A New Empire In The Bronx

Written by on June 30, 2024

The Yankees are the first team in the MLB with 50+ wins, have they returned?

Written by Vincent Picone

Published on June 30, 2024

Though the Yankees have 27 World Series rings, they have yet to win or return to the fall classic since 2009. The longest they’ve gone without winning a world series was back in the Don Mattingly years from 1978-1996. Currently, they are on a 14-year streak. Of course, after that long streak, they would go on to win five World Series titles in a row.

Though this 2024 Yankees team may have what it takes to make it. 

Despite the recent loss to the rival Boston Red Sox, the Yankees still lead the American League East by a game and a half over the Baltimore Orioles, against whom they play a three-game series in the Bronx starting Tuesday, June 18th. Not only do they have the best record in the East, but they also have the best record in baseball, with a 50-24 record.

Their current success could not be possible without three factors: their elite starters, the top of the order, and the newest Yankee, Juan Soto.

Although Gerrit Cole was sidelined to start the season with elbow nerve inflammation and edema that occurred in Spring Training, the starting rotation has been phenomenal with Nestor Cortes, Carlos Rodón, Marcus Stroman, Luis Gil, and Clarke Schmidt (who was recently put on the 15-day I.L.). Not to mention, it was recently reported by manager Aaron Boone that Cole will return to the mound on Wednesday against the Orioles.

Each has been incredibly impressive; they are first in the majors with a 2.90 ERA among their starters. 

Most impressive may be Luis Gil, who has shown flashes of greatness in the past. In the month of May, Gil took home the American League Pitcher of the Month AND American League Rookie of the Month. The right-hander posted the seventh-lowest ERA (0.70) by the Yankees in a calendar month EVER (minimum 30 innings pitched) since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. He went 6-0 with 44 strikeouts in six starts. 

The only problem with the rotation being this amazing might be the hard decision they will need to make when the 2023 Cy Young winner returns. However, most would agree that it isn’t the worst problem to have.

Now, although the top of the order has changed since the beginning of the season. After a 21-game hitting streak earlier this season, it is clear Boone made a good decision by picking the 23-year-old Shortstop Anthony Volpe to take the lead-off spot. Hitting behind him are two of the best hitters in baseball, both leading the league in OPS and SLG%—the dominant duo of Aaron Judge and Juan Soto. 

Each has had terrific starts to the season though Aaron Judge may be the most impressive. After starting the season hitting under .200. He lit up the world in May just like all Yankee fans knew he could. He hit .376 and barreled up 30 balls, which is the most a player had done in a single month since 2015 when the Statcast era began.

Finally the last but definitely not least reason why the yankees have found their way back is their left fielder Juan Soto. 

In 2008, the Yankees finished third in the A.L. East with an 89-73 record, which was heavily due to their “legendary” pitching staff, which was way past its prime.

In 2009, they got a new stadium and a new Ace. This was a 28-year-old C.C. Sabathia, who was a quintessential part of the team’s success in 2009 and would bring #27 to the Bronx.

Fourteen years later, the Yankees would find themselves in a position where, this time, the pitching was there, but hitting struggled to produce. Even though they had amazing hitters, they just needed one more piece. On December 7th, 2023, the Yankees would find that piece after trading for Juan Soto’s elite bat. 

Soto has been hitting .315 with 12 homers. You knew he was going to be great when he walked up to the plate playing the 2009 hit song “Empire State of Mind” by Alica Keys in his first at-bat in Yankee Stadium.  

The only job the Bronx Bombers need to do now is win a championship and sign Juan Soto to an extension. 

As the season continues, time will only tell if the Evil Empire has returned and if it has, how soon the 28th World Championship will hang in the rafters of New Yankee Stadium.


Featured image by Vincent Picone