First Half Awards: New York Yankees

First Half Awards: New York Yankees

by July 22, 2022 0 comments

The first half of the season has concluded for Aaron Boone’s Bronx Bombers and there’s nothing more satisfying than the best record in baseball. It’s safe to say that the Yankees have been firing on all cylinders. Their 3.08 staff ERA ranks third among all teams and their bats have smacked a league-leading 157 dingers. Many questioned the return of Boone this season but it seems that his management has come into play. They own a 13-game lead over the Rays in the AL East and are yet to be thrown overthrown from their kingship. Nonetheless, it’s time to hand out the first-half awards and give props to those who deserve them.

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MVP- Aaron Judge

This was the most straightforward call to make as Judge been on cloud nine. His 33 long bombs tied franchise holder Roger Maris for most home runs in the first half of the season. Judge places third in OPS with a .982 mark behind Yordan Alvarez and Paul Goldschmidt. He hit a rough patch towards the end of the season, yet the series against the Red Sox ended on a high note. In terms of analytics, Judge has improved marginally and his 172 wRC+ places third in the league. Additionally, Judge has modified his stroke at the plate and now pulls the ball at a 47.9 rate. 

Most Improved- Clay Holmes

Throughout his stay with the Pirates, Holmes struggled to find consistency off the mound. Ever since the Yanks recruited him in 2021, the 29-year-old has surfaced as a top reliever in all of baseball. A sub 1.31 ERA ranks first in the bullpen and his stuff has never looked sharper. Only Ryan Helsley (Cardinals) possesses a lower ERA at 0.69. His sinker sits in the high-90s and flaunts a back-door spin which induces the swing-and-miss. Many consider it to be the greatest weapon among relievers. With Aroldis Chapman activated off the IL, it’s unclear as to whether he will return to his role as a closer. Holmes has settled into high-leverage situations and Chapman might not win his spot back.  

Cy YoungGerrit Cole

It’s a tough call between Nestor Cortes and Cole but it’s safe to say that the veteran has the upper hand. Cortes may own a lower ERA, however, Cole beats him in almost every other stat. While he did struggle at the outset of his 2022 campaign, it seems that the 31-year-old has shaped into his Cy Young form. His 3.02 may rank 10th in the AL, but Cole has put away 147 batters. Dylan Cease of the White Sox, with 150 strikeouts, is the only pitcher with a lead over Cole. His whiff rate sits at 32.9% and the former Astro has joined the AL Cy Young campaign.

What Does the Second Half Look Like?

It won’t be easy to repeat their historic streak in the first half, but the second half is looking bright for the Bombers. It’s likely that a couple of top prospects could be called up including shortstop Oswald Peraza and left-hander Ken Waldichuk. In terms of the Yankee lineup, the team as a whole has produced fairly well and it wouldn’t be a long shot to expect the same in the second half. If Judge continues his MVP season and the pitching staff can maintain their prestige, New York is on track for a well-deserving World Series title. 

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Sports Journalist covering MLB, NFL, NBA

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