has delivered on his promise of being one of the most disciplined hitters in the sport. Soto’s slash line of .328/.457/.516, a league-leading 16 walks in 17 games, and 16.03 runs created a .346 BABIP have kept the lineup afloat while Aaron Judge struggles at the plate.

Pitching Performance

The team’s pitching staff went into Tuesday’s game with an elite 2.93 ERA performance from specifically Marcus Stroman, who delivered a 1.06 WHIP, a 194 ERA+, a 2.12 ERA, and batters producing .233 BABIP against him. Despite having the highest ERA (4.50), lowest ERA+ (91), and the second highest FIP (4.09) in the starting rotation, Nestor Cortes still has been a workhorse with a 1.136. WHIP. He’s kept the Yankees in games despite only going past the fifth inning once and not having his best stuff regularly.

The beginning of 2024 is everything the Yankees could have hoped for.  But there have been a few roadblocks. Roadblocks like Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and (maybe) the bullpen.

Aaron Judge

Judge has NOT been as advertised so far. While he is getting on base at a .356 clip (he’s tied with Soto for most walks in the league), he’s batting .194 with a .414 slugging percentage. The fact that the Yankees have succeeded without his usual production at the plate should scare the rest of baseball. Despite his struggle, Judge is still hitting the hard.  If they’re this good now, imagine how much better they can be once (or if) his struggles end.

Anthony Rizzo

Like Judge, Anthony Rizzo has a decent on-base percentage (.338), but he’s figuratively stumbling to first base instead of walking to it. Leading up to Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays, Rizzo’s hit only one home run and recorded a 95 OPS+. He made two errors in Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Guardians when he made four errors all of 2023. In his age-34 season, it might be unrealistic to expect old Rizzo to come around, but it would be nice for the bombers for the average Rizzo to show up.

The Bullpen can’t miss…literally.

With a 2.38 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, and a .197 batting average against, the bullpen has only struck out 6.58 batters per nine innings, led all American League team bullpens in wild pitches (7), and has an FIP of 4.17. Pitching to contact works as a starter but as a reliever with runners on second and third with nobody out, K’s are necessary.

Don’t be surprised if the Yankees make a move, trade or otherwise, to find someone who can make hitters miss. Sooner or later, the lineup won’t miss. The only thing that can stop the Yankees… is the Yankees.

Stephon Johnson
Stephon Johnson
Stephon Johnson is a journalist, reporter, and writer who's covered sports, politics, education, and labor issues. He’s written for The Athletic, The Sports Fan Journal, The Hardball Times, The Classical, The Cauldron/Sports Illustrated, Baeble Music, Polygon, City & State New York, the New York Amsterdam News, and THE CITY.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here