Yonder Alonso (and Aaron Judge) will power the Yankees to a playoff spot

You read that right. The 30-year-old lefty-swinging A's first baseman, who in parts of seven previous seasons had slugged a combined .387 and never hit more than nine homers in a single year, has become a trade target thanks to his newfound power. After making some mechanical and philosophical adjustments, he's hitting more balls in the air than ever, and in this year of the home run (a record 1.26 per team per game), 21 of Alonso's fly balls have gone yonder, two more than from 2014 to '16 combined. The pending free agent will shore up a position where the Yankees have gotten an anemic .208/.295/.391 contribution from nine players, including the injured Greg Bird and the since-released Chris Carter, and help the Bronx Bombers claim a wild card berth.

As for Judge, the power-hitting sensation will tail off a little bit from his torrid first-half pace, but he'll still finish with 50 home runs, breaking by one the rookie record set by Mark McGwire in 1987.

VERDUCCI: Play ball (again)! Everything to know for the second half

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