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The first few weeks of the Juan Soto era could not be going better for the New York Yankees. Sunday's beatdown of the admittedly terrible Chicago White Sox (NYY 7, CWS 2) was New York's seventh consecutive win. It's the team's first seven-game winning streak since September 2022. The Yankees have the best record (33-15) and run differential (plus-79) in the American League.

"We've just been clicking on all cylinders," utility man Jon Berti said after going deep in Sunday's win (via "Starting pitching, bullpen, offense, defense. It's just been a lot of fun when you're playing baseball like that."

The Yankees have won seven straight and are playing as well as they have primarily because Soto is incredible and Aaron Judge has gotten his season on track after a slow start. You have a chance to win every day with those two in the lineup. Also, Carlos Rodón has rebounded from a nightmare debut season in pinstripes. Sunday's win gives him a 3.27 ERA in 10 starts.

Six times during the winning streak, the Yankees have held their opponent to two runs or fewer, and they are allowing only 3.21 runs per game in 2024. That's the best mark in baseball and 0.22 runs better than the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees allow the fewest runs per game and score the fifth-most runs per game (4.85). That's a great combination.

The Yankees are piling up wins early in the season because they are a run prevention powerhouse and because their star hitters are hitting like stars. Here now are four other reasons the Yankees have gotten off to the hot start they needed after last year's disappointing 82-80 season, New York's worst record in three decades.

1. Gil and Schmidt have leveled up

Luis Gil
NYY • SP • #81
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A year ago, Gerrit Cole won the AL Cy Young by posting a 2.93 ERA and averaging 6.33 innings per start. All other Yankee starters had a 5.06 ERA and averaged 4.74 innings per start. So, when Cole went down with nerve inflammation in his elbow this spring, it was fair to think the Yankees were in big trouble. No team can afford to lose its ace, especially the Yankees after 2023.

Rather than wilt, New York's rotation has risen to the challenge without Cole. Starters have a 3.00 ERA, third best in baseball, and they're averaging 5.63 innings per start. That's seventh best in baseball. Rodón has been very good and is getting better as the season progresses, and veterans Nestor Cortes and Marcus Stroman have been solid just about each time out.

New York's best starters this season have not been the veterans though. Youngster Luis Gil, who replaced Cole in the rotation, and former first-round pick Clarke Schmidt have taken that next step and become rotation mainstays. Gil struck out 14 White Sox this past Saturday, setting a new franchise single-game record for strikeouts by a rookie.

Gil had Tommy John surgery in May 2022 and did not pitch in the big leagues in 2023 as he completed his rehab. The Yankees reassigned him to minor-league camp early this spring, then Cole got hurt and Gil impressed enough in a late March audition to win the rotation spot. He's allowed two runs total in his last four starts and has gone at least six innings in all four.

The Yankees reportedly pursued Blake Snell in March and Gil's game is very Snell-like. He walks more batters than you'd like -- he's walked 13.6% of batters faced, second most among qualified starters -- but he makes up for it by being a premium bat-misser and by being so hard to hit in general. Gil is holding opponents to a .152 average. Only Dylan Cease (.137) is better.

Schmidt, meanwhile, made 32 starts in 2023 and was league average-ish in his first year as a full-time rotation member. Through nine starts this season, Schmidt has a 2.49 ERA and one of the biggest year-over-year strikeout rate increases in baseball. Here are the largest strikeout rate increases among pitchers with at least 150 innings in 2023 and 50 innings in 2024:

2023 K%2024 K%Change

Brady Singer, Royals




Clarke Schmidt, Yankees




Dylan Cease, Padres




Logan Gilbert, Mariners




Jon Gray, Rangers




In his most recent start, Schmidt threw eight shutout innings against the Minnesota Twins. It was the first time in his MLB career he completed seven innings, let alone eight. The cutter Schmidt picked up last spring has become a go-to weapon and his breaking ball spin rates have always ranked among the best in the league. He's learned how to turn the spin into outs.

Gil and Schmidt have combined to average 5.54 innings per start and that's even with Gil being on a pitch count early in the season as he continued his spring build up. They have a 2.44 ERA. The underlying numbers are not quite that good, though they are very good: 3.29 FIP and 3.34 xERA. Gil and Schmidt have gone from not even being assured rotation spots to being stalwarts.

2. Stanton is bouncing back

Giancarlo Stanton
NYY • DH • #27
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At age 34, the MVP version of Giancarlo Stanton is likely never coming back, though the Yankees do need more from him than the .202/.286/.442 line he put together from 2022-23 (.191/.275/.420 in 2023). To that end, Stanton slimmed down over the winter -- he was too bulky and muscular, not out of shape -- and also slightly changed his hand position during his setup at the plate.

