Ellsbury returning to better lineup than one he left behind earlier this season


Later today, the Yankees will officially welcome Jacoby Ellsbury back from the DL. (Andrew Miller too!) He missed 43 games with a knee injury and will finally return to the lineup tonight, seven weeks after getting hurt when he caught a spike during a swing. Injuries don’t get much flukier than that. What can you do?

At the time of Ellsbury’s injury, the Yankees were averaging a solidly above-average 4.38 runs per game, and that number has since climbed to 4.60 runs per game overall. The team managed to score 4.80 runs per game without their leadoff hitter. Go figure. Like many of you folks I figured the Yankees would have a harder time scoring runs simply because Ellsbury is one of their top hitters. Brett Gardner is a fine fill-in leadoff hitter, but still, the Yankees lost a good bat.

Earlier this season the Yankees relied heavily on the top of the order. That’s putting it lightly. They were totally dependent on the top of the lineup to score runs. Ellsbury and Gardner were getting on base, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira were driving them in, and that was it. The bottom five hitters in the lineup were doing nothing. Ellsbury and Gardner got on, A-Rod and Teixeira got them in. If that didn’t happen, the Yankees didn’t score.

Things are much different now because a few (not all) of those players at the bottom of the lineup have either turned their season around or simply picked up the pace a little bit. Here’s the quick rundown:

Date of Ellsbury’s injury Since Ellsbury’s injury
Brian McCann .228/.279/.382 (78 wRC+) .297/.388/.559 (161 wRC+)
Carlos Beltran .236/.272/.386 (75 wRC+) .287/.349/.478 (130 wRC+)
Chase Headley .236/.284/.389 (84 wRC+) .263/.323/.351 (88 wRC+)
Didi Gregorius .204/.269/.241 (42 wRC+) .270/.314/.392 (95 wRC+)
Stephen Drew .188/.271/.350 (70 wRC+) .164/.231/.369 (62 wRC+)

There’s no correlation here. The five regulars at the bottom of the order didn’t start performing better — well, three regulars are performing better, Drew has been worse and Headley just changed the shape of his production without really improving much  — because Ellsbury got hurt. They didn’t step up their game because they had to pick up the slack. That’s a cheesy narrative. Those guys were playing below their talent level and simply picked it up as the season continued and the sample grew. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.

Obviously McCann is the big one there. For the first few weeks of the season he looked like 2014 McCann, meaning lots of weak pop-ups and missed meatballs. It wasn’t pretty. He’s been substantially better the last two months or so, hitting for average and power while drawing more walks. McCann has been the guy he was with the Braves all those years and it’s added length to the lineup. Much-needed length.

Gregorius went from totally useless at the plate early in the season to competent now. That’s the best way to put it, competent. He’s not tearing the cover off the ball but he’s not a total zero anymore either. Headley did a surprisingly fine job filling in as the two-hole hitter — he hit .291 with a .340 OBP as the No. 2 hitter while Ellsbury was out, albeit with little power (.376 SLG) — though he’s a better fit for the lower third of the order, where he’ll hit now.

The Yankees won’t be firing on all cylinders when Ellsbury returns because Beltran is on the DL, and who knows how long he will be sidelined. Obliques are very tricky and easy to re-injure. Beltran has really turned things around the last few weeks and that’s a big bat that will be missed. Hopefully he’s able to make it back shortly after the All-Star break. Either way, his turn around was a huge reason why the offense improved so much in recent weeks.

Although the Yankees did score more runs per game with Ellsbury on the shelf, it doesn’t mean they’re better off without him. Hardly. It just means they’ll be that much better with him. He adds speed to a very station-to-station team and lengthens the lineup, not to mention improves the defense. The Yankees are a better team with Ellsbury healthy, and they’re even more dangerous when guys like McCann, Beltran, and Gregorius are producing.

Yankees can’t wait any longer to attempt to fix second base situation


Even after struggling offensively these last seven or ten days, the Yankees still rank second in baseball with an average of 4.62 runs per game. Only the absurd Blue Jays (5.48!) have been better. Yes, the Yankees hit better at home than on the road, but for the most part the offense has been very good this season. It’s nice knowing a two or three-run deficit is no longer insurmountable, isn’t it?

