Why This Yankees Start Feels Different

The New York Yankees have outperformed even our most optimistic expectations so far this season with a 16-9 record and a solid three-game lead in the AL East after winning 12 of their past 15 games. However, some people may point out that at this point last year the Yankees were 16-14 and in 2013 they were 18-11. Those records are not quite as good, but still are very nice starts, especially in 2013.

How long this play is sustainable is anybody's guess since nobody expected the Yankees to be playing .640 baseball. However, there is a big difference to how this start feels and looks compared to 2013. It may not be sustainable, but so far what the Yankees have done has been very legitimate. This team just has a different feel to it.

The Yankees' Pythagorean record is 16-9 this season, so the same as their actual record. They have outscored their opponents by 31 runs this season, which is third in the AL behind the Royals and Astros. Currently, FanGraphs is projecting the Yankees to go 71-66 the rest of the season, which would give them a 87-75 record and the second best AL team behind the Tigers in the projection.

On this date in 2013 the Yankees were only outscoring their opponents by 11 runs, so they were having much more luck in close games. They were an incredible 5-0 in one run games. They had performances that you knew were not sustainable like Vernon Wells having a 148 wRC+ and .393 wOBA in April. No, that's not a typo it really happened.  Lyle Overbay was also a competent baseball player in the first month.

Sure, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner probably aren't going to finish the season with over a .400 OBP each, but you know they are very good baseball players who should be dynamic at the top of the order. Mark Teixeira isn't going to finish with 48 home runs, but getting to 35 is not out of the question with him if he stays on the field. While those guys won't be as good as they've been, Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley and Stephen Drew may not be as poor as they've been either. Drew has a .135 BABIP, which is just impossible to fathom.

Pitching wise you feel a little more comfortable with the 2013 starting staff featuring Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte at the top. Of course, if Masahiro Tanaka comes back in a month than all bets are off there. Obviously, the 2015 Yankees bullpen is ridiculous with any lead going into the eighth inning virtually an automatic win.

So, while the Yankees may not be as good as they're playing right now, any comparisons to the good Aprils of the last two years are way off base. They're not as bad they played the first week and not as good as they've played since. However, you can easily see that this team is much more talented than either the 2013 or 2014 team and should be much more enjoyable to watch the rest of the season.