|Are these guys being ignored? (Associated Press)|
A question, which will surely sound strange: Are the Yankees actually underrated at this moment in time?
To be sure, it's not often that one can straight-facedly refer to the colossus in the Bronx as being given short shrift, but that might be the case in 2012. At this writing, the Yankees have the best record in baseball and are on pace for 100 wins, and they've achieved as much despite having played the second-toughest schedule in all of baseball.
Moreover, consider some events that unfolded this past winter and earlier this season -- events that would seemingly prevent the Yankees from scaling such heights ...
- Derek Jeter would enter his age-38 campaign coming off the worst season of his career.
- Their marquee offseason addition, right-hander Michael Pineda, would not throw a single regular-season pitch for them.
- Their catcher of the future/present, Jesus Montero, would be traded away to acquire Pineda.
- Incumbent catcher Russell Martin would be batting .180 as of July 20.
- The Yankees would sign as their primary DH 40-year-old Raul Ibanez, who was coming off a season in which he hit .245/.289/.419.
- They would incorrectly opt to re-sign Freddy Garcia rather than his fellow 2011 reclamation project, Bartolo Colon.
- Closer and team luminary Mariano Rivera would pitch just 8.1 innings before being lost to a season-ending knee injury.
- Every team in the AL East would begin the second half in contention.
- Ace CC Sabathia would see his ERA rise by more than a quarter of a run and spend time on the DL.
- Brett Gardner, one of their top players in 2011, would play just nine games.
- Alex Rodriguez, while still remaining somewhat productive, would put up his worst power numbers since his rookie season.
- Shutdown reliever David Robertson would see his ERA jump by more than a full run and miss 30 games because of an oblique strain.
- The un-retired Andy Pettitte would suffer a broken leg after just nine starts.
To be sure, you can make an imposing laundry-list of misfortunes and missteps for most teams, but what distinguishes the Yankees is that, thus far, they've gotten better despite everything chronicled above.
For those reasons, the 2012 Yankees probably aren't getting the credit they deserve. Believe it or not.