New York Yankees Could See Return of Long Ball in 2014

By Joe Galotti
Brad Penner- USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner- USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s contest against the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees used five home runs to power them to a 7-4 victory. Brian McCann went deep twice, and Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, and Kelly Johnson also all went yard in the game.

Last year games like this were a rarity for the team ironically known as the “Bronx Bombers.” The Yankees had just the 22nd highest home run total in the majors in 2013, hitting only 144 long balls.

Runs were hard to come by for a Yankees’ offense last year which was decimated by injuries all season long. Home runs were even more difficult to generate, with Soriano and Robinson Cano being the only real power threats in the lineup for most of the year.

But Saturday’s game showed that this group of Bronx Bombers is much different than the one that came up to the plate last season. The additions of McCann, Beltran, Johnson, and even Jacoby Ellsbury give the Yankees an element to their lineup that they have not had since 2012.

McCann has struggled at the plate during his few weeks in pinstripes, but he will almost undoubtedly begin hitting eventually. And when he does he is more than capable of producing a 20 home run season. He’s done so seven times in his nine year career.

Beltran also found himself getting off to a slow start offensively, but is now beginning to heat up. He has now hit two home runs in his past four games. He also is just one season removed from a 32-home run campaign with the St. Louis Cardinals, back in 2012.

Johnson, Ellsbury, and Derek Jeter should also contribute the occasional blast to assist the big guns in the lineup. And Soriano, even at age 38 is still capable of carrying a team with his power for a week or two at a time. Mark Teixeira is another major power threat in the lineup if he is able to stay healthy this season.

Coming into Saturday’s game the Yankees had just hit 7 home runs this season. But, as the weather heats up so will the team’s middle of the order bats.

The 2010 thru 2012 renditions of the Yankees showed the dangers of being a one dimensional team that relies on the long ball to win games. But, the 2014 team should have more diversity to their lineup.

And while playing effective small ball is an important part of winning in the playoffs, it’s still always nice to have the long ball to bail you out at times during the regular season. And that’s just what the Bronx Bombers did on Saturday en route to their sixth win of the season.

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