The Yankees have fielded such a strong offense despite having a total black hole at second base. The team’s second basemen are hitting a combined .182/.246/.339 (57 wRC+) in 313 plate appearances, the third worst second base production in the game, better than only the Royals (51 wRC+) and White Sox (24 wRC+). ChiSox second basemen are hitting .189/.234/.227 this year. Good gravy. Imagine watching that everyday? Geez.

Anyway, most of New York’s second base damage comes courtesy of Stephen Drew, and I don’t mean damage in a good way. He’s hitting .178/.251/.364 (67 wRC+) overall, far below league average despite eleven home runs, the second most at the position behind Brian Dozier (16). Other fill-ins like Jose Pirela and Gregorio Petit haven’t contributed much either. Second base has been a black hole all season.

The Yankees have waited very patiently for Drew to turn things around and it hasn’t happened. There aren’t even signs of it maybe, possibly happening in the coming weeks either. Exit velocity? Drew is averaging 85.9 mph off the bat, ranking 288th out of the 321 players with at least 100 at-bats. His exit velocity is not even trending upward either:Stephen Drew exit velocity

Drew is hitting .170/.243/.329 (55 wRC+) since resurfacing last year and that’s in 565 plate appearances. That’s spread across two seasons obviously but the excuses have all been exhausted. He had a full Spring Training this year, there haven’t been any injuries, nothing. It’s a full season worth of terrible, unplayable, just about any other player would lose his job production.

As it stands right now, second base is the only flexible position on the Yankees. They’re locked into players at every other position either developmentally (Didi Gregorius) or contractually (everyone else), at least once Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran return. The outfield is a bit of a mess until then. Still, there is no long-term obligation to Drew or anyone else at second base, and the season is now halfway complete. We’re firmly in “time to make a change” territory.

The Yankees only have one in-house second base alternative in Rob Refsnyder, who hasn’t exactly forced the issue with his play in Triple-A. He hasn’t been bad (.281/.378/.386 and 127 wRC+), he just hasn’t been great for a bat first prospect, and you’d like to see a non-elite prospect force the issue before a promotion. Then again, the Yankees have not been shy about trying out young players this year, specifically in the outfield and in the bullpen. Refsnyder could be next.

I feel like a trade is inevitable. The Yankees are atop a very tight yet winnable division, and you know Hal Steinbrenner & Co. are terrified of the prospect of a third straight postseason-less year and all that lost playoff revenue. I would be surprised if they don’t make a trade at the deadline. The second base market isn’t very good though. There’s the perfect for everyone Ben Zobrist and then a bunch of retreads like Brandon Phillips and Dustin Ackley. Hopefully the market spits out some more names in the three and half weeks before the deadline.

Either way, the Yankees have reached a breaking point at second base. They’re already carrying one soft spot at the bottom of the order in Gregorius and can’t afford to carry another despite the lineup’s strong offensive production overall. The AL East race is too close to let this go on any longer. Drew has given the Yankees no reason to think he will start hitting, and if the team doesn’t think Refsnyder is the answer, then they have to start aggressively looking for help outside the organization.

Massive home/road offensive split defining the season so far for the Yankees

"Alright guys, three runs, great game!" (Presswire)
“Alright guys, three runs, great game!” (Presswire)

The Yankees went 3-4 on their seven-game road trip despite scoring only 18 runs in the seven games, with half those runs coming on Saturday. They scored zero or one run in each of the four losses, though Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh deserve credit for excellent performances. They overmatched the Yankees. C.J. Wilson and Andrew Heaney? Eh, not so much.

Not surprisingly, the Yankees are averaging more runs per game at home (5.77) than on the road (3.77). A lot more. I ridiculous amount more. They’ve scored 36 more runs at home in nine fewer games. Geez. Easy to understand why they’re 21-14 (+38 run differential) at home and 21-23 (-16 run differential) on the road in 2015. Just about every offense is better at home — MLB average is 4.22 runs per game at home and 4.02 on the road — but the Yankees have taken it to the extreme this season. Here are the team’s raw offensive numbers:

Home 1,395 .282/.350/.496 130 8.5% 18.2% 22.5 10.3 .306
Road 1,666 .235/.302/.371 88 8.1% 19.0% 39.7 14.5 .269

The Yankees are Kris Bryant at home and Michael Cuddyer on the road. This recent road trip was an extreme example of their offensive struggles away from the Bronx but it’s not confirmation bias either — the Yankees are substantially more productive at home. They’re a much more dangerous team playing in Yankee Stadium. Their three highest run totals and six of their nine highest run totals have come in the Bronx this year, unsurprisingly.

