The New York Yankees' fate in 2018 will ultimately come down to the mundane things: how many runs they score and give up, how healthy they remain and how other teams play. The Yankees are good, but so are the Boston Red Sox and quite a few other teams. Anyone who tells you they know how this season will end has far too much unjustified confidence.
It's not about counting the times your jaw drops, which is a good thing for every other team in baseball. Because even if the Yankees don't lead MLB in wins, they must lead it in "Wow!"
"I mean, wow!" catcher Austin Romine said Wednesday, when the subject was another ridiculous Giancarlo Stanton home run along with homers from Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in a 7-2 Yankees win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yankees put the finishing touches on that trio of right-handed boppers when they traded for Stanton in December. We've spent four months assuming there would be days like this, and the only disappointment Wednesday was that the Yankees didn't save the best for last. Instead, the best came first, in the form of Stanton's 458-foot, 118 mph rocket deep into the left field seats (via MLB.com's Statcast).
"People hit the ball to that deck," Romine said. "But he hit it on a line."
Even if Stanton doesn't lead the majors in home runs, he has to be the early individual leader in "Wow!" All three of his homers this season merited that type of reaction.
By comparison, the Sanchez (369 feet, 106 mph) and Judge (419, 109) homers Wednesday were relatively routine. But there was an implied "Wow!" there, too, and not just because those three guys homered in the same game for the first time.
"How about [Rays starting pitcher Blake] Snell?" an American League scout texted Bleacher Report as the game went on. "They literally wore him down. And he has great [stuff]."
Snell would talk later about how he was "nitpicking" on the mound, about how if he pitched the way he did while he shut out the Red Sox for 5.2 innings in his first start, the results would have been different.
"[The Yankees] can hit the home runs," he said. "They can strike out as well. If I'm more consistent, it could have been different."
Sure, it could have been. Stanton struck out five times Tuesday, when Didi Gregorius hit two home runs in an 11-4 Yankees win over the Rays. Stanton even heard some boos from the Yankees faithful, which was unfair but hardly unheard of in New York.
But back to the scout's point for a minute, because this Yankees lineup isn't often considered a grind-it-out group. You don't grind out 458-foot home runs, do you?
Maybe you do, because it took Snell 90 pitches to get 10 outs. Maybe you do, because the number of power sources in this Yankees lineup mean an opposing pitcher goes from one threat to the next with no reprieve.
It won't always work, as evidenced by the fact the Yankees are only off to a 4-2 start. They'll face better pitching, although in Chris Archer and Snell, they saw by far the best two starters the Rays could offer.
On this day, though, it was enough to simply appreciate what we were seeing, sensing and even hearing. The Stanton home run was so loud, you thought it probably interrupted meetings in Manhattan...and maybe even in Manhattan, Kansas.
As it turns out, the sound didn't travel that far. Yankees reliever Adam Warren said they couldn't even hear it in the bullpen in right field.
They could see it, though. They could appreciate it.
"The way he and Judge hit, they just hit the ball so hard," Warren said.
They do hit it hard. Stanton's homer was the hardest-hit ball in the major leagues so far this season, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
It was enough to remind you that you don't want to miss a Stanton at-bat, although you don't want to miss a Judge at-bat or a Sanchez at-bat, either. Or a Gregorius at-bat.
The Yankees may or may not be the best team in baseball. But they sure are the team most likely to make you say "Wow!"
Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.
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