Nearly two months into 2024, Stanton owns a .252/.301/.516 batting line with 11 home runs, including five in his last 10 games. Statcast's new bat-tracking data tells us Stanton leads baseball in bat speed and not by a small margin either:

  1. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees: 80.2 mph
  2. Oneil Cruz, Pirates: 77.9 mph
  3. Kyle Schwarber, Phillies: 77.1 mph
  4. Christopher Morel, Cubs: 76.7 mph
  5. Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves: 76.7 mph
    (MLB average: 72.0 mph)

Stanton is the showing the traits we often see in aging hitters who sacrifice contact and on-base ability for damage (think late-career Albert Pujols), namely a career-low walk rate and the highest strikeout and chase rates since very early in his career. This is more or less what Stanton's skills allow him to be now, a 30-homer bat whose on-base percentage will hover around .300.

You don't want that guy as your best or second-best hitter, but as your No. 5 hitter behind Soto and Judge? That can work. It's also a heck of a lot better than what Stanton gave the Yankees the last two years. Make your pitch and you'll get him out. Make a mistake though, and Stanton's a threat to hit it off the scoreboard. For the first time since 2021, he's dangerous in the box.

3. Weaver has become a bullpen force

Luke Weaver
NYY • RP • #30
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The Yankees are one of baseball's best at building bullpens and have been for several years now. There have been times it seemed like they could pull someone out of the bleachers and get 50 innings with a sub-3.00 ERA. This year, the Yankees have the lowest bullpen ERA (2.49) and highest bullpen win probability added (4.02) in baseball. Another year, another great Yankees bullpen.

New York's latest bullpen revelation is Luke Weaver, who had a 6.40 ERA in 123 2/3 innings for three teams last year, including the Yankees after a September waiver claim. They re-signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract over the winter with the intention of making him a full-time reliever. Weaver never got stretched out this spring nor was given the opportunity to replace Cole.

There were reasons to believe Weaver could be a sneaky-good depth addition, namely his revived cutter and versatility. He quickly became manager Aaron Boone's go-to setup reliever ahead of closer Clay Holmes. Weaver has a 2.25 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in 28 innings spanning 16 appearances, and his last 10 appearances have been out of this world: 17 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 23 K.

Weaver regularly gets 4-6 outs and hitters have missed with 43.3% of their swings against his changeup, the highest changeup whiff rate in baseball (minimum 100 changeups thrown). This is what the Yankees do. They cobble together a group of non-roster invitees and scrap heap pitchers, and turn it into one of the game's best bullpens. Weaver is this year's find.

4. The bottom of the order has stepped up

Jose Trevino
NYY • C • #39
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Last season, the Yankees ranked 29th in batting average (.227) and 27th in on-base percentage (.304). Their offense was Judge, who missed two months with a toe injury after crashing into the Dodger Stadium wall, and Gleyber Torres. That was it. They had no offensive depth and the lineup was loaded with easy outs. The 2023 Yankees were very easy to pitch to.

That is no longer case thanks primarily to Soto and Alex Verdugo, the two big offseason additions, and also because the guys at the bottom of the lineup have been so much better and more competitive. Berti and Oswaldo Cabrera have done fine work filling in for the injured DJ LeMahieu and the catchers -- Jose Trevino and rookie Austin Wells -- have been very productive.

Look at what the Yankees have gotten out of their 7-8-9 hitters this season:

Yankees 7-8-9MLB rankMLB average 7-8-9

Batting average




On-base percentage




Slugging percentage








Trevino in particular has been outstanding. The 2022 All-Star is a defense-first backstop and he missed the second half of last year with wrist surgery. He started this season in a 1 for 18 skid too. Since April 13 though, Trevino is 24 for 70 (.343) with more homers (five) than strikeouts (four). This is the sort of out-of-nowhere production the Yankees just did not get in 2023.

And maybe it won't continue. Maybe Gil and Schmidt are peaking early and will come back to Earth as the innings pile up. Maybe Stanton will get hurt again. Maybe Weaver is a May mirage. It's entirely possible. We only need to look back to the 2022 Yankees to know it's not how you start, it's how you finish. That team started 49-16, finished 50-47, and then got swept in the ALCS.

The wins are in the bank though and that's all you can do at this point in the season. The more you win now the easier life is later in the season. Bottom line, the Yankees have the league's best record without the reigning Cy Young winner throwing a pitch.