Thursday, August 7, 2008
YANKEES Part 2 of 2
So I've had some time to read over my initial Yankees post and decided that A. Wayyy to many statistics and not enough analysis and B. Definitely not an "honest look" at the Yanks since I was riding a high from the 8 game winning streak at the time. Even bloggers can fall victim to optimism and excitement over a winning streak. However, I promise to redeem myself with Part 2 and give you some insights into the Yanks' lineup and what to expect the rest of the year.
C - Ivan Rodriguez - .214/.267 in 6 games since joining the team. Getting Ivan Rodriguez for Farnsworthless was a great move by Cashman and one that fell into our lap. He is a veteran catcher who has won a few rings and is used to adjusting to new teams. Although it can't be argued that Jose Molina is all-around better, defensively Pudge seems to be a downgrade and hasn't shown me much while in the pads thus far. Although this does improve our lineup, it only does so minimally because Rodriguez has been batting 8th, which is not usually an impact slot for a hitter. Why is it that our starting left fielder and catcher go down and we replace them instantly but we have 2 premium starters that have been out all year and we just get Sidney Ponson?? Cashman took the same approach this summer by not pulling the trigger on Johan and yet re-signed all of our oldies in the lineup to preserve hitting. Personally I would like to see a different approach.
1B - Jason Giambi - 22 HRs, .391 OBP, (.390 BA since shaving the 'stache). Jason "the 'stache" Giambi had a slow start to this season but picked it up in May and June (batting over .300 in both months) in order to have very respectable stats. Although Giambi seems physically incapable of throwing accurately to 2nd base, he has been solid defensively otherwise and a force in the middle of the lineup protecting A-Rod. He should be able to maintain his high OBP and continue to pound the baseball, especially with a consistent hitter behind him in Nady.
2B - Robbie Cano - .303 BA from May-July, but .214 in August. Only 36 Ks in 417 ABs. Cano had been the second hottest bat in the lineup before the month of August but has cooled of since then. Cano is notorious for having slow starts to the season and seems to be on his way to a .290ish BA for this season after a horrid April. Cano is probably my favorite Yankee just because he always puts the ball in play, does not seem phased when put in a big spot and is maybe the slickest infielder with the glove. He has been batting 6/7th in the lineup and we need him to return to his pre-august form if we want to to contend for the Wild Card.
SS - Derek Jeter - .313 BA in August and what the fuck is up with 6 SBs all year long?!? Coming into this season we heard all about Girardi's NL managerial style that features a lot of steals and being active on the base-baths. It looks like he changed his tune when he got to NY and realized that he can't afford to have Jeter thrown out at second with hitters like Abreu and A-Rod behind him. Either that or something is off with Derek physically, which might explain his completely average statistics thus far. Jeter is having one of his worst years in a while and although I, like many other New Yorkers, feel that he will ultimately end up with a .300 BA, he isn't really showing any signs of that. Hopefully he can keep up the good hitting this month and try and take some of the load off of Abreu who has been on a monster tear.
3B - A-Rod - .315/.401/24 HRs and a .214 BA in August to match Cano. Nothing makes me happier than John Sterling saying "An A-BOMB...from A-Rod" but to my dismay, this has only occurred one time in August. Despite Alex's poor numbers so far this month he is still up to his usual God-like actions with HOF numbers. But if you take a look at A-Rod's split stats, he is really only getting his hits with just a man on first or with the bases empty. I thought that last year A-Rod proved that he could hit in big situations and finally got the media to back off. But after what i've seen this year I think the media needs to stop giving him a free pass and get on him again for his anti-clutch hitting. It always seems like in this star-studded lineup that about 2-3 players cycle on and off with hot streaks. It was Cano and A-Rod carrying in July and now Abreu and Jeter in August. We need some consistency and hopefully Nady can provide it.
LF - Xavier Nady - .368/.429/11 RBIs in 11 games with the Yanks. Getting Nady and Marte was by far one of the best mid-season trades Cashman has ever made. Nady is a solid hitter and I think can actually make the difference in this lineup. When Giambi is not in the lineup he bats 5th to protect A-Rod and when Giambi is in the lineup he bats 6th, which is perfect because of Giambi's .400 OBP. In an earlier post this year, a writer mentioned that he believed that there was no such thing as momentum in baseball because each hitter is up there individually. I could not disagree more and this Yankee lineup is a perfect case study. The Yankees feature 7 men in the lineup right now that should be batting at least .300 and be breaking all types of records in team offensive categories. In reality the Yankees are 6th in the AL in runs (behind the Twins!!!) and 5th in BA. This is because every hitter is looking at the next guy to see what he does. If a hitter makes an out in a big spot, the pressure mounts to the next hitter and so on. However, if one hitter gets one big hit, then look out for the Yankee avalanche. This fact is especially true when looking at extremes. If your star player, in this case A-Rod, gets a big hit then the team's confidence is at it's highest. But similarly, this plateau can be reached when a new player gets big hits because he is not expected to do so. Little is expected because he will clearly place added pressure on himself to perform well for a new club, especially with the NY media breathing down his neck. Xavier Nady has been very hot recently and i'm hoping he will be the X factor to break the ice on the Yankees offense, especially with RISP.
CF - Johnny Damon - .317 BA, third in BA in the AL. Since I spent so much time on Nady I will make these next two brief. Damon has been hot since May and is needed to set the table for this offense. However his 16 SB/6 CS is horrible and I think he needs to stir the pot more if the Yankees are to excel offensively.
RF - Bobby Abreu - .291/.364/71 RBI's and a .350 BA in August. Abreu is on fucking fire right now and looks like he expects to get a hit every time he's at the plate. Without him the Yankees would be horrible and would generate ZERO clutch hits. He only needs to shoulder the load until the other Yankee bats wake up again.
Bench - I would go into detail here about how I love the bench but this post is getting too long. All you need to know is that we have power, speed and defensive on the bench and it has been the key to the versatility in the Yankees lineup.
Predictions - As I stated in Part 1, I believe that the Yankees will inevitably make the playoffs. Our hitters are too good and our pen is too good to fall out of the race. The difference will clearly be starting pitching, which is even more of a sore spot now that Joba is on the DL. I pray to the baseball Gods that Kennedy (starting in place of Joba) and Hughes and Pavano (both coming back later in the month) can somehow keep the pitching afloat. If not, then it will be a wild finish down the stretch.