It’s been a long time since “Murderers’ Row” was used to describe the New York Yankees.
Ninety years after Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig earned the nickname, the Bronx is witnessing a rebirth.
Supposedly in a rebuilding year, nobody knew what the Baby Bombers — Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird — would do in a full season after stellar debuts last year. Instead of suffering growing pains and looking toward tomorrow, the AL East-leading Yanks (entering Monday) are one of baseball’s most explosive teams.
Entering Monday, the Bombers are ranked second in the majors, behind the Washington Nationals, in runs per game (5.66), and batting average (.270), third in RBIs (218) and fourth in home runs (63).
That’s not all. These Yankees are just behind their “Murderers’ Row” predecessors in an advanced statistic: weighted runs created plus (wRC+). The advanced metric takes into account how a team hits and runs the bases, with league and ballpark factor considered. The Yanks’ wRC+ of 119 (19 percent higher than the MLB average), entering Monday ranks them in the top five with the 1930 Yankees and just behind their 1927 and 1931 predecessors for highest wRC+ in baseball history.
The current Yanks also are on pace to surpass the franchise-record 245 home runs swatted in 2012. Through the first 41 games, they’ve hit 63 — a major league-leading 15 by Judge.
The ’27 Yanks are one of the greatest teams in baseball history. They had six players hit over .300, three of them over .350 (Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Earle Combs) and finished 110-44 before sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series.
The 2017 version seems to be on a similar pace and, if they can keep it up, could become “Murderer’s Row 2.0.”