Yankee Quick Hits (4/21/16): The Offense, Eovaldi, and Gregorius
- The offensive drought the team has experienced has not been kind to most hitters including my personal favorite, Mark Teixeira. Teixeira is a meager 1 for his last 15 at the plate. Upon further review, however, it's not all his fault. Pitchers have clearly been pitching around him of late as evidenced by his 12 walks so far. In a way, he's been very productive in taking those walks and getting on base. In fact, he's actually failed to get on base just twice this season. A quick solution here would be to bat Teixeira in front of the hot hitting Beltran. This way pitchers are forced to actually pitch to Tex. If he actually sees strikes, we all know he's capable of 30 HR power. If not, teams will continue to pitch around him to get to what has appeared to be a washed up Alex Rodriguez.
- Speaking of Rodriguez, it's hard not to be worried about the 40 year old DH's performance. A-Rod has two homers in the early going, but that's the only positive to speak of. He's hitting .163 in the early going and has struck out 15 times in 43 at bats. I wish there was something encouraging I could list here to redeem A-Rod to some degree, but the truth is he just looks completely over matched at the plate. Really all we can do is hope that he can find his way, otherwise these next two seasons are going to be very ugly and very expensive. If there's anyone who could turn it around at 40 though, it's A-Rod. But again, at 40, you have to wonder if the end is near.
- Carlos Beltran has been a pleasant surprise in this year and really has me wondering where this side of him was his first two years in pinstripes. I can't help but wonder if he's only displayed this hustle because it's the last year of his contract. Whatever it is, we haven't seen this side of him since he signed with the Pinstripes. Beltran leads Yankee regulars in HR (4), RBI (9), and AVG (.327). He's been the only light in what's otherwise been a dull start to the season for the Yankee offense.
- Jacoby Ellsbury has just been a royal mess this year. He's a career .288 hitter who is hitting just .220 this year. Sure, he's swiped four bags, but has also been caught twice, and when he's been caught, it hasn't even been close. The icing on the cake is that he's been an astounding liability in the field. Our very own Matt Cote explained to us that Ellsbury doesn't take great routes or read the ball well and what bails him out is his speed in being able to make up for mistakes. Well, with the speed on the decline, we've seen some funky plays by Ellsbury in the field and his defensive ineptitude has really been exposed. Ellsbury should be the Yankees #1 concern right now, as he's still owed $110mil on his contract and is giving virtually no production to earn that money. A hit with runners in scoring position is more likely than a team taking Ellsbury in a trade, so in all likelihood the Yankees will be stuck with him and have to hope for some kind of turn around.
- The Yankees failed to address a rotation loaded with question marks this offseason and while the offense has taken the spotlight off this fact, the rotation has been rather hit or miss. Masahiro Tanaka hasn't been too bad, but hasn't been ace-like. Michael Pineda belongs nowhere near the starting rubber for the Yankees right now. Luis Severino had loads of talent, but has struggled to harness it thus far. CC Sabathia is performing well enough for a fifth starter. But Nathan Eovaldi has really impressed me so far in the early going. I've been on record here several times criticizing the young flame thrower, but so far he's been the Yankees pitcher able to pitch deepest into games. His 6.11 ERA is high, but he's been victimized by his defense several times this year. If he can develop a put a consistent put away pitch, he's in for a breakout year.
- Didi Gregorius has provided solid defense and offense so far in the early going, but boy does he need to learn some of the most basic fundamentals of the game. He has severely hurt the team in back to back nights by not being able to execute a sacrifice bunt, or hold at second when a ground ball was hit right in front of him. These types of things shouldn't be a problem and it's frustrating as all get out when they occur. Gregorius has a history of these kinds of mental errors and he really needs to work on his focus and discipline until these things become second nature.
Article by: Nick Scott
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All statistics via Baseball-Reference and MLB.com