Yankees' depth a key part to their success

The 2018 New York Yankees have an insane amount of star power, headed by the power-hitting duo of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Baseball fans all over the country know these two names extremely well, and even non-sports fans are becoming familiar with these stars. Both players showed why they have gained their popularity in the Yankees' 6-1 win over the Blue Jays on Opening Day; Stanton made an incredible first impression with two no-doubt home runs, and Judge hit a line-drive double that displayed glimpses of his amazing 2017 season. However, stars like Judge and Stanton are just like any other player; they have games where they perform well and games where they do not. Thankfully, there is so much more to the 2018 Yankees' lineup than just Judge and Stanton, and Aaron Boone's team proved that in last night's 4-2 victory against Toronto. 

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Two players who had tremendous games last night, 3B Brandon Drury and 2B Tyler Wade, were battling for their spots in the starting lineup during Spring Training. Drury won the starting third baseman job over Miguel Andujar, a young prospect who was on fire at the plate this Spring but ultimately needed more time to develop in the minors. As for Wade, he required a monster Spring to make the team, but did just that to earn his spot on the 25-man roster. Wade originally he made the team as a backup infielder/utility player, but after the injury to Greg Bird forced Tyler Austin and Neil Walker into a timeshare at 1B, Wade will see more time at second base.  

Drury and Wade were key contributors both in the field as well as at the plate last night: Wade only went one-for-four, but his one hit was a two-RBI double in the top of the sixth that provided the winning margin. Drury had an incredible game as well, going two-for-three with an RBI double that was just inches short of being a three-run home run, an RBI single and a walk.  Together, the two players drove in all four runs for the Yankees in this game, making up for Judge and Stanton's hitless performances. 
The Yankees displayed how their major league depth extends to the minor leagues as well when they were forced to call up OF Billy McKinney from AAA to replace the injured Aaron Hicks on the 25-man roster, who was placed on the 10-day DL.  Hicks started in center field on Opening Day, so Brett Gardner shifted from left to center field to fill the void and Boone slotted in McKinney in left. At the plate, McKinney only went one-for-four in his Major League debut, but he did pick up his first-ever hit in the MLB with a single in the top of the second. Had Didi Gregorius not been thrown out at the plate after Gary Sanchez's ground ball to third earlier in the inning, McKinney would have collected his first MLB RBI with the hit as well. Still, McKinney was able to follow up an impressive Spring Training with a strong MLB debut and help the Yankees fill the void left by Hick's injury. 

Ultimately, the Yankees' first two victories of the season completely contrast one another and show how different players can be the main contributors to a win each night. While superstar Giancarlo Stanton's two home runs drove New York to a win on Opening Day, some less-recognized names led the Yankees to a second-straight victory last night, those being Brandon Drury and Tyler Wade.  

Of course, the Yankees' starting pitchers also had tremendous outings in both games; Luis Severino pitched five and two third innings on Opening Day in which he only allowed one hit and three walks, and Masahiro Tanaka gave up a single run through six innings of work in game two. The Yankees' combination of great pitching (both starters and relievers) and solid bats (both superstars and depth players) should continue to lead the Yankees to a very exciting, and ultimately successful, season. 
Article by: Aidan Broderick 


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