We are now just about 25% into the 2018 season and folks all over are writing about why the Yanks have done as well as they have. I want to briefly present something that has absolutely nothing to do with individual players. In this brief analysis it's not the hitting, the starting pitching, the relieving, or the fielding that I look at.
That the Yanks are off to a good -- in fact really good -- start is obvious. They are winning games at a 70% rate. That means, if over the next 122 games the Yanks played .500 ball, they'd have 89 wins and would probably at least be in the running for a play off spot. While that's not something Yankee fans want to happen, it's a good position to be in this early in the season.
What the Yankees are doing different this season is akin to the difference it makes to a hitter whether he's in a 1-0 or 0-1 count. The Yanks are scoring first in games at a substantially higher rate than over the past two years.
In 2016 the Yanks scored first in 45.7% of their games and in 2017 it was an almost identical 45.1%. During both seasons the Yanks won only 40.9% and 40.4% of the games in which their opponents scored first -- which was a majority of the games played. The main difference between the 84 wins in 2016 and the 91 wins in 2017 was that the Yanks won a higher percentage of the games in which they scored first. In 2016 the Yanks won 64.9% of games in which they scored first, but in 2017 they won 75.3% of those games.
This year the Yanks are both scoring first more often and winning more of those games. Through the first quarter of the season the Yanks have scored first in a whopping 60% of the games -- a close to 15% increase. In addition, they are winning an incredible 87.5% of them. While it's still early. if the Yanks continue scoring first 60% of the time I expect all of us Yankee fans will be happy to forego the one game play-off.