Apr
14

Who’s contributing to the Yanks offense?

By

The Yankees have scored 40 runs over their first seven games, a beefy 5.71 runs per game. Extrapolate that over the course of the season and you get 925 runs, 24 more than the league leader from 2008. Of course, seven games does not make a sample, so it’s unlikely that the Yankees keep up this pace. Then again, they’ve been without their best hitter all season and have been sans their second-best hitter for the past three games. So perhaps 900 runs is still a possibility.

The strangest part about the Yanks’ offensive success is that so many players are hitting poorly. As mentioned in last night’s recap, the top of the order has been pretty terrible lately. Derek Jeter has a line of .207/.358/.310 on the season and is one for his last 20. Johnny Damon has a .227/.308/.318 line and is two for his last 16. So the guys atop the order aren’t getting on base to set up the guys in the middle of the order. Yet the Yanks continue to score runs.

At the other end of the lineup things look just as bad, perhaps worse. No. 8 hitter Cody Ransom has been downright terrible thisyear, posting a line of .083/.154/.125. Since his double in the season’s second game, Ransom went hitless for his next 17 at bats before driving in a run last night. He’s been on base all of four times this season, with two hits and two walks. Brett Gardner is hitting .227/.261/.273 with just one walk on the season. Those are four guys, who hit consecutively, posting black holes. Add to that Hideki Matsui‘s .125/.192/.292 line and that’s five straight black holes.

Thankfully, the middle of the order has seen a bit more success. Nick Swisher has more than earned his playing time, as he’s hitting .450/.542/1.150 with three homers and three doubles. In fact, Swisher is so good that he has more home runs than singles. More doubles than singles, too. Jorge Posada has come back guns blazing, hitting .350/.409/.700 on the young season. Robinson Cano has shown a bit better plate discipline so far, and has posted a .385/.467/.538 line. Xavier Nady has taken just one walk in 26 plate appearances, but is still hitting .280 with four doubles.

Swisher, Nady, Posada, and Cano have powered the Yanks through the first seven games. Now it’s time for the other guys to step up. Those four can’t keep up this torrid pace forever. They’re going to regress, and when they do it’s going to be up to Jeter, Damon, Matsui, and Gardner to pick up the slack. Ransom’s slack, of course, will be picked up by A-Rod in due time. Just imagine how many runs they can score then.

Categories : Offense

110 Comments»

  1. Slugger27 says:

    i just wanna say that “T-Dizzle” is my little brother. hes only 13. while he is a moron, he means well, and is a diehard yankees fan like the rest of us…. i just act not to take him seriously, as hes not privy to a lof of information we take for granted. he thinsk VORP is something out of a crash bandicoot game… so just go easy on him

    as for the yanks offense, i think the run total might be deceiving. outside of the burnett game, the offense hasnt looked all that great. theyve had a few games where they bunch of their runs in the 8th and 9th innings of games that were already out of reach.

    however, i do think 900 runs is possible. tex coming back should help

  2. Mike Pop says:

    The BULLPEN is this team’s problem. Who’s going to that bridge from outs 22-24, Joe? That is the question I want answered.

    Sincerely,
    John Kruk

  3. Chris says:

    It is pretty clear that Alex Rodriguez can and will provide better production than Cody Ransom. That is one of 5 black holes filled. Derek Jeter, at his worse, is still posting an OBP of around .350. Damon should come around so that isn’t much of a concern either.

    Brett Gardner is a legit concern. He can not hit major league pitching and he can not play center field well. He is terrible at balls hit behind him and plays way too shallow. He is one of the worst back tracking outfielders I have ever seen. Maybe it’s jitters, maybe he just can’t pick up the ball well on a major league field, but he should be sent to the minors to rectify his problems. This also might be a case of Brett letting his offensive woes carry to the outfield.

    You can’t steal first base, and as long as Gardner is on this team we will have a free out the entire season. I am lobbying for a trade of Nady and Melky for a strong center fielder who can OPS at least 100. Gardner will OPS+ around 50 and that is 20 points lower than Melky’s career worse.

    Either give Melky the job until AJAX is ready, or trade for someone. But Gritty Brett Gardner is not living up to the hype and needs to be dealt with soon.

    • I am lobbying for a trade of Nady and Melky for a strong center fielder who can OPS at least 100.

      I’m not sure what teams would trade us their good centerfielder for our pretty bad centerfielder and our above average rightfielder who can’t play centerfield and is a mortal lock to leave in the offseason for free agency.

      Do you have someone in mind? I’ve been pimping Cameron and Byrd, but those teams wouldn’t be much interested in taking back two outfielders for them, the deal would have to include someone else…

      • Mattingly's Love Child says:

        My question for you was if Byrd can actually play center worth a damn…. Then I looked at Fangraphs. Apparently last year he was great, and about average for the previous couple of years. So not a bad idea.

