An extended injury to our king, leader and most promising talent since Derek Jeter, Aaron Judge, was supposed to be checkmate for the 2019 Yankees.
The Yankees are not just winning in spite of catastrophic injuries to Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Troy Tulowitzki, Miguel Andújar, Luis Severino and Dellin Betances. They are winning in spite of injuries to these players’ replacements.
Even the return of Gary Sanchez from the injured list (IL) on April 24 was met with more doom and gloom as breakout backup third baseman Gio Urshela (hand), super utility man DJ LeMahieu (knee) and left fielder Clint Frazier (ankle) all went down with injuries in the days following.
An opening day infield that consisted of Andújar, Tulowitzki, Torres and Bird now consists of Tyler Wade, Gleyber Torres, rookie Thairo Estrada and everyone’s new favorite Yankee, Luke Voit, who has all but secured the Yankees first base job, batting .277 while leading the team with nine home runs and is second in the American League with 26 RBI’s.
The only non-injured starters that remain are Torres, Sanchez and Voit.
Despite all of these injuries, the New York Yankees have been one of the hottest teams in the majors. 7-3 over their last ten outings, they have propelled themselves to one of the best records in all of baseball at 17-13.
Some noteworthy names from this impressive run are Domingo Germán, Wade, Estrada and the most recent patient in the Yankee’s ward, Urshela.
Now in his third year in the majors, pitcher Domingo Germán seems to have figured it out. Currently tied for the league lead in wins (5), Germán is sporting a sensational 2.56 ERA. At first glance, it seems as if Germán worked with injured star Luis Severino in the offseason – his hand placement, arm angle and release point draw a striking resemblance, something that seems to have paid off. If only we had them both.
In 18 games played, speedster Tyler Wade has put together a nice start to the year batting .208 with five RBI’s and five stolen bases. The 24-year-old has seen major improvement in his game since he’s been given the opportunity to play consistently.
Rookie infielder Thairo Estrada has been turning heads ever since he was called up out of pure desperation on April 21. He has gone 6-20 with an RBI and a stolen base in five games in pinstripes. Barring the injury status of Gregorius and Andújar, Estrada could find himself being a crucial part of this team moving forward.
The excitement surrounding the Yankees recent success has provided some distraction from the greatest concern on this team, the health of right fielder Aaron Judge. What appeared to be a normal swing on April 14 against the White Sox, ended up being a “pretty significant” oblique strain, an injury that will require at least six weeks to recover. The acquisition of veteran Cameron Maybin from Cleveland will help bolster their depleted outfield for the time being, but the void left in the Judge’s Chambers is something that certainly will be felt by Yankee fans for the duration of his absence.
This is certainly not the Yankee team we expected to see on the field this season, let alone in April. Despite all the injuries, Yankee fans are quickly falling in love with this hodgepodge team built on grit and toughness.
You really can’t be disappointed when this team loses because of how undermanned they are. But the thing is, they don’t lose. They just keep plugging away, finding ways to tally up those wins. That’s what makes this team so exciting.
Tread water, get healthy and dominate the summer. Accomplish these tasks and this surprisingly brilliant start to the Yankee season could be just the spark this team needs to propel them back to baseball’s pinnacle.