Just a few years ago, the Yankees were the team with all the veteran players, and an average age well over 30. Those days are over, and the current squad is made up of many players who have their whole careers ahead of them. However, there are still plenty of Yankees who are approaching career milestones. Last week, I focused on the pitchers, so let’s take a look at the achievements that Yankees position players could reach this year.
Ellsbury is currently out of action with an oblique strain, and at best, appears to be the team’s fourth outfielder. He hasn’t lived up to the massive contract that the Yankees awarded him with prior to the start of the 2014 season. When I think back on Ellsbury in fifteen years, what will probably stand out the most to me (other than the contract) are the many, many bases he has been awarded due to catcher’s interference. He already owns the personal best for 12 instances of CI in one season (2016). At the end of 2017, he passed Pete Rose on the all-time list with 30. I don’t think anyone will be threatening his record anytime soon, but we should see him increase that lead this season, if he can find some playing time.
This will be Gardner’s eleventh season in the majors. He has been extremely reliable out in left field (other than the 2012 elbow injury), so it makes sense that he is coming up on several franchise milestones. He is entering this season with 1,218 games played as a Yankee, and should easily move up into the 25th spot in the franchise, right behind Robinson Cano. Gone are the days of Gardy stealing 40+ bases in a season, but he only needs to swipe eleven more bags to move into the third spot in the franchise, just above Willie Randolph. Gardner is also just four away from 500 career walks.
I’m not sure if you heard the news, but Giancarlo Stanton is a Yankee. After hitting a whopping 59 home runs last season, he now has 267 career home runs. That puts him tied for 191st on the all-time home run list, along with Chris Davis, Mike Napoli, and George Hendrick. This might not sound terribly impressive, but many of the players around 191 on the list have played double the games that Stanton has played, or reached this point at a much older age. He will move up into the top 150 if he hits even half as many home runs as he did last year.
In his first full season with the Yankees, Aaron Judge hit 52 home runs. That gives him 56 home runs through 182 total games. He already sits in the 71st spot in the franchise, in a two-way tie with Carlos Beltran. Judge should easily crack the top 50 this year. Combined with Stanton, the pair could even hit 100 home runs.