This season hasn’t even begun and the New York Yankees are already the subject of conversations regarding home run records. However, the Bombers need to learn quickly that home runs aren’t everything in the grand scheme of things.
Look at the New York Yankees lineup. Now look away. Now look back again.
No, it’s not a mirage.
That lineup is chock-full of power hitters who will use the long ball numerous time this coming season.
And it’s not just the big three in Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. Greg Bird has the potential to utilize that short porch in right. Didi Gregorius has emerged as a power threat, as well as Brett Gardner.
Last year, the squad hit 241 home runs and led MLB in long balls. This year, they are already on pace to surpass that with the addition of Stanton to the already stacked lineup.
Home runs are awesome. In fact, the way Judge hits them is absolutely otherworldly. However, home runs are not everything. Sure, they bring in runs but there are so many other factors that go into creating a successful team.
Massive amounts of home runs don’t automatically equal a World Series championship. The last team to lead the league in home runs and win the World Series that same year was the New York Yankees back in 2009. To go back to the last team before that who lead the league in home runs while going on to win the World Series, you have to travel back to 1984 with the Detroit Tigers.
That’s a whole lot of years where power teams did not bring home the trophy at the end of the season. The Yankees may bring in the most home runs but that won’t guarantee them to title No. 28.
Also, many teams that lead the league in home runs don’t necessarily lead the league in runs scored. While the long ball brings in runs quickly, it won’t account for every single run the Yankees put on the board.
For example, the Houston Astros finished second in home runs last season (238) but still managed to outscore the top home run hitting team by 38 runs. Even in past seasons, this trend rings true. The Baltimore Orioles crushed 253 home runs in 2016, yet were ranked 12th in runs scored.
There’s no doubt in my mind that a power show will be on display in the Bronx. After all, when you bring together a group of young individuals with quick strokes and incredible power, magical things are bound to happen. But we can’t automatically assume that means the World Series is headed back to the Bronx.
Power isn’t everything to teams like the New York Yankees. They need players that can hit singles and doubles. They need players that can produce timely hits when they need it most. Those are far better than a few solo home runs that might just pad individual stats.
Fans may disagree but the truth is in the numbers. Just because the Yankees lead the league in home runs does not make them automatic World Series champs. Stanton, Judge and Sanchez are likely to have repeats of last season and that’s great! The difference is that we can’t assume that brings them playoff glory.
The Yankees can feel free to hit all the home runs they want but that won’t mean anything in terms of the major goal: bringing home that trophy.