In case you have been living under a rock since the start of the 2017 MLB regular season, the New York Yankees are playing some of the best baseball in the majors.
In fact it can be argued that they have been the best team of the early season.
And a major part of that success, which cannot be argued, has been the production of their towering outfielder, 25-year old Aaron Judge.
As of today (May 10th), Judge has posted an impressive statline of .317/.413/.760 to start the season.
Judge leads the majors in homeruns (13), is 2nd in slugging percentage (.760), 4th in runs (28) and 5th in on-base plus slugging (1.173)
Judge is already smashing records, literally. Last month he crushed a homer that traveled at 119.4-mph setting the record for hardest-hit homer since MLB’s Statcast system began keeping those numbers back in 2015 and averages around 406 feet-a-dinger.
It has landed Judge on the cover of Sports illustrated.
Judge is putting together an MVP season and his fast start has overshadowed the performances that Yankees’ catcher Gary Sanchez put together at the end of the 2016 regular season, which landed him as a runner up to the AL Rookie of the Year award.
In 53 games played during the 2016 campaign, Sanchez batted .299 with 20 homers and 42 RBIs.
Sanchez just returned to the Yankee lineup after missing most of the start of the season, and is starting to gradually get on track.
And that is scary for the rest of the American League; the Yankees could be getting better.
What’s even scarier is that the Yankees have two home-grown superstars in the making who are 25 (Judge) and 24 (Sanchez) years old and still have a rich and talented farm system that includes names like Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield.
Sheffield may get his shot if CC Sabathia continues to struggle, but one thing is for sure, the Yankees have found their franchise players and did so without spending billions in free agency, a tactic that has been the “Yankee way” in recent years.
Sanchez has shown a comfort with his success that speaks volumes in regards to his longevity playing in New York.
Judge, is showing a humble attitude despite his hot start and comparisons to Yankees legends such as Derek Jeter.
Judge hasn’t looked into an apartment just yet, crashing with teammate Bret Gardner.
“I don’t want to put all my cards that I’m going to be in New York and then I go to Triple A.” he told Sports Illustrated.
“Maybe next year, if everything goes well.”
And about the bright lights of New York City?
“I have a very short window to play this game,” Judge says. “The last thing I want to do is waste it being out on the town. I want to get every ounce I can out of my body.”
If things continue to go well the Yankees could be looking at another pair of generational players that impact a franchise in a historic way.
And the Yankees have seen it before. They saw it with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. They saw it with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Some may even argue they saw a bit of it with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, despite A-Rod’s transgressions.
The Yankees hit the jackpot with the famed ‘Core 4’, back in the 1990s and early 2000s (as well as 2009), but they may be on to a richer bounty with Judge, Sanchez and their other crop of young, elite talent that is just waiting for their chance.
As many Yankee writers and fans approached the 2016 season it was with an eye on 2018 and 2019 when the Yankees would, once again, chase big money potential free agents such as Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
That was the assumed plan. It was expected.
And although it may be still in the cards, the Yankees no longer have to walk to the table “all in” with hundreds of millions of dollars ready to spend lavishly, because the Yankees may have already found their franchise guys, in their own system, and retaining them may be the big-ticket contracts they square away.
Sure, it’s early in the season, but the Yankees have to be on Cloud 9 with how things have gone so far, just like Yankee fans are.
And for anyone sitting up there on Cloud 9, I hope you brought a glove, because Aaron Judge might hit one up there someday.