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Yankees ride impressive batting to top the MLB standings

Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates with Anthony Rizzo after hitting a home run against the Kansas City Royals.
Aaron Judge celebrates with Anthony Rizzo after hitting a home run against the Kansas City Royals.
ay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Yankee sluggers have returned to peak shape after an uncharacteristically slow start to the season, as first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Aaron Judge have led the team to an MLB-best 16–6 record.

Rizzo, who recently re-signed with the Yankees this offseason for two-years and $32 million, leads the MLB in home runs at 9, while placing second in the league for total on-bases at 52. The 32-year-old’s .675 slugging percentage is good for fifth among eligible batters on the year. 

Judge, meanwhile, overcame his sluggish start to the year, and has hit 7 homers since the team’s contest against the Cleveland Guardians on April 22. His .293/.361/.600 stat line, and his return-to-form has propelled the Bronx Bombers to an 9-game winning streak, after they completed their third-straight sweep against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.

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Aaron Hicks, who recently returned to the team after going on paternity leave, leads the team in batting average (.306) and on-base percentage (.426), as he has provided a crucial bat to the Bronx Bombers.  

DJ LeMahieu, meanwhile, has been among the most consistent players in the league, recording a hit in 15 out of the team’s 21 games.  

The icing on the cake for Yankee fans’ early-season rise to the top of the standings has been the better-than-expected offense from shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, as spectators had linked the team to a number of high-powered free agents like Carlos Correa, but ultimately stuck with the defensive minded Kiner-Falefa. So far in the season, he has posted the second-best batting average on the team at .302, while recording a respectable 19 hits in 63 at-bats. 

Along with those impressive batting numbers in the Bronx, the team’s pitching staff has steadily improved as the season progresses — with ace righty Gerrit Cole looking like the star pitcher that his preseason expectations suggested he would be. 

The team will next head to Toronto for a series against the Blue Jays beginning on Monday, and Boone told reporters that all of the Pinstripe-wearing players have received the COVID-19 vaccine — which is mandated to cross the border into Canada. 

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