It has become clear that if there is a season in 2020, it is going to be a short sprint to the finish, likely in the range of 50-80 games. If a player can get on an extended hot streak, there is a chance for some outstanding final numbers with what is a relatively small sample size compared to a normal major league season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best 50-game stretches that current Yankees have put together during their career.
Giancarlo Stanton’s 2017 was off to good start through 80 games for the Miami Marlins, as he entered the 4th of July holiday hitting .262/.345/.523, with 21 HRs and 50 RBIs. Stanton then went 11 for 27 with five home runs during six road games against the Cardinals and Giants and was on a roll that would carry him to a 59 home run season and the National League MVP.
In the 50 games he played between July 4th and August 30th, Stanton hit .342/.445/.897, which was good for a wRC+ of 235. He also hit 30 home runs in that stretch to get him within reach of the top single season home run totals of all-time. There was not very much good luck involved in these numbers, as Stanton only had a BABIP of .308 during that summer.
Through his first 36 major league games Aaron Judge, was hitting .204/.289/.416. Entering play on April 14th, 2017 there were signs for optimism, as he had just put together a stretch with three home runs in three days earlier that week. Facing the St. Louis Cardinals, that optimism faded a bit as Judge put together an 0-4, 3 K performance. That game still served as the first game of his amazing 50-game stretch that made him the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up.
Starting on April 14th, Judge hit .359/.466/.745 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI over his next 50 games. That production gave him a wRC+ of 217 during that span. According to FanGraphs, 48.7% of the balls that he put in play were classified as “hit hard.” The ability to crush the baseball was also likely a big factor in his .470 BABIP. Judge’s best game came against a team that has provided many players with career highlights over the last three seasons in the Baltimore Orioles. The peak of Judge’s 50-game run was on June 11th, as he went 4 for 4 with two home runs, including his legendary 495 ft blast:
A few years prior to joining the Yankees, DJ LeMahieu won a National League batting title for the Colorado Rockies. In 2016 LeMahieu, aided by 25 games in August where he hit .439, put together the best 50 games of his career.
Heating up in mid-summer, DJ was at his best from July 29th through September 25th, slashing .395/.469/.544. Over that stretch he had at least three hits in a game 10 times. He also struck out just 20 times in 230 plate appearances.
Yankees fans would likely have noticed what DJ was doing during the summer of 2016 if it wasn’t for Gary Sanchez’s emergence that year. Following a sell-off that summer as the Yankees fell from contention, Sanchez emerged as the first player in the next wave of Yankees, instilling confidence that the organization could rebound quickly.
During the 50 games from August 3rd to September 29th, Gary raked to the tune of .309/.385/.686 for a 180 wRC+. He crushed 20 HR with 42 RBI, with most of that damage coming in the first 44 games where he carried a wRC+ of 209. Playing nearly everyday, he faded towards the end of this stretch, going just 1 for 26 over the last six games.
Gleyber Torres has impressed Yankees fans since his debut in April 2018. Last season, he jumped on a 50-game hot streak from April 26th to June 29 where he hit .322/.404/.628. Only five of those games were against Baltimore, but the O’s pitching staff did surrender seven of Torres’s 15 home runs during this stretch. That offensive production was good for a 166 wRC+.
A short 50-game season could lead to some interesting statistics at the end of the season. On the positive side, numerous Yankees have shown the ability to hold a hot streak for 50 games or more. If baseball happens this year, then we could see the chase for some impressive statistical accomplishments.