If someone before the season told you what the Yankees record on this date was, it shouldn’t have shocked you that much. They won 100 games last year, and the roster was largely the same. Maybe they’re on pace to win a few more games than you thought, but probably not too many.
What has been surprising is the manner in which they’ve done it. The Yankees have dealt with massive injuries nearly all season. At no point this have they had what their theoretical full strength lineup was coming into 2019. Didi Gregorius started the season on the IL. By the time he came back, a chunk of players were on it. As some of them returned, different players went in the other direction. Even mid-season acquisition Edwin Encarnacion has run into injury troubles.
What’s carried this team through all that injury adversity has been the contributions from players that went into the season just as depth. Gio Urshela came into the season as a “break in case of emergency” player in the minors. Mike Tauchman was added just days before the regular season because the Yankees needed an extra outfielder. Cameron Maybin wasn’t even in the organization. All three and others have been excellent for the Yankees.
Just how good has the Yankees’ depth been? Here are three records the team isn’t far away from.
Record #1: Most players with 10+ home runs
If this record sounds familiar, it’s because the Yankees just set it last season. Flash forward a year, and they’re in with a chance to set the bar even higher. There are currently 11 Yankees who have reached double-digit home runs. That is one behind the 12 who reached that total for the 2018 Yankees.
It seems almost certain that the Yankees will at least tie this record, with a good shot at breaking it or extending it quite a bit. Mike Ford is the closest to be the next to reach 10, as he currently has nine. He’s been hot of late, so he could very well do it in the next couple days. Encarnacion also has nine since joining the Yankees. If he gets healthy by the end of the year, you would figure he could hit at least one more homer.
Even besides those two, Cameron Maybin is close with eight. Austin Romine has six. Giancarlo Stanton is only at one, but if he gets back, he has the ability to just go nuts and hit nine in a short burst. It seems more likely than not that the Yankees can break this record.
They may not be the only team to do it, however. The Twins also currently have 11 players with at least 10 home runs. They don’t have quite as many other players as close to the mark as the Yankees do, though.
Record #2: Most players with a 100 or greater OPS+
For those unfamiliar with OPS+, players at 100 in the stat are league average. The Yankees currently have 17 hitters at the mark, which is one below the team with the most ever: the 1982 Pirates.
That 17 includes the likes of those who have played all season such as Gleyber Torres, and those who have spent time on the IL, like Giancarlo Stanton. Still, it’s fairly rare for a team to go that deep with hitters who have contributed at least on a league average level, and the Yankees are currently one of the best ever.
As for whether they can break it, there is currently one Yankees not terribly far away from also getting over 100: Thairo Estrada. He currently sits at 93. If he comes back up in September and has a couple good games, he could become the 18th. On the other hand, Aaron Hicks, and Didi Gregorius are both currently barely over the mark. Their talent level is obviously better than than that, so you would figure they won’t dip below average, barring a poor stretch of form. There’s a chance the Yankees tie this record, but it’s hard to see who could potentially be a 19th player to break it.
Record #3: Most home runs from the catcher’s spot
This is mostly a Gary Sanchez record, but the fact that the Yankees are close with him missing so much time shows something. One is that Sanchez is a very good hitter. The other is that the Yankees have depth; as mentioned, Romine has hit a decent amount of homers for a backup catcher.
The record is currently held by the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, whose catchers hit 43 home runs as a team. Sanchez, Romine, and Kyle Higashioka, currently have 32 while playing at the spot. Getting 12 more between them could be a tough ask, but Sanchez especially has the power to carry them.
This could be another one that they break, but don’t become the all-time leaders. Surprise, surprise, but the Twins are ahead of the Yankees. Minnesota’s catcher have hit 37 home runs combined, and seems likely to surpass Brooklyn’s mark at some point.
None of these records are particularly famous or can be remembered without looking up. However, they’re all quite impressive for a team that’s dealt with as many injuries as the Yankees have.