ANAHEIM — The Yankees enter what will be a busy Monday on a bit of a hot streak. During their five-game winning streak, they’ve outscored Boston and Baltimore 55-9, hitting 17 homers over that span while compiling a 1.60 team ERA.
Here’s what’s on tap:
1. The Judge Heads West
Aaron Judge just had an unreal weekend in which he went 7-for-10, broke the Statcast record for exit velocity (121.1 mph) and hit a 495-foot bomb. He’s now cleared the injured Mike Trout for the MLB lead in WAR, and his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is a staggering .432. Judge has also dropped his strikeout rate from 44.2 percent to 28.1 percent. Maybe he’s due for a regression, but he also hits the ball harder than anyone, so who knows.
It’s unfortunate that Trout is out because those two facing off at Angels Stadium would’ve made for a compelling storyline. Nevertheless, the conversation with the 25-year-old Judge continues to progress. Making the team? Rookie of the Year? Home Run Derby? All-Star? MVP? Now, it’s Triple Crown and the Yankees’ all-time single-season record for homers (he’s on-pace for 57, four short of Roger Maris). And why not? This has been a wild ride, and who’s to say when and where it will stop.
2. Tonight’s Draft
The Yankees will pick No. 16 overall in the first round of the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Here’s a look at some of their most recent top picks:
2016: Blake Rutherford (18): The 20-year-old centerfielder is hitting .280/.355/.394 at Class A Charleston.
2015: James Kaprielian (16): The 23-year-old righty is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery.
2015: Kyle Holder (30): The 23-year-old shortstop is hitting .187/.232/.242 at Class A Tampa.
2013: Eric Jagielo (26): The 25-year-old third baseman is hitting .233/.347/.356 for Double-A Pensacola. Jagielo was traded to Cincinnati in the Aroldis Chapman deal in December 2015.
2013: Aaron Judge (32): See above
2013: Ian Clarkin (33): The 22-year-old lefty is 3-3 with a 2.49 ERA for Class A Tampa.
2012: Ty Hensley (30): The 23-year-old righty is currently recovering from his second Tommy John Surgery. He was selected by the Rays in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2016.
The Yankees have been able to build a deep farm system with their trade-deadline acquisitions of Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield last season. They are also high on Chance Adams (fifth round, 2015) and many others.
Greg Bird (fifth round, 2011) is currently working his way back from injury, while Jordan Montgomery (fourth round, 2014) has had a great impact in the rotation as a rookie. And Gary Sanchez (2009, $3 million bonus) and Luis Severino (2011, $225,000) have proven to be strong international free-agent signings.
By the way, guess what Judge, Sanchez, Severino and Montgomery make combined: $2,188,375.
MLB.com’s draft experts connect the Yankees with high school first baseman Nick Pratto, Oregon lefty David Peterson, Florida righty Alex Faedo, high school lefty Trevor Rogers, high school outfielder Joe Adell and UC Irvine outfielder/second baseman Keston Hiura.
3. Tanaka Time
The Yankees pushed struggling starter Masahiro Tanaka back a day to face the Angels, who rank 17th in runs scored and are without Trout. Anaheim, however, did score 12 on Sunday and nine on Friday to take two out of three from Houston.
In his last five starts, the 28-year-old righty is 0-5 with a 10.72 ERA and 11 homers allowed.
Tanaka’s next scheduled start is Saturday in Oakland, and Joe Girardi has said he’ll make it even if he gets bombed in this one. Let’s see what happens. Because, as you’re probably aware by now, things can change in a hurry.