What to make of Aaron Boone's first series

Brian Cashman made a controversial move this offseason when he elected to not resign their manager for the past decade, Joe Girardi. Binder Joe wasn't beloved by all, but moving on from a World Series winning manager with a .554 regular season winning percentage and .538 postseason winning percentage right after they lose in game seven of the ALCS to the eventual World Series champs is a risky move. Cashman again made another statement by selecting Yankee hero Aaron Boone as their new manager, entrusting him to lead one of the most talented teams in all of baseball to another decade of prosperity.


After a full offseason and four regular season games, some trends and styles start to form in the Boone era. Although it is much too early to make any declarations, good or bad, about the new Yankee Skipper, it's worth something to look at what the future may hold in store for the fans and players in the Boone Era.

Let's get something straight, Boone is not Girardi, the former ESPN baseball announcer is more vocal and charismatic than the sometimes stoic and awkward Joe. Sitting on the podium with the brim of his hat resting just above his hairline, the precarious-looking Boone doesn't seem like a Yankee manager when he's cracking jokes about the eventful opening day of the newest Bronx Bomber Giancarlo Stanton. In contrast, the same Boone goes through his questioning by the often unforgiving New York media, like it's not a big deal like he's been doing this for years, suggesting that the pressure of the Big Apple hasn't gotten to the former third baseman.

The team just seems looser with their new captain at the helm, but don't mistake that for apathy or contentment. More than a couple Yankee players have already talked about the teams focus on getting better, shortstop Didi Gregorius even stated that if they don't get a ring, the season is a disappointment. This team is focused and ready to win now, even with a new coach running the show.

Boone's voice isn't just heard in the postgame or the locker room, but on the field as well. If you tuned into one of the spring training game, you heard plenty of ‘good job's and ‘atta boy's after each pitch that catcher Gary Sanchez corralled or framed. Taking a look at this tweet from @jomboy_below, you can see Aaron's evident enthusiasm with his player's performance with a hearty "Nice job baby! Thatta boy!"

Why is this important, shouldn't every coach be happy with a good performance and encourage their players to do well? Of course, but how often do you see that much positive actions and emotions from a manager during a relatively normal scenario? Boone is setting the tone early as a players coach; his players know that their coach is invested in their success as well as the team's success. I may be making the effect of Boone's personality a bigger deal than it is, but it's the thought process behind it.

Does Severino care that his coach comes out as jacked up as Boone was? Probably not much, but players are still people like everyone reading this, and positive encouragement does go a long way. Again, this may not be much of anything, but it still is something to watch moving forward, especially when things aren't going well and Boone needs to be the "bad guy."

What about Boone, the strategist? First thing I've noticed from his short tenure is how much Boone is willing to tinker with what he has, and his willingness to drain every last drop of production from his team. From the weeks spent on tinkering with different lineup setups, most notably Aaron Judge in the leadoff spot, to Judge, the center fielder, Boone is looking to find a way to win. He told Michael Kay of ESPN Radio that he spent a few weeks with the coaching staff and the front office with the idea of putting Judge in the leadoff spot, and how that would shake out the rest of the lineup.

One thing to note, in today's game, especially on a team as analytically driven as the Yankees, the numbers drive a lot if not most of the in-game decisions that a manager makes, which means some things Boone does, may not necessarily line up with what his ‘gut' may tell him. However, Boone has again set the tone early as numbers driven manager, and a stubborn one to boot. The Yankee head coach has stated that he lets the numbers dictate his decisions, even sitting a hot player for a cold one if the numbers said so.

This ideology has already shown up in the first few days of the season, as Boone elected to sit Tyler Austin, after a monstrous two home run day, for Neil Walker for matchup reasons. It showed up again with the David Robertson situation in Sunday's heartbreaking loss to the Blue Jays, where Boone elected to walk the struggling and unhealthy Josh Donaldson to load the bases for the red-hot Justin Smoak because Robertson had better numbers against the latter. After that decision royally backfired on the manager, Boone stuck to his guns about the numbers and said that he gave Robertson a choice to see Donaldson or Smoak and he chose Smoak. All those fans that hated that Girardi played by the numbers should've listened to the overwhelming evidence that suggested the replacement for Joe would follow the same numbers.


However, in that unfortunate Sunday disaster, something else came out, Boone asked Robertson who he wanted to face, and Robertson didn't produce. Boone also lets CC Sabathia stay past his pitch limit to finish an inning after visiting the mound to ask him how he feels, which shows Boone's personality again as a players coach. Boone trusted his players to decide in two situations where one went with the numbers, Robertson, and against the numbers, Sabathia. Boone may be a stickler for the numbers in theory but shows the ability to go against the numbers and trust his player in certain situations.

All of this should be taken with tempered optimism or cautious pessimism as the book of Aaron Boone's coaching career is far from over. Boone is a first-time manager; he will learn and make mistakes like any young player would, fans and players will need to ride the up and downs as time goes on. After only four months as the Yankees manager, some trends are starting to pop up, and it will be compelling moving forward to see how they change or which ones don't, but until then, calm down, it's only April.

Article by Maxx Hotton


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