Quick Bit: The Yankees are matching the pace of their 1998 squad that finished with a then-record 114-48 record.

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There is not a team in sight that can catch the 2022 Yankees.

On Monday, behind a near-no-hitter by Gerrit Cole, the Yankees moved to 50-17. No other MLB team has fewer than 24 losses. No other team has more than 45 wins. The hot start means that if the Yankees go 47-48 the rest of this year, they would still win 97 games. It would take only a 50-45 record to reach 100 wins.

With it being the Bronx Bombers, comparisons have naturally been drawn to the 1998 Yankee squad that set the all-time wins record (though it was later broken by the 2001 Mariners) at 114-48 and went on to win the World Series.

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Just how impressive is this run by New York, and where does it stand up to its 1998 predecessor? The Sporting News dives into the numbers.

Fastest teams to 50 wins

The Yankees’ 50-17 record through the first 67 games of the season is one of the best records in the history of the sport. Only six teams have ever had a better start to the season:

Year
Team
Wins
1912
Giants
54
1902
Pirates
52
2001
Mariners
52
1928
Yankees
51
1939
Yankees
51

And what’s more, New York’s sprint to 50 wins ranks among the fastest in history. In 67 games, New York moved into a tie with four other teams for the seventh-fastest to reach the half-century mark in wins.

Year
Team
Games
Final record
Outcome
1912
Giants
61
103-48
Lost World Series
1939
Yankees
64
106-45
Won World Series
2001
Mariners
64
116-46
Lost ALDS
1907
Cubs
66
107-45
Won World Series
1928
Yankees
66
101-53
Won World Series
1913
Athletics
67
96-57
Won World Series
1929
Athletics
67
104-46
Won World Series
1955
Dodgers
67
98-55
Won World Series
1998
Yankees
67
114-48
Won World Series

Naturally, the 1998 Yankees and the 2022 Yankees have gotten off to the same start through 67 games. And of those teams to reach 50 wins in at most 67 games, all but two of them went on to win the World Series.

Comparing 2022 and 1998 Yankees

But the big question with the Yankees again far and away leading MLB is how similar this 2022 club is to the 1998 squad. There are some similarities, but ultimately, these teams appear to have reached 50 wins in different ways.

For one thing, the 1998 Yankees did not have an Aaron Judge equivalent. Tino Martinez finished the season with a team-leading 28 home runs. Derek Jeter had the highest bWAR at 7.5. Judge already has 25 home runs, more than every 1998 Yankee that wasn’t Martinez or Bernie Williams (26), and he has 3.3 bWAR. Should he play 149 games as Jeter did, Judge would be on pace for 7.6 bWAR.

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However, that Yankee team had a bit more depth. Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton all have an OPS better than .800. On the 1998 squad, Williams, Darryl Strawberry, Paul O’Neill, Jeter, Martinez, Scott Brosius and Jorge Posada each had an OPS of at least .800.

That 1998 team also had plenty of speed. Jeter and Chuck Knoblauch tallied 30 and 31 stolen bases, respectively. Their 61 combined steals are 19 more than the entire 2022 Yankees combined so far.

Where the 2022 team takes the biggest advantage is in its pitching. New York’s starting five of Cole, Nestor Cortes, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery all have ERAs below 3.30. Among starting pitchers on the 1998 Yankees, Orlando Hernandez was the only starter with an ERA below that mark at 3.13.

Then there’s the bullpen, where Wandy Peralta, Michael King, Clarke Schmidt and Clay Holmes each have ERAs south of 3.00, whereas Mariano Rivera and Graeme Lloyd were the only two relievers on the 1998 team with ERAs below that mark.

All told, at this point in the season, the Yankees have a combined 2.84 ERA, while the 1998 Yankees finished the year at 3.82 and had a 3.94 ERA through the first 67 games of the season, per Stathead.

Better than 1998?

The dominance of the 2022 Yankees goes even past that of the 1998 Yankees, at least thus far into the season.

Through the first 67 games of the season, the Yankees have outscored their opponents by 145 runs. That means they are averaging a 2.16-run victory per game.

That number in and of itself is impressive, but it is more so when put into historical context. According to Stathead, there have only been 14 teams dating back to 1901 that have posted a better run differential than the Yankees through the first 67 games of the season. Of those 14, 10 went on to win the World Series. The other four lost the World Series.

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The 1998 Yankees, by comparison, had a run differential of 139, which ranks 19th.

Year
Team
Run Differential
Outcome
1939
Yankees
213
Won World Series
1912
Giants
196
Lost World Series
1902
Pirates
192
Lost World Series
1929
Athletics
182
Won World Series
1904
Giants
172
Lost World Series
2016
Cubs
171
Won World Series
1927
Yankees
168
Won World Series
1937
Yankees
159
Won World Series
1905
Giants
159
Won World Series
1932
Yankees
155
Won World Series
1969
Orioles
153
Lost World Series
1936
Yankees
153
Won World Series
1928
Yankees
149
Won World Series
1944
Cardinals
148
Won World Series

The run differential speaks to the dominance of the 2022 Yankees, but their well-rounded squad goes even farther than just outscoring teams.

Through the first 67 games of the season, the Yankees lead MLB with a .770 OPS and a 2.84 ERA. There have only been six other teams ever to lead the majors in those two categories 67 games into the year, and just one in the last 83 years:

Year
Team
OPS and ERA
Outcome
1922
Giants
.830 OPS, 3.01 ERA
Won World Series
1927
Yankees
.867 OPS, 2.98 ERA
Won World Series
1929
Athletics
.875 OPS, 3.35 ERA
Won World Series
1937
Yankees
.819 OPS, 3.18 ERA
Won World Series
1939
Yankees
.827 OPS, 3.18 ERA
Won World Series
1974
Dodgers
.771 OPS, 2.89 ERA
Lost World Series

The 2022 Yankees still have a long way to go to be crowned World Series champions. But if the Yankees can keep on the way they’ve began the 2022 season, there is no reason why they shouldn’t have their eyes set on history.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

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