Saturday, March 11, 2017

Right Field has been judged...

Perusing through the morning papers, there’s much discussion about the adjustments made by right fielder Aaron Judge.  Opinions vary.  Some believe that Judge is winning the job outright, while others believe that he is still in heavy competition with Aaron Hicks.

We are all aware that Judge is a Giancarlo Stanton-type talent with a history of struggling at each level before finding success.  I am hopeful that history repeats itself after Judge only hit .179 (15-for-84) upon his call-up to the Show last year in 27 games.  The more startling statistic was 42 strikeouts in the 84 at-bats (50% ratio).  

In 2015, between AA and AAA, Judge struck out 144 times in 478 at-bats (or roughly 30%).  If he can reduce his strikeouts closer to his minor league norms, he’ll be okay.  The strikeouts will never go away, but the key is obviously the raw power.  For a big man, he’s also good defensively.

In 11 spring games, Judge has 2 HR and 3 RBI to go with a .346 batting average.  Conversely, Hicks has 1 HR, 2 RBI, and .261 BA.  For me, Judge is winning the battle, both on the field and for long-term potential.

Hicks is an enigma.  He was once a rising young star for the Minnesota Twins, who failed year over year to achieve his breakout performance.  Shipped to the Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy, he has continued to underperform.  He hit much better last year after Carlos Beltran was traded to Texas but it’s a small sample size.

Right field is like center field or catcher with the Yankees, there is a long history of success and tradition.  If Judge finally “gets it”, he will be a monster in right.  Hicks, so far, is a journeyman who will never excite the fan base.

I can’t speak for all Yankees fans but I am prepared to deal with some pain in 2017 if it means progress is made for future Championship success.  I want Judge as part of the Celebratory Parade(s) and more time in the minors will not help at this point.

I’d rather see LF Brett Gardner traded to make way for Hicks than watch Judge sent down to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

I personally liked Clint Frazier’s flowing (crazy might be a better word) red hair.  It is part of his personality.  I have felt strongly the Yankees should relax their hair policy.  I recognize the policy was made by George Steinbrenner and was meant to exude the professionalism of the organization.  No one wants to change the policy out of respect for the Boss.  However, times have changed.  Nevertheless, Manager Joe Girardi had expressed the hair has become a distraction.  So, Frazier took it upon himself to cut his hair this week to conform.  The departed bushy red hair was his signature, but Frazier indicated that he loved playing for the organization more than his hair.  I thought it was a stand-up move by the young future Yankees outfielder.

On a sunny Friday afternoon, Chase Headley used a three run homer to help power the Yankees past the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-0.  He may no longer be with the Boston Red Sox but it’s always fun to beat Clay Buchholz.  Now a starter for the Phillies, Buchholz had six strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings of work.  But Headley ensured that he departed the game with the loss and a 7.56 ERA.  Sweet.

Yankees improved their spring mark to 12-3.

Have a great Saturday!

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/11: Yankees Lose Nick Johnson

On this day in 2006 the New York Yankees lost out on an opportunity with their own free agent when first basemen and designated hitter Nick Johnson signed a three year contract extension worth $16.5 million with the Washington Nationals. The 27 year old first basemen signed a $3.2 million one year deal in January with the Nationals after spending his first five seasons with the Yankees.