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New York Yankees Weekly Recap: Offense Explodes, Yankees Start 8-2

During the second week of the 2024 MLB season, the New York Yankees won both of their series, taking two out of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the desert and two out of three from the Toronto Blue Jays in the concrete jungle. The Bombers have begun the season 8-2, which is currently tied with the Cleveland Guardians for the best record in the majors. 


Let’s discuss the good, bad, and ugly of this past week’s action, hand out some weekly awards, and look forward to this week’s games. 


The Good: Order in Court

After a slow start out of the gate over the first series against the Houston Astros, Yankees’ captain Aaron Judge began to find his groove this past week. Judge hit a homer in each series while driving in five runs and walking eight times. After last week’s sluggish start, massive overreaction tweets were circulating that Judge should be sent down to Triple-A because of a minuscule four-game sample size. Perhaps it was just one person on Yankees Twitter overreacting this way, but the man who smashed 62 homers two seasons ago proved them wrong and will only begin to get hotter. With the on-base machine Juan Soto hitting in front of him, Judge will have plenty of opportunities to have men on base throughout the season.  



The Good: Soto Serenaded by Yankee Faithful

Speaking of Soto, the 25-year-old superstar played in front of the home crowd in the Bronx as the Yankees were welcomed home for the first time this season on Friday. Soto hit a bit of a slump this week, as he went just 4-for-22, but that was after he was on fire over the first series. Despite not putting up the best numbers statistically, the former San Diego Padre still did what he does best - worked counts and was selective with his pitches. That selective approach has seemed to wear off on the rest of the lineup, as a big part of the lineup’s success so far has been grinding out long at-bats and knocking pitchers out early. 


Soto has seen an average of over four pitches per plate appearance (4.12) so far this season, while the Yankees as a whole have seen an average of 4.15 pitches per plate appearance. That’s good for second in the majors behind the Los Angeles Angels. Soto wore New York City-themed cleats for Opening Day, which ended in a 3-0 loss for the Yankees. After that loss, the offense went missing, but they exploded again the next two games, scoring 17 total runs. 


The Yankee fans serenaded Soto during roll call and throughout the first home series. He was certainly eating it up and seems to love it in New York. I imagine Brian Cashman is already writing a check for his extension as we speak. 


The Good: Stanton Smashes 

A big part of the Yankees offensive outburst on Saturday and Sunday was a guy Yankees fans were turning on to begin the season. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. While injuries have hampered his Yankees reign, Giancarlo Stanton has been quite underrated by fans and beyond. After going hitless in his first three games of the week, Stanton went 3-for-4 on Saturday with a homer and smashed a grand slam on Sunday as the Yankees won 9-8 and 8-3, respectively. The slugger now has a 121 wRC+ and .773 OPS on the season. He also hit the ball hard like he usually does, with the homers being exit velocities of 100 mph and 110.6 mph. Stanton also ripped a single 116.7 mph on Saturday. 


The Good: Volpe Breakout?

After an up-and-down rookie year in 2023, Anthony Volpe has been on fire to begin his sophomore campaign. Over the past week, the 22-year-old went 10-for-23 (.435) with two doubles, three stolen bases and six runs scored. On the season, Volpe is slashing .424/.486/.606 with a 211 wRC+. The shortstop is also taking notes from Soto as he has seen an average of 4.50 pitches per plate appearance on the season. 



The Bad: Nestor Cortes is Broken

After struggling in his start last week, Nestor Cortes was once again shaky against the Diamondbacks as the Yankees were handed their first loss on Tuesday. The left-hander has lost his unpredictability on the mound, as he was way too predictable in his second start. Cortes served up low-90s meatballs right over the plate to the Arizona hitters like they were hitting off a tee. Overall, at the beginning, he gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings, and the Yankees lost 7-0. The average velocity on his fastball for the season is 91.2 mph, slightly down from last year’s 91.6 mph. He has always been a finesse over velocity, but so far this year he hasn’t been fooling anybody. He hasn’t moved around the zone much, and his secondary stuff in his cutter, sweeper, and occasional changeup have also been flat. 


The Ugly: Jonathan Loáisiga

The Yankees received bad news Saturday as high-octane right-handed reliever Jonathan Loaisiga was ruled out for 10-12 months as he was diagnosed with a partial torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) that will require surgery. The MRI performed on Thursday in New York suggests that Loáisiga could avoid undergoing what would be his second career Tommy John surgery. However, it is still a massive blow to the Yankees bullpen, which was working him up to be a high-leverage late-inning guy after the All-Star Break. The Yankees were prepared to use him in the Michael King-type role, who was traded to the Padres in the Soto deal. That role began him as a multi-inning arm before the break and then transitioned him to the backend while having two days between appearances. Loaisiga might have now thrown his last pitch for the Yankees, as this is the last year of his contract before he heads to free agency. 


Ian Hamilton has been deemed a guy the Yankees will rely heavily on to bridge to closer Clay Holmes. 


Yankees' Weekly MVP: Anthony Volpe

Yankees' Pitcher of the Week: RP Nick Burdi


The Yankees took on reliever Nick Burdi, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, signing him to a minor-league deal before the season. After an impressive spring, the former Chicago Cub won a bullpen spot. He has impressed out of the gate, as he has not given up a run or hit in 3 2/3 innings over five appearances. That included three appearances this week in which he just walked two and hit a batter. However, he did allow a run to come home via a wild pitch with the bases loaded on Friday. If Burdi can stay healthy, he will be a big piece to the bullpen as the Yankees try to manage the loss of Loaisiga.  


What’s Next: vs. Miami Marlins (3), off day, at Cleveland Guardians (3)


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