The Yankees are 51-18. They scored the most kicks in baseball (they tied with the Mets, but did so in two fewer games), and allowed the fewest. Whatever your expectations for this club’s entry into the season, they’ve exceeded them – and then some.
He’s tied for the third-best start in team history with 69 games – all 1928, 39 and 98 editions won the World Championships, which is noteworthy – and that means more to this club than it might to others, given the endlessly long string of successes at Yankee. Which dates back a century. With that said, just forget the history of New York; It tied for the ninth best start in 69 games by any AL or NL team, ever. All the teams that preceded them made the playoffs. Four of them won the world championship.
Given that we’ve got into the season more deeply than you think — about 43% of the Yankees’ schedule is already running — it’s not really too early to ask the question that Yankees fans either expect or fear, depending on where you fit on the fan spectrum. Drops:
Does the 116-win record set by the Mariners in 2001 come into play? What does it take to get there?
Well check. Everything is possible. After beating Tampa Bay 5-4 on Wednesday night, they are on track for 120 wins. Of course, “on pace” isn’t really the right way to look at this, because you can’t assume that It happened What is it will happen. These 01 sailors, for example, started 53-16 through 69, two games better than these Yankees. They did not reach 120.
It is important to think about what that means. For one thing, the Yankees have so far been healthy; While the Bullpen have suffered some blows, notably this year’s loss to Chad Green, the only notable player’s trips to the injured list have been a short 10-day stay in May from Giancarlo Stanton (ankle) and Josh Donaldson (shoulder). How long will it take, for the oldest lineup in the Majors?
On the other hand, it’s not terribly likely that Aaron Judge, as cool as he sounded, will actually make it to 62 Homers. Anthony Rizzo probably won’t make it to 45, because he’s on his way. There is absolutely nothing in Jose Trevino’s history to suggest that 137 OPS+ is a reasonable expectation for him over the course of an entire year.
This works the other way too of course; You might reasonably expect more from Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo than you’ve seen. You imagine Brian Cashman is going to make the kind of Trade Deadline acquisition that we can’t anticipate just yet. Then again, if they still hold a significant lead in the AL East by September, you can also see them focus more on comfort shooters like Nestor Curtis Jr. and Jameson Tellon than they do at breaking any particular records.
Think of it this way: We’ve really learned two things about the Yankees, so far. We learned a little bit about the players on the list… and Many About the fact that they have already had 51 wins through 69 matches. Those don’t go away, no matter what happens. If you thought the remainder of the 2022 season was going to be a new opening day, today, the Yankees aren’t 0-0. They are between 51 and 18 years old. It’s a great place to start. So what’s next?
What do they need to get to 116 – or higher?
At a 51-18 win ratio of .739, the Yankees have 93 games left. To tie the Mariners’ 2001 record of 116, they must go 65-28, with a win ratio of 0.699. To set a new record of 117, they would need to go 66-27, with a win percentage of 709.
To be honest, that doesn’t sound unreasonable. Since 2000, the team has had 93 games in a season with a win percentage of at least 0.700 times, depending on how you want to calculate the overlap periods. 2017 Dodgers did it. So did the Cardinals in 2004, these 01 sailors, and the Parents in both 2001 and 2002, and so on. The Yankees themselves did it in 1998 and 1997, and many more times. It is rare, but not unprecedented.
However, here’s the problem, and it’s a huge problem. Only four teams in the last 50 years – 2001 A, 93 Braves, 77 Royals and ’75 Reds – have done this. to end the season. That’s likely for all the reasons we mentioned above, around rest and injuries late in the season. It’s hard to start off a good season. It’s hard to end a season like this.
The Yankee’s best team in over 93 games was the legendary 1927 Bomber, who finished 66-27 (.710). So, to break the all-time winning record, they don’t just need a historic start. They need a historical ending, too.
What happened to the other teams that started like this?
One problem with looking at other teams that started 51-18 (.739) or better through 69 games, and that’s simple: very few teams have ever done that! Just a dozen, and many of them came in a pre-merger era which hardly seems comparable to today’s game. This is especially true if you remember that until 1969, finishing first meant you went straight to the World Championships. There were absolutely no pre-series playoffs, which today’s Yankees wouldn’t be able to take advantage of.
So, instead of worrying about post-season success, let’s just take a look at those 12 teams, and compare their performances in their first 69 games, and then beyond. (Remember that until 1961, the season was only 154 games.)
.809 to 69 // .578 rest of the year // -.231
.779 to 69 // .704 rest of the year // -.075
.768 to 69 // .677 rest of the year // -.091
.765 to 69 // .655 rest of the year // -.110
.754 to 69 // .659 rest of the year // -095
.754 to 69 // .642 rest of the year // -.112
.754 to 69 // .576 rest of the year // -178
.742 to 69 // .655 rest of the year // -087
.739 to 69 // .677 rest of the year // -.062
.739 to 69 // .570 rest of the year // -169
.739 to 69 // .560 rest of the year // -179
.739 to 69 // .536 rest of the year // -203
So: each one alone Of the dozens of teams that got off to a great start, they played worse for the rest of the year, averaging -133 win percentages, which is a good reminder of how difficult all this is. The good news, of course, is that every single one of them still plays winning baseball. Cumulatively, they played with a win percentage of 0.624, or a 101-win pace during a 162-game season.
If the Yankees did just that—playing 0.624 balls the rest of the way—they would win 109 games. It will not put any logs. It will still be a very impressive regular season.
What do the forecasts say?
We like projections – systems like ZiPS, Steamer, or Bat – because they take into account the player’s past performance. Again, using Trevino as an example, you can’t assume that his 124 board appearances this year are just “what it is now,” ignoring the below-average 519 appearances he posted entering the season. (Although we did find evidence of his changes to be compelling.)
Expectations, of course, are not perfect. They can’t tell what future injuries are coming, or what occupations will reshape the roster. Then again, we can’t. As a 2017 study in FanGraphs found, at least at a 50-game point per season, looking at pre-season predictions to predict win percentage for the rest of the season, they have always performed better than team win percentage thus far.
Of course, we can do better. We don’t need pre-season predictions. We know what the Yankees have done so far, and that’s important. So do expectations. And so, this is what they are currently saying:
If the Yankees continue to play just as they did, it will be a 120-win team. If they finish like all the other Great Start teams, they’ll be a team that wins 109. If they finish like the forecast says, they’ll be at 103. We humans, using gut testing, think they’ll finish strong, but at least one of the injury-prone hitters will miss a lot more time than They have so far. They will fall short of the all-time winning record, by an appropriate amount.
Did not matter. They’ll have one of the first two rounds of the playoffs, putting them in a good position to advance to that 28th championship, the first – if they get it – since 2009. That, in the end, is what will determine the success (or not) of the 2022 Yankees. Perhaps a record winning total wouldn’t be significant without that ring. Just ask, after all, the 2001 sailors.