        But I don’t think the Rangers want what we got, unless a little IPK action interests them?

        • Here’s the thing, though: Byrd’s in his walk year, he hits free agency this winter. So it’s only a rental, and he’s only making 3M, so it’s not like he’s a financial albatross they’re dying to get rid of.

          Byrd would probably be available just because they’ve got an OF surplus and he’s an opportunity to improve their team (i.e. get more pitching). So if I’m the Rangers GM, yeah, I’m asking for at least IPK in return for a guy I don’t really have to trade.

          That’s why I still haven’t given up on my Mike Cameron fantasy. I’m betting a month or two from now when the Brewers are out of contention, they’ll be looking at the balance of that 10M contract and be motivated sellers. I think we can get Cameron cheaper than Byrd (in terms of prospects), so that’s my preference.

          • Oh, and this will make the Torrezoan Era people happy:

            A midseason trade of a non-prospect (or two) to a non-contender in exchange for their overpaid ProvenVeteran©®™ outfielder/DH/pinch hitter in Mike Cameron is a CLASSIC late-90’s dynasty move.

            Mike Cameron = Tim Raines, Cecil Fielder, David Justice, Chili Davis, etc.

            • Count Zero says:

              When postulating behavior evidenced by Torrezoan Era creatures, it’s important to consider the fossil record.

  4. Here’s a question for you:

    How long is Matsui allowed to be flat-out awful before being benched? I don’t bring up ransom here since we know his time is limited.

    What about Jeter? You can’t keep having a lead off man that can’t get on base!

    • Chris says:

      This is a bit premature. Unlike Gardner and Ransom we know Derek and Matsui have and will most likely hit.

      Matsui is, to an extent because of his injury history. But there is no point in switching a lineup constantly this early on. Gardner and Ransom need to be addressed. That’s about it.

    • Slugger27 says:

      if u look at the back of the baseball cards, matsui and jeter have a pretty impressive track record of producing offense

      a demotion in the batting order is certainly called for, but being benched is a little extreme… neither has had 30 at bats yet this season, lets give them the benefit of the doubt

      remember, jeter went 0-27 or something like that in 04, and rebounded nicely… i think its a slump that coincidentally is coming at the start of the season

      i dont think the wbc helped matters either

    • Expired Milk says:

      Thats the beauty of the the current team. Because with Swishers great play Nady/Damon take the DH spot.

      Ha ha yeah Beckett suspended 6 games!

  5. Chris says:

    I take solace in the fact that Jed Lowrie has started the season worse than Cody Ransom.

    Jed’s line: .056/.150/.056

    • Chris says:

      In Boston they are looking at Gardner who many people thought was our Jacoby Ellsbury and laughing the same way. Gardner and Cody’s failures trump the failures of a shortstop who is still playing solid defense. Gardner and Ransom are failing defensively and offensively.

      • Patrick T says:

        Um, I live in Boston and they talked (talk?) about Ellsbury like he was the second coming of Tris Speaker. That was well worthy of being laughed at. Unless I really missed something I haven’t heard any Yankee fans doing anything other than hoping Gardner could be a reliable stopgap til AJax is ready. Maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong circles.

        • Chris says:

          Wrong circles. Every single Yankee fan I spoke to leading up to the season drew comparisons to Brett Gardner as potentially Grady Seizmore (yes really). A hot (meaningless) spring drove a lot of fans insane.

          He is a terrible hitter, who can’t walk to save his life in the big leagues, and won’t ever hit at this level. In order for us to WIN NOW, he needs to be removed from the lineup.

          • Mike Pop says:

            You were talking to the wrong Yank fans and definitely not ones on here.

            • Chris says:

              Well to be fair I would have become just as agitated with yo guys if you considered anyone a “stopgap” to Austin Jackson, who at best is raw and still learning baseball and isn’t as projectable as Melky was. Melky, who put up better numbers than AJAX in the minors, is looked at as the red headed step child while AJAX seems to be the savior. The numbers don’t like. AJAX isn’t anything special – yet.

              • Slugger27 says:

                ajax has tools that melky just doesnt have.. hes a better athlete capable of a higher ceiling, especially on the offensive side

              • AJax career minor leagues: .284/.356/.411
                Melky career minor leagues: .296/.348/.420

                I wouldn’t say Melky had “better” minor league numbers. I’d say they’re pretty equal.

                But AJax always had more upside, no?