It’s easy to understand why the Yankees are more productive at home, right? Yankee Stadium is a hitter friendly park and the Yankees have tailored their lineup for the short right field porch — Brian McCann, Garrett Jones, and Stephen Drew are all left-handed pull hitters who were brought in after everyone knew how the park played (Mark Teixeira signed before the park opened), and Carlos Beltran is way more effective batting lefty than righty. Has been for years. Brett Gardner learned how to pull the ball for power in recent years as well, and even Didi Gregorius has benefited from the short porch.

The largest home/road splits belong to McCann (195 wRC+/62 wRC+), Gardner (179/107), Drew (101/44), and Alex Rodriguez (182/113). A-Rod‘s the outlier as a right-handed hitter. The home/road splits make sense for the other guys. Rodriguez is hitting for power both at home (.256 ISO) and on the road (.201 ISO), and his walk rates are high (13.7% and 12.0%), yet he has a .393 BABIP at home (146 PA) and a .248 BABIP on the road (166 PA). The sample sizes aren’t big though, and I suspect his home production will take a step back and is road production will improve as the season progresses.

There are other factors in play here that are tough to quantify, if not outright impossible. For example: traveling sucks. The Yankees have played 44 road games this season, the second most in baseball, and their 35 home games are the third fewest. Thirty-four of their 57 games since May 1st have been on the road. Yeah, they’re pro athletes and they make gobs of money, but maybe they’re just worn out from the travel. How do you quantify a good night’s sleep? I don’t know, but the Yankees are trying.

I’m not sure how or if the Yankees can improve their road production. I don’t think they can force the issue and try to be something they’re not — sac bunts, hit-and-runs, those sorts of things. They don’t have many players capable of doing that stuff. This is a team of wallbangers. I’d like to think this lineup is better than a true talent 88 wRC+ offense on the road, especially once Jacoby Ellsbury returns, but this recent road trip was a reminder of how tough it can be for the Yankees to score runs when the threat of a short porch homer doesn’t always exist.

Slowly and steadily, Gregorius is turning things around at the plate

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

Let’s start with the obvious: the first 70 games of the Didi Gregorius era have not been pretty. He’s hitting a weak .231/.283/.325 (67 wRC+) overall and his defense, while occasionally spectacular, has been enigmatic at times. Decision-making has been an issue too. I think we all knew there would be some growing pains with Didi this season, but not this many.

Thankfully Gregorius has settled down in recent weeks and looks way more comfortable than he did in April, both at the plate and in the field. “I’m settling down a little bit more. Trying to get more comfortable more at-bats, better at-bats, so it’s getting better,” he said to Chad Jennings recently. The bad decisions don’t really happen anymore and his offense is, very slowly and steadily, trending upward.

Gregorius started well — relatively well, anyway — during the last two seasons with the Diamondbacks before fading as the season progressed. This year he’s done the opposite. Started terribly and now gradually heading in the right direction. That’s … something. I mean, the guy still has a 67 wRC+, but at least there is some semblance of improvement:

Didi Gregorius wOBANo one is claiming Gregorius has suddenly become an offensive dynamo. We’re just looking for some silver linings here, and Didi has indeed gotten better at the plate as the season has progressed. Let’s break his season up into three almost equal parts:

AVG/OBP/SLG wRC+ BB% K% Soft% Hard% O-Swing% Z-Swing%
Games 1-23 .212/.274/.242 44 6.8% 17.8% 22.2% 9.3% 35.2% 75.2%
Games 24-46 .222/.290/.349 78 5.7% 17.1% 21.2% 23.1% 33.1% 69.2%
Games 47-70 .253/.284/.373 79 4.5% 14.8% 16.9% 29.6% 30.8% 75.2%

The slash line is what counts the most, at the end of the day we’re all judged on results, but the most important numbers going forward here are the K%, Hard%, and O-Swing%. Gregorius has cut down on his strikeout rate while making more hard contact and swinging at fewer pitches out of the strike zone. His hard contact rate has improved considerably as the season marches on.

