On July 17, 2021, the Yankees had the math against them. The chances of reaching the postseason according to FanGraph, were 35%, while the odds of winning their division were 7.6% and what to say of winning the World Series, where they only gave them 3.6%.
Before Monday’s action, after 42 days, the Bronx Bombers not only have a 94.7% chance of achieving it, but they are the fifth team with the highest chances of winning the Fall Classic with 9.9%, which is would become the 28th title of the franchise.
The rebound of the Yankees has been one of the great stories of this 2021 season that seems to come to us as one of the best in the history of the Majors.
There are several factors that we can name as responsible for this success and historic comeback. The work of Jonathan Loáisiga is what I choose as one of the first to mention. The man born in Managua, Nicaragua has become not only an ambassador of baseball in his country, where he is very loved and supported every time he takes the mound, but, for his team, Jonathan has been that indispensable piece in the notebook o maybe Aaron Boone’s iPad. Both long relief, situational, coach or closer, Loáisiga seems to shine where they put it.
Management has definitely played a great role in all of this. The correct moves were made at the appointed time. Not only because of Anthony Joey Gallo’s changes, but because of how they safeguarded their best prospects for the past two or three seasons, for today to have the chance to see a Luis Gil pitching with the big team and making history in his first three outings. In addition, firms such as Andrew Velázquez and Greg Allen, have ended up being pleasant surprises and high value transactions in what they have contributed to the team.
Separate paragraph for Aaron Judge, since I believe that “The Judge” has been a pillar for this team. Not only is the six-foot behemoth the best hitter in nearly every offensive department on the roster, but he has assumed his leadership role as no one since Derek Jeter has. When the team hit rock bottom, Judge brought them all together and in a heated gathering, he let his teammates know how disappointing they looked and how much was expected of them. Aaron has led by example and if we are sure of anything, it is that this 2021 has consolidated him as the undisputed face of the Yankees and one of the best in baseball.
The list of factors may be much longer, but I would make this column that I love to bring you too long. However, recognizing the work of Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound and off it, I think is very important. Another thing I don’t want to overlook is Gerrit Cole’s year, who, while he seemed shaky in some starts, is currently in the Cy Young conversation in the AL and with a chance of finishing with a triple pitching crown.
In closing, I leave you with a little more data and analytics. The 2021 Yankees, according to Baseball Reference, have a Pythagorean winning percentage of 70-59, while their true record today is 76-54. And you will say: What is that? Well, Pythagoras’ winning percentage, which I was introduced to by my colleague Daniel Álvarez, is an estimate of a team’s winning percentage given its runs scored and runs allowed. This baseball analytics was developed by Bill James and can tell us when the teams had some luck or bad luck.
Well, yes, after so much suffering, it seems that “good luck” is also with the Yankees, on their way to their 57th postseason appearance, but with the chance to fight the American East Division with Tampa, which all the players mock. forecasts, wallets and game schemes, to be a worthy rival of the famous Bronx Bombers.