BBB Mailbag May 11: Austin, Drury, Bird, Gardner, rain delays

Every Friday morning, I will start answering your guys’ questions in regards to the Yankees or anything baseball related. Be on the lookout for tweets regarding the mailbag or tweet us whenever convenient with the hashtag #BBBMailbag to send in a question. Here are this weeks’ questions and my answers:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

I always appreciate a genuine question, so I will try to give a genuine answer. Tyler Austin started off the season scorching hot and made people, including myself, forget about Greg Bird for the time being. However, since Austin’s suspension due to his actions in the Boston Brawl, Austin has seen his batting average drop from .290 to .234 as of the conclusion of Thursday night’s contest. While it is hard to tell if there is a direct correlation of his drop-off in output and the suspension, it does make for an interesting case. Austin has two very alarming trends in his game. He does not walk a lot, and he strikes out a ton. Austin has struck out in every single game he has played this season for a combined total of 32 strikeouts in only 77 at-bats and has only walked seven times. To put those numbers in perspective, Austin would be projected to strike out 229 times and walk only 50 times in 550 at-bats. It is obvious he still has some holes in his swing and his low contact rate is catching up with him as his production this season has relied heavily on the long ball. Inconsistent playing time could be another factor with the suspension and the emergence of Neil Walker’s bat, but I believe when it is all said and done, Austin needs to cut down on the strikeouts and put together better at-bats.

I am going to keep this answer short and sweet, no. MLB does not control the weather.

Aaron Boone has referenced this as a good problem to have as the Yankees have a surplus of position players who could be productive major league players. Bird and Drury are both on the comeback trail, and I believe they both will be optioned to the major league roster, when they are ready. I think Walker has saved his job for the time being with his recent surge, so I do not see the Yankees cutting ties with him. Unless Austin heats back up in a hurry, I believe he will be sent down to Triple-A. It is unfortunate, but he has really fallen off in terms of offensive production, and Walker is the more reliable player at this point in time. In terms of Drury, I think the Yankees would be foolish to send Andujar down, but it may happen. The Yankees are really high on Drury, and still view him as an everyday player. Until Warren and Kahnle comeback, I predict the Yankees will send down Austin and DFA either AJ Cole or David Hale from the bullpen. However, when those two players are back, it would not shock me to see Andujar sent back down to Scranton.

Gardner has really struggled to start the season but showed signs of life in yesterday’s game, when he had two doubles and the game deciding triple. One aspect of his game that has not been utilized much to start the season is his ability to steal bases. He only has stolen two bases on the season, but it makes sense as to why he is slowing down in this category. Gardner still can run, and is probably still the quickest Yankee on the team as he has illustrated by his ability to beat out double plays, go the extra base on a hit, or ability to advance on dirt balls, but there is not a huge need for him to steal bases. Gardner is at an all-time loq in terms of OBP, which could be one reason why he is not collecting as many steals, but he also has huge hitters hitting behind him. In a ton of situations, it is not worth for him to risk getting thrown out stealing, when he can easily score on a ball hit in the gap. So, I think his speed has been shown in ways that do not necessarily show up in the scorebook, but do not expect his stole base total on the season to amount to more than 15-20.

Article by: Ryan Thoms


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