A few weeks ago the Yankees had both Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez, two veterans who know a whole lot about what it takes to be a successful big league hitter, work with Gregorius in an effort to get him headed in the right direction at the plate. Beltran specifically said he worked with Didi to use the same approach in batting practice and in the cage as in games. “I am taking BP seriously, trying to get better,’’ said Gregorius to George King.

The league average shortstop is hitting .248/.298/.358 (81 wRC+) this season, so while Didi is still short of even that low bar, he’s getting closer. Gregorius doesn’t figure to hit for much power outside of a few Yankee Stadium home runs now and then and he doesn’t walk either, so his offensive potential is limited. It’s basically batting average plus a little extra on top. That’s okay though. Gregorius with average shortstop offens plus his defense makes him a slightly above-average player for the position in my opinion.

There are two questions going forward. One, will Gregorius ever actually become a league average hitting shortstop? He’s trending the right way now but that’s not guaranteed to continue. The increase in hard contact and decline in strikeouts are encouraging, sure, but that only goes so far. Two, should Gregorius one day become that league average hitting shortstop, is that good enough for the Yankees? The Yankees will always and forever be driven by star power, and a shortstop with an 81 wRC+ and good defense probably doesn’t fit the bill.

I imagine the Yankees are hoping Gregorius develops the way Brandon Crawford has developed for the Giants. Crawford started out as a no-hit/all-glove shortstop earlier in his career but improved at the plate little by little each season as he entered his peak years. He’s gone from a 81 wRC+ to a 92 wRC+ to a 102 wRC+ to a 132 wRC+ during his age 25-28 seasons. Obviously the Yankees would like more immediate impact from Gregorius, but, if he were to develop on a similar timetable as Crawford, I doubt they’d complain.

For now, Didi has been able to shake off his brutal April and show signs of improvement at the plate. Not just signs of improvement, I mean actual, tangible improvement. He’s hitting better now than he did earlier this season. The numbers say so. His strikeout rate is down and his hard contract rate is up. Progress! It’s progress, very slow and steady progress, but progress nonetheless. Hopefully it continues.

Yankees starting to feel the loss of Ellsbury offensively

(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)

Saturday marks the one-month anniversary of Jacoby Ellsbury being placed on the 15-day DL with a knee injury we still don’t know much about. We don’t know what he hurt (which ligament, etc.), we just know he didn’t need surgery and is slowly working his way back. Emphasis on slow. Earlier this week Joe Girardi told reporters Ellsbury’s rehab isn’t as far along as hoped.

“He is not where we want him to be physically, so we are not going to risk it. He is not running 100 percent, and obviously that is important,” said Girardi to George King. “It’s going slower than we thought it might. I said earlier in this trip that our hope was — you always get a little excited that things would move faster, but it just didn’t.”

Unfortunately slow rehabs are nothing new for Ellsbury, who had all sorts of injuries with the Red Sox and always seemed to take a little longer to return than initially expected. He’s a slow healer. That’s just his body. The Yankees have said they hope to get Ellsbury back later this month but I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t return until the All-Star break, which is only four weeks away now.

Either way, slow rehab or not, the Yankees are really starting to feel the loss of Ellsbury offensively. Defense hasn’t been a problem, guys like Chris Young and Slade Heathcott and Ramon Flores and Mason Williams have filled in admirably in the field, but Ellsbury is a game-changing leadoff man and the Yankees haven’t been able to replace his bat in the lineup. Well, they were never going to be able to do that, but they did weather the storm for a while.

Ellsbury got hurt in the middle of an at-bat against the Nationals on May 19th, in the team’s 40th game of the season. In their first 39 games, the Yankees averaged a healthy 4.38 runs per game, better than the 4.13 MLB average. In the 25 games since Ellsbury’s injury, the Yankees are averaging … 4.60 runs per game. But — there’s a but! — the offense has lagged big time of late.

Last night’s win over the Marlins was New York’s third straight game scoring two or fewer runs. They’ve scored just 21 runs in their last seven games. That’s after averaging 5.22 runs per game in the first 18 games without Ellsbury. The Yankees lost their high-end leadoff hitter, somehow increased their average offensive output by nearly a run a game for three weeks, then crashed back to early the last week or so.

For a while the Yankees were able to keep their heads above water offensively without Ellsbury, but his absence is turning into an extended one, and it was only a matter of time until it caught up to the team. Brett Gardner has cooled off, Chase Headley and Stephen Drew still haven’t gotten going, Carlos Beltran isn’t doing much … the Yankees were only going to be able to thrive without Ellsbury for so long.

