Feel free to bow down to the likes of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez as the season flies by. However, you might be missing the most important part of the New York Yankees.
Making it to the playoffs is a challenge, in simple terms. The New York Yankees have done so countless times, coming out on top 27 times. The winningest franchise in sports has started the 2018 season off with high hopes and an incredible start.
A lot of the success has to do with an offense that just won’t quit, consistently coming through no matter the deficit they face in the later innings. They continuously fight for their victories while launching timely home runs in the process.
But the success of the Yankees doesn’t just come from the bats of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. No, the success of this team is helped by the underrated depth the Yankees have sitting on their bench.
When it comes to bench players, typically they are not thought of that much. They are just fresh bodies to fill the gap when a player needs a day off. In the case of the New York Yankees, they have potential starters riding the pine and coming in to kill it when called upon.
How many teams can sit there and say that their bench players are reliable when called upon? Entering the game without warming up, sitting for three days and being expected to perform the same as players who take the field every day?
I’ll give you a hint…it’s not many, if any.
The Yankees have a solid backup catcher in Austin Romine, one who has been with the team since 2011. They have a reliable infielder in little guy Ronald Torreyes. They have veteran leader Neil Walker ready to step up when needed.
Romine is batting .340 in 17 games on the season. Torreyes has been a jack of all trades in the field while also posting a .339 batting average, including four hits in his last three games played. Walker has become the reliable rally man for the Yankees, batting .333 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
When these guys enter the game, it isn’t because the Yankees just need someone to plug the holes. No, they enter the game after sitting for days at a time and still manage to perform at a an incredibly high level. That is something that is ridiculously hard for players to do.
While the rest of the team does their job every single day, these bench players have a bit of a different role that they take quite seriously. Romine found himself thrust into the game on Tuesday night after an untimely Gary Sanchez injury. No time to warm up, Romine promptly blasted a two-run home run on a 3-1 count.
Or what about Ronald Torreyes, the guy who sat for the first four games of the season only to come in and start tearing the cover off the ball?
This team itself is unique but their appeal doesn’t just lie in those that get the most starts. Like fine wine, these bench players only get better with age.
Give me these bench players any day over the bigger guys. They may not be high profile names but they come out each time they are called upon and get the job done, almost as though they live and breathe for this role. Which, as of late, it seems like it.
The Yankees have themselves some perfect bench players. They are not only reliable but necessary for this run to their 28th title. A prosperous team requires success up and down the lineup, including their bench players. Luckily, the Yankees have the right tools to make a deep run into October.