After losing to the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros in the American league championship series last year, the New York Yankees are looking to revive their winning ways for the upcoming 2023 season. Along with new faces on the roster, the Yankees have a new captain at the helm with outfielder Aaron Judge taking on the reins. The team and every other team in the MLB are also adjusting to the new rules that are being implemented this season, like a pitch clock, restriction of infield shifts and bigger bases. Despite the changes, the Yankees seem undeterred and are ready to play baseball.

Historic year

The Yankees made a big splash in the first half of the season, which included an 11 game win streak, and by the start of the all-star break, they were in first place in the American league east and all of MLB with a 64-28 record. Pitchers Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Nestor Cortes were dominate on the mound as starters, and the likes of Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge made up a strong bullpen. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Gleybor Torres were forces of nature at the plate, but the real star at the plate and of the team was Judge.

Coming off a stellar 39 home runs and 98 RBI season from the season before, Judge was more determined than ever to have a better year in 2022.

As the season went on, with Judge first in the lineup, he kept hitting the ball out of the park and led the league with 33 home runs by the end of the first half. There was a lot of talk that Judge was on track to break the American league record for most home runs in a season, which had been set in 1961 by Yankees outfielder Roger Maris when he hit 61 homers.

By Sep. 20, Judge was one shy of tying the record, but would end up going through a late season slump before finally tying Maris eight days later against the Toronto Blue Jays. It would all end on Oct. 4 when the Yankees finished the regular season with a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. On only the third pitch of the game, Judge hit number 62 off of Rangers starting pitcher Jesus Tinoco, and cemented himself in the history books.

New captain and new faces

Judge would finish his seventh big league season with a career best .311 batting average, 62 home runs and 131 RBI, the latter two of which led the American league, just missing a shot at winning the triple crown batting title. As a result, Judge would win the American league MVP award, along with a silver slugger award. After becoming a free agent, the Yankees wanted to keep Judge in the Bronx as long as possible and offered him a brand new contract worth $360 million for nine years, which he signed on Dec. 20, making it the largest deal for a free agent in MLB history. It would come in full circle the next day when it was announced that Judge was named the 16th captain of the Yankees, becoming the first since the retirement of hall of fame shortstop Derek Jeter, who was in attendance at the press conference for the announcement.

With a new captain in the clubhouse, the Yankees set about improving their roster and trying to sign one or a few big names. The day after Judge's captain ceremony, the organization held another press conference and announced the signing of free agent starting pitcher Carlos Rodon to a six year, $162 million contract. Rodon had played the previous season with the San Francisco Giants after seven previous seasons with the Chicago White Sox, and finished with a 14-8 record, a 2.88 ERA, and 237 strikeouts in 31 starts. The addition of a quality starter to the rotation adds a much needed boost to the roster and with Judge as the new captain, the Yankees are currently underway to have a great season when the regular season gets underway.