Except for a couple of years in the 2010s, most notably 2016, the New York Yankees have been perennial World Series contenders ever since they won their last title in 2009.
For a team like the Yankees, though, being contenders isn’t good enough.
The Yankees’ fan base is perhaps the most demanding of all American professional sports, and a 12-year drought is just too much.
Ever since 2017, the Yankees have been on the cusp of advancing to the Fall Classic, only to fall just short of the goal.
But what about 2021?
Are the Yankees finally equipped to beat all opponents and lift the trophy?
The answer is yes.
The Yankees Are Starting To Play Like A Championship-Caliber Team
On paper, the Yankees look like the best team in the American League, and recently, they started to play like the best.
The Bombers had started the season 6-11 and had the worst record in the junior circuit at that point, but they have turned things around and now, before Monday’s games, are 22-17 and already 1.5 games behind the AL East leaders, the Boston Red Sox.
For years, the Yankees lacked a true ace that could shut down even the best lineups in October.
However, that’s in the past now, as Gerrit Cole is in the Bronx to fulfill that role.
In 52.2 innings so far in 2021, Cole has a microscopic 1.37 ERA and has struck out 40.8 percent of the batters he has faced, which is outstanding for a starting pitcher.
The starting rotation has had its ups and downs, but it has been mostly good.
The team is also expecting right-hander Luis Severino back for the second half.
The Yankees bullpen has been the best in MLB to this point, with a league-leading 2.7 WAR and the third-best ERA, at 2.99.
— WFAN Sports Radio (@WFAN660) May 12, 2021
When Zack Britton and Darren O’Day return from their respective injuries, the reliever corps will be downright scary.
A Formidable Offense
If the good pitching wasn’t enough, the Yankees have an explosive lineup capable of scoring runs in bunches.
Aaron Judge is tied for the AL lead in home runs (12), second in AL SLG% (.611) and third in AL wRC+ (182)
— New York Yankees Stats (@nyyankeesstats) May 17, 2021
The team’s depth was tested with Voit’s knee injury, but fortunately for the Bombers, he is back in the lineup after leading MLB in home runs last year with 22.
Right now, Aaron Hicks’s wrist injury will test the outfield depth, but the team is in really good shape and will remain highly competitive barring a barrage of injuries.
The Yankees roster may not be absolutely perfect, but they are definitely built to win the 2021 World Series, even if the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres Padres, and New York Mets have similarly talented teams.