The Yankees have historically owned postseason baseball, but they took a year off in 2016. Now that they're back playing in October once more, let's take a look back at the route that got them here.
That's right, it's the guy you know and love for setting rookie records ... for walks. Yup, Aaron Judge and his 124 walks broke Bill Joyce's 1890 record for most walks in a season by a rookie.
OK, fine, he's on here for the dingers. The giant dingers. The glorious dingers. The fiftieth dinger that broke Mark McGwire's record for most home runs in a season by a rookie. It's not often that a first-year player can become the star of the Bronx Bombers, and yet, here we are.
Under The Radar Star
Aaron Hicks is a switch-hitter with some decent pop and a glove that can play anywhere around the outfield. That's a skillset that any team dreams of. This year, Hicks has been far more than a complementary piece, though -- he's posted career highs in OPS, home runs and runs ... and then does things like this:
Re-sculpting a 25-man roster can be a key moment in any contender's season -- and for the Yankees, it certainly was. A massive mid-summer trade netted the team third baseman/meme master Todd Frazier and relievers Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson from the White Sox. Other moves brought top-of-the-rotation guy Sonny Gray from the A's and lefty starter Jaime Garcia from the Twins.
The Weirdest Moment
Every team needs something to rally behind: A goofy dance. A funny tee-shirt. The Yankees were lucky enough that one fan -- Gary Dunaier -- gave the team this moment. After Frazier hit an RBI single, Gary offered his assessment of the play with a simple and succinct thumbs-down ... and it became a thing.
Frazier mimicked it himself the next day:
Strange, but also pretty fun.
The Longest Dinger
It shouldn't surprise you to hear that the Yankees are responsible for the two most jaw-dropping homers of the season. On June 11, Judge stepped up and clubbed a shot to left field that traveled a mind-boggling 495 feet. Just, wow.
The second-longest homer of the season, then, belongs to Judge's partner in baseball demolishing, Gary Sanchez, whose Aug. 22 blast fell short of Judge's by just two feet. So close.
This season's Yankees are a formidable bunch. Will that translate into more October glory for one of baseball's most storied franchises? We'll find out soon enough.
But that's just one opinion: For another take on the Yankees' season, check out the Cespedes Family BBQ video at the top of the post.
Tune in to see the Yankees take on the Twins in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on ESPN.