There’s nothing the Yankees can do now other than wait. Wait and hope guys like Headley and Beltran start chipping in more than they have. Ellsbury is still a few weeks from returning and while these recent offensive struggles are on the extreme side — they’re not going to average three runs per game like they have the last seven games forever, not even the 2013-14 offenses were that bad — the Yankees are without a key piece of the lineup and it’s starting to show.

Chase Headley, the clutch Yankee

(Richard Perry/The New York Times)
(Richard Perry/The New York Times)

There are a ton of ways you can slice-and-dice Chase Headley’s first full season in the Bronx. Unfortunately, most of them paint the picture of a player having one of the worst statistical seasons of his career, both offensively and defensively, and performing well below preseason expectations.

He’s on pace to post the lowest walk rate, on-base percentage and OPS of his career (excluding his cup-of-coffee season in 2007), and is just a few ticks away from career-worsts in batting average and slugging percentage. Overall, his park- and league-adjusted production is 16 percent worse than the average major-league hitter, a stunning reversal from both last season with the Yankees (21 percent better) and his career entering this year (14 percent better). Yuck.

And that’s just what he’s done this season at the plate.

In the field, he’s already matched his career-high in errors (13) — barely one-third of the way through the schedule — and he’s cost the team a whopping eight runs on defense (per Defensive Runs Saved). This surprisingly sloppy glovework comes on the heels of being ranked as one of the best fielding third baseman in baseball last year, and is really shocking given his stellar defensive reputation throughout his career.

But there’s a very good reason why every Yankee fan should thank Brian Cashman for signing Headley this winter:

Headley has performed better in clutch situations than any other Yankee hitter this season, and has raised his game when the stakes are the highest.


First let’s take a look at the most basic “clutch” situation — hitting with runners in scoring position. Headley boasts a .308/.350/.635 in those plate appearances, one of the top three slash lines on the team. That’s pretty darn good.

Then, let’s add a little pressure and look at “close and late” at-bats, which is defined as the seventh inning or later with the batting team ahead by one, tied, or has the tying run on base, at bat or on deck. Headley checks in with the team’s second-best batting average (.290) and on-base percentage (.389), and third-highest slugging percentage (.387). Bravo, Chase.

Finally, let’s see Headley performs in all high-leverage situations. Leverage is basically an attempt to quantify how tense and suspenseful any single at-bat is in a game. For example, there is a lot more on the line — in terms of winning or losing — when a batter steps to the plate trailing by a run in the ninth inning with two outs, compared to a similar at-bat in the third inning or if you are ahead by five runs.

Headley has the highest batting average (.333), slugging percentage (.625) and OPS (1.010) in high-leverage situations on the team. Boom! He’s producing at a level 83 percent better (!) than the average guy, a top-25 mark among all qualified players in the Majors this season.

It’s not only that Headley had performed really, really well in these high-pressure situations. The other part of the story is that Headley is also having perhaps the worst offensive season in his career, yet he’s come up huge for the Yankees in the biggest spots. Hitting .333 in high-leverage at-bats when you are hitting .245 overall is not the same as doing that when you are hitting .333 overall. The first guy is, by this definition, clutch; the second guy is … just awesome. How clutch, though?

FanGraphs has a statistic that attempts to measure this nebulous “Clutch” term, by comparing a player’s production in high-leverage situations to his context-neutral production. Headley has by far the highest Clutch score on the Yankees, and also one of the top-15 marks in baseball.

Sure, you can lament the fact that he’s been pretty mediocre overall; but you can also celebrate the fact that Headley has contributed positively in the most critical at-bats this season.


Now, the big caveat in this whole discussion is that while these various clutch metrics do a good job of describing what’s happened in the past, they do very little to predict the future.

So instead of trying to analyze why Headley has performed like Bryce Harper in high-leverage situations, or debate whether he can sustain his clutch hitting, let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride. There are a lot of reasons to be disappointed in how much Headley has under-performed this season, but there’s also one big reason to be happy he’s on the team and his bat is in the lineup every day.

