Will Yankees ride home-run bats to playoff success?


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Everyone digs the long ball — but few more than these New York Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers are hitting the ball out of the stadium at an alarming rate this year, led by Aaron Judge’s league-leading 25 jacks and Anthony Rizzo’s 19 — he added one on Monday night.

Through 67 games, the Yankees have hit 111 home runs, and they are on pace to hit 268 for the season, which would be the second-most in a season in Yankees history and slot them fifth all-time in a single season, behind the 2019 Minnesota Twins (307), 2019 Yankees (306), 2019 Houston Astros (288) and 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers (279 — clearly, 2019 was the year to go yard).

Currently, in fifth place are the 2018 Yankees (267).

The 2022 Yankees’ 1.66 home runs per game are on pace to be the second-highest in team history since 1901. They averaged 1.89 HR per game in 2019.

Furthermore, the Yankees’ top four HR per game rates in team history have all come since 2018 — but in none of those years did they win a world title (they lost in the ALDS twice and the ALCS once). 

So how does hitting the heck out of the ball translate to postseason success?

Since 2010, the team that led the league in regular-season home runs has only once won the World Series — the 2020 Dodgers, who hit 118 homers in the pandemic-shortened, 60-game regular season.

In 2010, the Toronto Blue Jays missed the playoffs after hitting 257 regular-season jacks, and in 2013, the Baltimore Orioles did the same despite hitting 212 homers in 162 games.

Most recently, in 2021, the Blue Jays hit 262 homers in the regular season and missed the postseason.

However, every team from 2010-2021 has won at least 85 games (except for the 2020 Dodgers due to the pandemic-shortened season), and eight of the 12 teams won at least 90 games. 

Two of those teams won 100 games — the 2019 Twins and the 2018 Yankees.

At 50-17 (.746), the Yankees are on pace for 120 wins, which would break the current 162-game MLB record of 116 wins shared by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners.

In addition, at only 67 games, this is the fastest the Yankees have reached 50 wins since 1998, when they also started 50-17 and went on to win the World Series.

This year’s version of the Yankees will presumably follow the lead of the teams that have hit the most homers over the past 12 years. 

But the postseason is a different beast. And only time will tell if their bats stay hot.

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