Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thoughts on the 1/3 part of the season

This part of the season has gone about as good as you can ask for when you consider the rash of injuries the Yankees have suffered. That being said, I believe the team is way better off this year than last year.

There are a couple reasons for that:
Sure, the team lost Cano and has an ever revolving door manning second base. But you don't have Vernon Wells, Jayson Nix, Lyle Overbay, and Chris Stewart starting nearly everyday. You more or less replaced their production with Jacoby Ellsbury, Yangervis Solarte, Mark Teixeira, and Brian McCann. The offense, while it has been stagnant recently, is bound to wake up any week now. I highly doubt Brian McCann will continue to smack balls right at people. Those will eventually find holes.

Those points being said, one thing I have noticed which has gotten progressively worse: the infield defense. This defense would not surprise me at all (barring an upgrade via trade) to be the worst infield defense the Yankees have fielded out in the Derek Jeter era from an errors and UZR+ standpoint. You don't even need the metrics to show you how truly bad the defense has been. Everything from Solarte rushing throws, to Kelly Johnson's inexperience at first base, to everybody else at some point missing routine plays, it's been laughable. When you go from Jayson Nix, Lyle Overbay, and Cano to these guys, sure you gain offense, but you lose a ton of defense. Say what you will about Cano and however bitter you guys may be towards the guy, but he was an absolute stud on defense. You can't replace him with Brian Roberts and expect anywhere the same results.

The biggest surprise regarding this team in my eyes is how good the pitching has been. Especially the bullpen, if you had told me before the season started that the Yankees would've had 2 pitchers at this point striking out near 15 K/9 at this point in the season I'd have to seriously wonder what you were saying. Dellin Betances has been absolutely dynamite out in the pen. I believe he has closer stuff, and that Girardi could possibly move Robertson back to 8th inning role as his "other closer" if you will. I refer to those guys as bullpen aces, but different story. Either way, him, Robertson, and Adam Warren have performed absolutely incredible thus far. Same could be said some other guys like David Phelps and Matt Thornton.

All in all, this has been a pretty dang good start considering what has happened. It's even better when you look up and all you see are the Blue Jays in front of the Bombers, and I am not ready to call them a contender yet. You'd have to think that the Red Sox and Orioles will figure their collective mess out and start doing better, and that all 5 teams will improve their teams at the deadline. One could say the Yankees have been unlucky just like last year, but from my perspective I think they're extremely lucky no one is running away with the division.


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