A-Rod showing the value of having a great full-time DH rather than a DH rotation


Over the last few seasons Joe Girardi and the Yankees have employed the rotating DH strategy. Rather than have one set DH, they rotated their regular position players into the spot every so often to give them “half days off,” as Girardi calls them. This has caught on around the league too — David Ortiz and Billy Butler have been baseball’s only pure DHs the last few years.

This year the Yankees are unable to employ a rotating DH. Alex Rodriguez is closing in on his 40th birthday and he has two surgically repaired hips, so at this point of his career playing the field regularly just isn’t happening. Girardi has installed A-Rod as the team’s full-time DH almost because he has no other choice. Alex is too productive to sit yet too frail to play the field.

So far this season A-Rod has been arguably the most productive DH in baseball, especially since Nelson Cruz has played more right field (33 games) than DH (19 games). Here are the most productive DHs so far this year among players with at least 100 plate appearances at the position, via Baseball Reference:

1 Prince Fielder 189 23 64 9 0 9 32 10 23 .368 .418 .575 .993 165
2 Alex Rodriguez 190 28 47 9 1 11 27 23 41 .292 .384 .565 .949 152
3 Jose Bautista 126 18 29 12 1 3 20 22 20 .287 .405 .515 .920 147
4 Jimmy Paredes 141 23 43 9 2 6 22 8 34 .323 .362 .556 .918 143
5 Kendrys Morales 202 32 56 16 0 6 37 15 30 .304 .361 .489 .851 127
6 Evan Gattis 190 23 42 9 2 11 34 8 47 .233 .263 .489 .752 97
7 David Ortiz 189 14 38 9 0 6 18 20 25 .228 .307 .389 .696 87
8 Billy Butler 221 22 54 9 0 4 26 14 34 .267 .317 .371 .688 86
9 Adam LaRoche 148 12 25 5 0 1 11 23 45 .203 .338 .268 .606 67
10 Victor Martinez 127 9 24 3 0 1 15 14 11 .222 .315 .278 .593 63

First of all, that’s it, just ten players have batted at least 100 times as a DH this year. Only six have batted more than 150 times as a DH, so yeah, the full-time DH is a dying breed. Teams love that rotating DH concept.

A-Rod has been baseball’s second most productive DH this season behind only Prince Fielder — Fielder has only played ten games at first base this year — in terms of OPS+, and he is tied for the DH lead in home runs. Only five full-time-ish DHs have a better than league average OPS+, and one of them is Jose Bautista, a right fielder who only played DH because a shoulder injury limited his throwing for a few weeks. So it’s really just four DHs with a better than average OPS+.

In theory, DH is a pretty easy job because all the player has to do is hit. There’s minimal defense work, leaving plenty of time to watch video, review scouting reports, hit in the cage, the whole nine. But it’s really not that easy, especially for players used to playing everyday. Jason Giambi is a great example of a player who was always less productive at DH because he didn’t know what to do with all the downtime. He’s far from alone. Going from playing everyday to being a DH is a tough adjustment.

A few years ago MGL found that, like pinch-hitters, there’s a “penalty” while serving as the DH. Players generally do not hit perform as well at DH as they do when playing the field, the same way players are less effective when coming off the bench to pinch-hit. The penalty is around 5%, and while that doesn’t seem like much, remember that’s only the average. Some players suffer an even bigger drop. Being a DH is hard! Sitting around between at-bats is not natural.

A-Rod seems to having figured out how to be an effective DH, however. He’d never worked as a DH for an extended period of time before this season — his career high for starts at DH was only 16 back in 2013 — but he’s been able to make the adjustment this year and remain productive. There’s been no drop off in production. Quite the opposite, in fact. Alex is hitting far better than I think even the most optimistic fans expected coming into the season.

As unsexy as it is, DH is a position, and a tough position at that. The list of players who can sit around between at-bats day after day and still rake is very short. Rodriguez has figured out a way to be one of the most productive DHs in baseball, and that’s a big advantage for the Yankees, especially since they got a combined .209/.283/.340 (62 OPS+) batting line from their DH spot from 2013-14. (I checked that three times!)

The DH is there for one reason and one reason only, to provide offense, but the Yankees got minimal offense from the position the last few years. Most teams around the league aren’t getting much production from the position either because they keep rotating players in and out, and most players see their numbers take a hit as the DH. This year the Yankees have the luxury of a great full-time DH in A-Rod, who is living up to the H part of DH game after game.