                • Mattingly's Love Child says:

                  Yes always more upside for AJax. But Neyer just had a post the other day about how players rarely outperform their minor league stats in a drastic way. I understand the skills AJax brings to the table, and I’ve seen enough of Melky to see what he brings. The fact that their stats are so similar is honestly a little disconcerting…

          • Mattingly's Love Child says:

            I’m inclined to believe you that Grit Gardner will not be a very good major leaguer. But all of what he has done in the minors and in spring training suggests that he is better than how he’s performing right now. I’m willing to give him a little longer to see what happens. It’s not like there are any good options out there to replace him that would make a huge difference(Melk Man, Cameron, Byrd—all have their problems). If he still isn’t getting on base in another week and his defense is still not good, then you gotta find someone who can at least field the position (even if they can only supply the same leve bat as Gardner is now). I think one week is a little early, but at the same time you can’t wait forever.

      • Chris says:

        Gardner this year: .227/.261/.273
        Ellsbury this year: .200/.259/.200

        I think the comparisons between the two are actually pretty valid. The difference is that the Red Sox are hoping Ellsbury can be their lead-off hitter. The Yankees are hoping Gardner doesn’t suck too badly.

        • Mattingly's Love Child says:

          Most scouts will tell you that Ellsbury has better skills. But if you don’t do anything with those skills eventually teams give up on you, ask Ruben Rivera. It is way too earlier for the Red Sox to give up on a better talent in Ellsbury. Gardner has always been discussed as a 5th and maybe a 4th outfielder . So if the Yanks were to give up on him being a starter after 2 weeks, its a little more reasonable.

          • Furthermore, the Red Sox were so counting on Ellsbury that they traded away their incumbent (and eminently serviceable) centerfielder Coco Crisp in exchange for a reliever.

            We are so NOT counting on Gardner that we’ve made his eventual replacement in AJax untouchable in deals, and thus far refuse to part with our fairly crappy backup plan of Melky, AND we’ve been sniffing around alternatives like Mike Cameron or Andruw Jones.

            We’re giving Gardner the opportunity to succeed but hedging the fuck out of our bet. They’re giving Ellsbury the opportunity to succeed but removing their safety net.

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        “a shortstop who is was still playing solid defense.”

        http://www.boston.com/sports/b.....rie_on_dl/

    • Jamal G. says:

      And Jacoby worse than Gardner: .200/.259/.200 (Dreamboat) vs. .227/.261/.273 (Gritt Grittner).

      • Chris says:

        The difference is that they are all playing terrible, but what separates Boston and New York’s “youngsters” is potential and defense.

        Jed Lowrie’s ceiling is significantly higher than Ransom’s, and right now, he is playing better defense.

        Ellsbury’s ceiling is a lot higher than Gardner’s, and he is playing better defense.

        So comparing 4 players that suck is pretty pointless, because ours suck more because they can’t field.

        We need to address our Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom problems ASAP.

        • Slugger27 says:

          “we need to address our brett gardner and cody ransom problems asap”

          the problem is we dont have attractive alternatives… the alternative to ransom is angel berroa or ramiro pena… and the alternative gritner is melky or swisher playing center, which wouldnt be ideal

          i think the best course of action with gardner is to give him another few weeks and see if he can figure it out… ill take a 330 obp outta him for the rest of the year til we can have ajax… as for ransom, give him another few games, and if he still sucks, try out berroa or pena

          were not exactly a team thats built to withstand an arod injury, so when we have one, we just gotta ride it out and hope for the best

          • Chris says:

            The idea that Brett Gardner can post a ML OBP of .330 is absurd. That suggests that at least he will hit around .310. You have to consider that Gardner will NOT walk in the majors at the same rate he did in the minors. No major league pitcher with any sense of the strike zone will throw the man 4 balls because he WONT hurt you if he makes contact. He doesn’t have that kind of ability.

            In short, he will probably hit .230/.280 and be horrendous. Because that is what his ability suggests he can do at his BEST. This isn’t spring training, he can’t jump on the first 85 mph fastball he sees.

            • Mattingly's Love Child says:

              If all major league pitchers could throw strikes when they wanted to, hitters would not hit nearly as well as they do.

              Your theory holds up against good pitchers. But there are an awful lot of garbage pitchers that will walk Gardner because they can’t throw consistent strikes.

              Hell, look what happened to CC on opening day!

            • The idea that Brett Gardner can post a ML OBP of .330 is absurd. That suggests that at least he will hit around .310.

              Chris, like my granddaddy told me, “The less a man makes declarative statements, the less apt he is to look foolish in retrospect.”

              If you asked me in July of 2008 if Brett Gardner would ever amount to shit, I’d have told you there was no chance. If you asked me in September of 2008, I’d have told you there was a chance.

              Gardner may be shitty. He may be decent. We’ll have to see. Do I think he can OBP .330? Probably not. Is it outside the realm of reasonable possibility? No, not at all.

          • steve (different one) says:

            i think we could withstand it if, you know, Teixiera didn’t get hurt.

            that’s really the issue.

            there really aren’t ANY teams that are built to withstand losing their 2 best hitters.

