The New York Yankees are underrated. I didn’t believe that sentence could ever be written as anything other than absurd, talk-radio-style, rile-up-the-common-folk rhetoric. But here we are, in the middle of May, and the New York Yankees are underrated. They were sitting in third place in the AL East. They were in the bottom third in all of baseball in runs scored, ranking 22nd. Headlines around New York talked about their “weaknesses” and “issues” and asked “what’s wrong?”.
Yet the Yankees are the best team in the American League. Not in terms of their record or their runs scored or runs allowed, of course, but in terms of who they actually are once you account for their history, for context and for the small sample size that is the start of the 2021 season. What a team has done over a limited time frame does not equal its true, underlying talent level or what it will do in the future. And my projection system, THE BAT X — as well as the projections at FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus — predict that the Yankees will be the best team in the AL over the rest of the season by a solid margin.