With a 38-23 record to start this season, the 1st place New York Yankees are experiencing a resurgence reminiscent of their great teams in the late 90’s.

 

Unlike the Yankee teams through the past 14 years or so, the late 90’s championships teams were essentially built from the ground up. Ironically, their foundational tone was also similar to this year’s Yankee squad.

 

Through the 80’s and even early 90’s, the Yankees had spent the money to acquire some of the top names in the game, including the likes of Reggie Jackson and Darryl Strawberry who each signed big free agent deals to join a team that was on the brink of a championship. After those days were numbered, the Yanks were forced to build from within… Enter the ‘92 draft from which they acquired a 6’3 shortstop from a Michigan named Derek Jeter. This draft pick would be the clear foundation of the success that was to come. To add insurance, the Yankees also brought up farm system players like Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera Bernie Williams, and Andy Pettite, among others, who would serve as the true core of those late 90’s championship team.

 

(CBS)

From this foundation, the team used free agent pickups like Paul O’Neill and Mike Mussina to solidify a roster that by 1996 was ready to dominate once again like the Yankee teams of the past.

 

All of this lead to 4 World Series titles in 5 seasons including three in a row from 1998 to the Subway Series in 2000. These championships were led by core, homegrown players like Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Williams along with the free agency addition mentioned earlier that also included Roger Clemens who was probably one of the two most dominant pitchers in the game at the time.

 

Once the 2000’s hit, the Yankees were the proverbial powerhouse and their payroll had gotten to such an enormous amount that they were able to acquire the players that they wanted instead of having to take the time to mold them the minor leagues. Insert Alex Rodriguez, a game changing talent who had already established himself as one of the top hitters in the game with the Texas Rangers, and was ready to take on the, at the time, richest contract in Major League history.

 

Along with Rodriguez, the Yankees, from 2003 to 2013, would acquire the likes of Johnny Damon, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett, Brian McCann, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui, all players who were at the top of their games at the time of their signing to the Yankees.

 

All of this led to only one championship (2009) which is one more than they won in the 80’s when they seemed to go a similar route of acquiring these free agents.

 

(Arm Chair All-Americans)

So enter this season, two years after the retirement of Jeter, and the Yankees seem to be on their way to the top of the hill once again. However, unlike the 80’s and much of the 2000’s so far, they are channeling their inner late 90’s Yanks by predominantly building hrough the farm system and adding free agents when necessary.

 

At the center of all this is 6’8, 280 pound outfielder Aaron Judge who so far this season has a whopping 22 home runs already, 49 RBI’s and is batting a stellar .341 even as a power bat.

 

Judge, who was the Yankees first round pick in the 2013 draft, alongside last year’s standout Catcher Gary Sanchez, Shortstop Didi Gregorius, imported pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and young arm Luis Severino have carried this team to its first place start this season. Together, along with the potential of injured first baseman Greg Bird (who was primed to have a breakout season) and free agent second basemen Starlin Castro, they have formed a core that reeks of similarity to the late 90’s teams that had so much success.

 

As it is currently looking, the Yankees seemed to have found a new-but-old recipe to success through foundational building that has led them to this point, a point that they hope can be maintained for many years to come.

 

Do you think this is the start of a new Dynasty for the Yankees? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.