Saturday, October 24, 2015

Improving the 2016 Yankees Starts w/ Putting the Ball in Play

The New York Yankees had one of the worst team batting averages in 2015 with many players hitting well below the magic .300 mark. The team’s leading hitter was Carlos Beltran with a .276 batting average while two members of the team hit below the .250 mark leaving the team hitting just .251 as a whole. The moneyball craze began with an emphasis of getting on base in a world where a strikeout counted the same as a line out to the shortstop but is the new craze moving towards putting the ball in play regardless of an out or not? Maybe.

If the new craze is not putting the ball in play, putting the pressure on the opposing team’s defense and running out every single play then it may be before we all know it. If it’s not this is an advantage that the Yankees need to explore and begin to build their team around and if it already is and we just don’t realize it yet it may be time to jump on board. The emphasis of taking pitching and merely getting on base or striking out is working about as well as #TooManyDamnHrs. If this team wants to be better in 2016 and relatively unchanged, which seems very likely, then a change at the plate may be in order.

New York fell into a very predictable pattern in 2015. If it was obvious enough for me to catch onto it with two kids climbing all over my wanting my attention then you know the opposing teams scouts and such caught on to it as well. The team would play patient with a lead or a tie game and the second they fell behind they would swing at anything and everything. The offense could be running on all cylinders but the second the team would fall behind they would get overly aggressive and lull themselves to sleep. With the lead the Yankees were making the opposing pitchers throw 15-25 pitches an inning and without the lead you saw the 7-10 pitch innings that frustrated the fans for much of the second half. So how do you fix it?

Swing at strikes. Sounds simple but it works. Who cares if the count is 3-0 or 0-2, if it’s a strike swing then you swing at it, simple. There are obvious exceptions to the rule, if the opposing pitcher hasn’t thrown a strike for the last two or three batters then you make him throw at least two strikes before you swing, but the general premise is the same. In Major League Baseball you may only get one good pitch to hit per at bat and too many times in 2015 the Yankees watched that best pitch go right down the middle because it was a 3-0 count or the first pitch of the at bat. SWING!

That’s what the players can do, what the GM Brian Cashman can do is bring the team hitters that can hit for average. Too Many Damn Home Runs is nice to watch but the Kansas City Royals are hitting too many damn home runs, they are spraying singles and doubles all over the park and scoring 10 runs a game (slight exaggeration) against a team that owned the Yankees all season long. Put the ball in play, swing at strikes, run out every play and put the pressure on the other team instead of yourselves. It sounds simple on paper but if the team and coaching staff can buy into the philosophy then I truly think it can help the team win in 2016. 

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