At the outset of the 2013 regular season, the New York Yankees' playoff chances looked slim. They would begin the season without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Michael Pineda.
Furthermore, before any of those players returned (Granderson is the only one to have returned so far, making his first start on May 14), they would also lose Kevin Youkilis, Joba Chamberlain, Eduardo Nunez, Ivan Nova and Francisco Cervelli to injury for an extended period of time, while Travis Hafner is also injured but not yet on the disabled list.
So, how is it possible that the Yankees, without four of their starters in the field from last season, four additional players who were starters on Opening Day, two starting pitchers and a major bullpen arm, are sitting comfortably atop the American League East and hold the best record in the American League?
Ahead are grades for the Yankees through the season's first quarter.