        • Jamal G. says:

          Jacoby Ellsbury’s ceiling is in no way “a lot higher than Gardner’s”, the former just has league-average power potential and that’s the only thing where Jacoby projects significantly – if at all – better than Gardner.

          Also Jed Lowrie is injured and currently on the 15-day D, so Nick Green is the one who should be compared to Cody Ransom (which I don’t understand why we’re comparing players when the season is basically a week-and-a-half old).

          Lastly, we’re seven games into the season, the term “ASAP” need not apply.

        • UWS says:

          Did’t Lowrie just go on DL? So his struggles and/or defensive prowess are kind of irrelevant right now.

        • JeffG says:

          Here is another difference between Lowerie and Ransom: Ransom will be replaced in a couple of weeks by one of the best players in the game.
          And the idea you mentioned above where Yankee fans were looking at Gardner to be the next Seizmore is ridiculous. You must have met these people at a paint chip eating contest.

    • anonymous says:

      .238 .273 .619 Varitek

      Dont mind the slugging. Someone must have been serving meatballs for dinner.

  6. DCR says:

    Damon needs to play center until they can swing a deal. The production that an outfield of Nady, Damon, and Swisher will provide probably cancels out the amount of runs Damon’s defense costs us.

    • Chris says:

      Damon can’t range as well as Melky or Brett in Centerfield. Melky and Brett right now have about the same range, simply because Melky reads the ball off the bat better than Brett Gardner. This was best seen in the play where they almost collided last night.

      Damon would be a disaster in CF. And a defensive outfield with Damon, Swisher, and Nady would be horrendous. Melky Cabrera needs to play CF and Gardner needs to be used to create opportunities late. That would be intelligent. Melky showed last night that he can hit a baseball, hard. Gardner can not do that. Go with Melky until we can swing a deal or until Austin Jackson is ready.

    • whozat says:

      It’s weird to me that people are freaking out about generating offense when the team is averaging more than five runs a game without Tex or ARod.

      I thought they needed to trade for Cameron in the offseason, but I’m willing to give Gardner some more time.

    • The production that an outfield of Nady, Damon, and Swisher will provide probably cancels out the amount of runs Damon’s defense costs us.

      Considering that Damon in CF has been about 20-40 runs below average the past few years and Nady in the corners is about 0-5 runs below average, I doubt that. I think putting Damon in CF fulltime, playing Nady, and benching Gardner still probably gives us a net offense + defense lower than leaving Damon in LF, playing Gardner, and benching Nady.

      JMHO.

  7. Chris - Brett Gardner To Scranton says:

    I hope he turns it around, I was rooting for him, but his excitement comes in small doses because he just can’t hit baseballs hard. And if you can’t do that, you won’t walk and you will rarely see first base.

  8. Rich says:

    Nady doesn’t do walks, but he may be starting to hit.

    • steve (different one) says:

      yeah, kindof lost in the shuffle of last night’s debacle….the ball that Upton made that obscene catch on was crushed. it’s an out, so it doesn’t count for anything, but it was a loud out and may mean some good things are coming.

      Nady can hit, he’s just a not a superstar.

        • Jamal G. says:

          It just goes to show you that plate discipline is the most important skill that any hitter can have. Honestly, what other player can you think of off the top of your head that you would not be overtly enthusiastic about their upward trends over the past three seasons? We aren’t that way with Nady because the mofo just simply does not have on-base skills, thus, we are much more hesitant to be enthusiastic about any offensive improvements.

  9. I know it’s completley OT, but Beckett got suspended six games

    http://tinyurl.com/c7oj8f

    I know it’s only one start for him, but at least I don’t feel so bad about Joba being suspended all those other times!

  10. kunaldo says:

    this is off topic as well, but michael kay is back to his usual “holier than thou” self and is saying swisher was “out of line” with keeping the strikeout ball and yucking it up on the mound

    excuse me…no one likes getting their butts whooped…but the game was essentially over…girardi MADE it a joke when he put swish in to pitch…and well, shit happens…you lighten the mood and put the beating on the other team the next day

    i dont even know why i listen to 1050 after kellerman left

  11. Infamous says:

    I read a post on Fangraphs about how Milledge might be getting sent down to AAA.

    How bout sending some pitchers over there for him? What do you think it would take?

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      Well, considering that IPK would instantly become their ace (by default), it shouldn’t take much more than that.

      But considering in 1,000 MLB PAs, he’s 261/326/400, I don’t know if I’d do it. At what point does “potential” become “unrealized potential”?

  12. Matt says:

    Xavier Nady has taken just one walk in 26 plate appearances, but is still hitting .280 with four doubles.

    This is definitely something we should get used to.

  13. [...] to mess with Robinson Cano. He’s in the sixth spot yet again tonight while Brett Gardner, who hasn’t been a bright spot in the Yanks’ offense, hits leadoff. Yes, Gardner’s fast, but he also hasn’t hit much this season. While [...]

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