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Yankees in the Clutch with 30-13 record, 1st in AL East, Potential Trade Targets

Image Credit: Latino Sports

New York- With summer on the horizon, mother nature has previewed the gorgeous weather for the New York City region. The end of Spring – beginning of Summer time range is an exhilarating span for all baseball fans. We are entering the 45 game mark in the regular season, just about the time when All Star Ballots start to get released. The perfect moment to get refreshed on where the New York Yankees stand today. Baseball in the Bronx has been off to a sensational start. 

    AL EAST STANDINGS

New York Yankees: 30-13     

Tampa Bay Rays: 25-17 (4.5 games back)

Toronto Blue Jays: 23-20 (7 games back)

Boston Red Sox: 20-22 (9.5 games back)    

Baltimore Orioles: 18-26 (12.5 games back)          

The Yankees are the first team this regular season to achieve 30 wins. An impressive mark to say the least, however, in a difficult American League East, 90 wins will be the bare minimum for contention at the division title. 

Regardless of this year’s roster showcasing their power on offense with the long ball, the Yankees have tended to use a much more contact-level swing approach during at-bats. Players are putting the ball in play, forcing opponents into tough split-second decisions. The plays that can be the ultimate deciding factor in a won or lost ballgame. A bulldog, scrappy demeanor seems to be instituted into this year’s Yankees. The statistics provided below are a proving point in the winning attitude the Bronx Bombers have implemented. A comparison to the total sacrifice flies and stolen bases from all of the 2021 season to the first 33 games played of this season. 

2021 Regular Season Statistics: 162 games

Yankees: 34 sacrifice flies (21st in MLB)

Yankees: 63 stolen bases (19th in MLB)

2022 Regular Season Statistics: 43 games

Yankees: 14 sacrifice flies (Tied 7th in MLB)

Yankees: 22 stolen bases (Tied 11th in MLB)

These numbers are alarming to any opponent. The Bronx Bombers have hit a groove in executing on clutch situations. To add to their impressive start, the Yankees have a +66 run differential, which ranks second in all of baseball behind the LA Dodgers at a whopping +102 run differential. 

ALL RISE JUDGE, MVP LIKE NUMBERS

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Aaron Judge – 2022 Regular Season Statistics (41 games played)

.314 BA, 17 HR, 34 RBI, 49 Hits, .386 OBP

The headline sums it up best. As of now, Aaron Judge has to be the lead go-getter for the American League MVP. Judge is showcasing his worth night in and night out. The 30 year old will enter this offseason as a free agent for the first time in his career. Judge includes a star-studded free agent class with Trea Turner, José Abreu, Dansby Swanson, Michael Brantley, and much more. Regardless of the stars in the class, Judge will for sure be deemed the most coveted free agent this offseason. Before the start of the regular season, Judge and the Yankees could not come to an agreement on a contract extension. Rather than let the issues rumble into regular season games, Judge is playing off the rest of his current deal, which ends at the conclusion of the 2022 season. The 3x All Star, (on his way to his 4th most likely) will test his market value when the time is necessary. The ultimate goal for Judge and the 2022 New York Yankees is the chase to Number 28, a World Series Championship Title.

Props to General Manager, Brian Cashman + Yankees Front Office

The offseason moves in acquiring shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and re-signing first baseman Anthony Rizzo have shown to be significant on defense, with both players containing elite level skills at their respective positions. From Texas – Minnesota – New York during this offseason in two separate trades, Kiner-Falefa has grown to be an impactful piece to this Yanks lineup. IKF has clipped a .261 batting average with 35 hits and 12 RBIs in 40 games played this season. His versatile play on the diamond has changed the makings of the Yankees infield alignment. Alongside Kiner-Falefa, Gleyber Torres seems to be much more comfortable playing at second base rather than shortstop this season as seen in his play.  In 28 games played so far, Rizzo has a 991 fielding percentage, and at the plate he’s totaled 11 home runs, 26 runs batted in with a .350 on base percentage. 

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

The pitching staff has hit a rough patch with injuries to RHP Chad Greene announced out for the season (Tommy John Surgery), LHP Aroldis Chapman recently placed on the 15-day injury list (Left achilles tendonitis), as well as RHP Luis Gil announced out for the season (Tommy John Surgery). The Yankees must stay active in the trade market this Summer to strengthen their bullpen and perhaps acquire an additional starting pitcher. 

Right now, the Yankees are one of the elites in baseball when it comes to starting pitching due to incredible outings from LHP Nestor Cortes, RHP Gerrit Cole and a resurgence from RHP Luis Severino. Over the long haul of a 162-game draining season and potential long postseason run, legit contending teams integrate the mindset that they never have enough starting pitching. The Yankees must strike on a caliber SP to create a powerful rotation entering a battle in a Wild Card, ALDS and ALCS scenario. 

The Yankees have the farm system to strike on a deal without giving up well-known prospects such as Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Jasson Dominquez. However, one name that could be in trade talks is Yankees #5 prospect LHP Ken Waldichuk. Other than prospects, front offices will demand proven big league talent in return for their key players, such as the ones stated below. Team executives have deemed Joey Gallo and Miguel Andújar as two potential names who could depart from the Bronx in a trade. 

Potential Trade Targets for the NY Yankees

David Bednar – Relief Pitcher (Pittsburgh Pirates)

Bednar has had a spectacular start to the season on an underperforming team in the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 19 appearances on the season, Bednar has a 0.78 earned run average with 8 saves and 30 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched. The Pirates are currently 17-25, settling into fourth place throughout the National League Central, just in front of the Cincinnati Reds in the last place slot. Pittsburgh could be one franchise that decides to become sellers sooner rather than later. 

Aaron Nola – Starting Pitcher (Philadelphia Phillies)

2022 Regular Season Statistics: (9 games)

1-4 record, 3.96 ERA, 64 strikeouts in 52.1 innings pitched

Yes, Nola has started the 2022 season on a rough path that many did not expect. With that being said, the 28 year-old RHP has performed in crucial situations, executes well in the moments, and contains a versatile package of pitches to K-up opponents. Nola could be an excellent number two/three starter behind Cortes and Cole for the fact that he has proven to be able to handle clutch scenarios on the mound. When the trade deadline comes around in July, the Phillies could be faced with the decision on becoming sellers, staying put or going for it in a competitive NL East by trading for key pieces. 

Frankie Montas – Starting Pitcher (Oakland Athletics)

2022 Regular Season Statistics: (9 games)

2-4 record, 3.55 ERA, 55 strikeouts in 50.2 innings pitched

Montas has been a name that surfaced during the majority of the offseason in multiple trade rumors. In an abundance of departures from trades and free agency, Oakland is in the midst of yet another rebuilding period in their franchise’s history. The front office traded core players in RHP Chris Bassitt (Mets), 3B Matt Chapman (Blue Jays), LHP Sean Manea (Padres) for several prospects and young talent. Currently with an 18-27 record, Oakland sits in last place in the American League West. The Athletics will once again be viewed as sellers during the trade deadline.

Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports and NY Sports Day 

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.rizzo.1042

Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com

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