Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hitting Ain't Easy... At Least Not For The Yankees

I've been quiet this week, and it doesn't take an FBI investigation to figure out why.

These guys know.

While the pitching was pretty darn good yet again (9.6 fWAR over the last week, 5th best in MLB), despite a couple of poor starts from CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, the hitting has been atrocious.

As a team, the Yankees have hit .206/.289/.254 over the past 7 days, which includes only one home run and a total of 15 runs. All of which was good enough for an fWAR of -0.7, which is the 2nd worst in Major League Baseball (the Astros had an fWAR of -1.5).

Breaking down the team's fWAR over the past week you'll see that Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano are the only players that have fWARs above 0.0 (.5 and .4, respectively). Of the other four players to play each of the Yankees six games during that stretch, Jayson Nix and Ichiro Suzuki have fWARs of 0.0, while Vernon Wells and Mark Teixeira's fWARs are -0.3 each.

Oh, I take that back. There is another player with a positive fWAR over the past week. It's only a 0.1, but that comes from a guy that just got called up before last night's game... Thomas Neal.

And if you think this is a case of a small sample size making things look a whole lot worse than they actually are, consider the fact that on the season the Yankees have hit .241/.304/.385 with an fWAR of 3.8 (25th in MLB). Taking Neal's game out of the equation again, I found that only 5 Yankee batters have a wRC+ at or above 100. However one of them is currently on the DL (Cervelli, who leads the team with a 142), another is in the minors right now (Boesch, who has a 123), and a third guy can't hit left-handed pitching (Hafner has a wRC+ of 109, but has only hit .194 against LHP). To nobody's surprise, the other two are Robinson Cano (132) and Brett Gardner (117).

Like this, only there's just two Yankees, and they don't look anything like these guys.

I know that things should change if and when the team is healthy, but patience is not one of my better traits.

Despite his great April, Vernon Wells has hit only .229/.273/.383 this season, so having Curtis Granderson take most of his at bats away will be a definite plus. Chris Stewart is hitting .275 /.328/.358, while Austin Romine's line is .132/.148/.170, so a healthy Francisco Cervelli is another big plus. Although I don't expect Derek Jeter to come back and hit well enough to finish 7th in MVP voting like he did last year, it's not hard to imagine he can do better than the combined fWAR of -0.7 Yankee shortstops have managed in 2013 without him. And hate him all you want, while pointing out how overpaid he is, but Alex Rodriguez could still make a big difference in the lineup.

Thankfully, the only team in the AL East that's done much better than the Yankees over their previous 10 games is the Blue Jays (won 7 of 10 games), yet they are still 9.5 games out of first. Like the Bombers, the division-leading Red Sox are 5-5 in their last 10 games, the Orioles are 6-4, and the Rays are 4-6. So things could have been a whole lot worse.

The real question for the Yankees, and it's hardly a small one, is this... "Can they keep things from getting out of hand for another month, at which point Granderson, Cervelli, Jeter, and possible ARod should be back?"

No, this has nothing to do with the article, but I was on a movie kick and wanted to include it.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)