The New York Yankees are looking pretty damn good to start the year, huh. After a disappointing 2023 season, the Bronx Bombers came out of the gate on fire. They extinguished a past demon of theirs after sweeping the Houston Astros. The biggest story to come out of that series, though, is their newest weapon: Juan Soto.

Soto, who was traded to the Yankees in the offseason, started the season red-hot. How hot? Well, how does a .529 batting average with one home run and an OPS of 1.365 sound? The star hitting is also making an impact on defense, with a crucial throw in Game 1 saving the day. Soto is exactly what the Yankees have needed and then some.

After the final win over the Astros, Soto remarked that this is the best debut he could've asked for, per ESPN. After dropping a performance like that, we can't really disagree with that.

“That's the kind of start I wanted,” Soto said with a laugh. “I grinded really hard this offseason and in spring training to be successful in the beginning of the season.”

Soto, Yankees stun Astros

New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) hits an RBI single against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit:
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees and the Astros have a long history against each other. Towards the end of the 2010s, the two teams often found themselves facing each other in the ALCS. Both teams were considered the cream of the crop. However… Houston almost always found a way to break the hearts of New York fans, time and time again.

This time, though, it was the Yankees delivering the hurt against the Astros. It wasn't easy – no series against Houston ever is easy. However, what's great about this win was that New York continually found ways to snatch victory when the times were tough. Between Soto's timely hits and their defense connecting, New York is looking like a strong contender.

At the forefront of their massive improvement, is, of course, Soto. The biggest criticism against the Yankees in the last few seasons was their overreliance on Aaron Judge. Judge is excellent, but when he was out or was having a bad game, New York just couldn't get anything going. Now, though, the Yankees are not just “Judge and friends”.

More than just two men

While most of the attention will be on Judge and Soto (and rightfully so), the Yankees are more than just those two men. In the outfield, Alex Verdugo is proving to be a valuable asset for the team. His timely hitting and solid defense gives New York a much, much improved outfield.

In the infield, the Yankees retained most of their core from last season. Anthony Volpe, Gleyber Torres, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Anthony Rizzo keep their usual roles, with DJ LeMahieu set to return from an injury as well. They've been solid so far, contributing to the team in different ways.

New York is hoping that this performance continues for the rest of the season. You can always count on Aaron Judge and Juan Soto to be excellent, after all. It's up to their supporting cast to give them that extra push to win it all. Is this the year they finally conquer their playoff demons?