Who's Hot, Who's Not
The Yankees’ month of August, so far, can be best described as -- you guessed it -- savage. With 15 wins and just four losses on the month, they are 9.5 games ahead of their division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays, in first place in the A.L. East. They’re playing well over .500 are competing with the Astros for the first overall seed in the AL, which would clinch home-field advantage in the postseason.
Who are some of the surprise contributors? Who still needs to get their heads in the game?
|Photo Credit: Newsday/Jim McIsaac|
You’d have to be living under a rock to not hear the news of Gio Urshela’s recent hot streak. It remains to be seen whether he can continue this sort of pace with his clutch offense and solid defense at third base, as his track record simply isn’t long enough. But, right now, with the playoffs still weeks away, it’s safe to say Urshela falls into the “hot” column.
In just the month of August, the "Most Happy Fella" is 29-for-63 so far, a .493 batting average. He’s logged seven hone runs and 17 RBIs to add to that. From the defensive side, he’s certainly been an upgrade over Miguel Andújar at 3B on the season, with 46 putouts, 183 assists, and 17 double plays. And getting back to offense, in his last 14 games…
Urshela went 1 for 5 but is still hitting .448/.475/.879 with 7 HR, four doubles, 15 runs and 17 RBI in his last 14 games— Erik Boland (@eboland11) August 18, 2019
To top it off, Urshela is in the running (going head-to-head with none other than DJ LeMahieu) for the American League batting title but currently comes up short on the number of plate appearances required to win -- he needs to make 134 appearances before the end of the season in order to qualify. However, if he continues on the track that he’s on, he shouldn’t have any problem meeting the number, and his biggest problem will be staying ahead of LeMahieu in batting average.
Is Mike Tauchman a metaphorical flash in the pan? Possibly -- like Urshela, he doesn’t have a long track record to back up whether or not he’s in the bigs for the long haul. For now though, specifically over this most recent stretch, the Sock Man is certainly on the track of proving himself.
Tauchman hit .423 and .321 in the months of July and August, respectively. While his average went down in August, both numbers are still impressive -- and Tauchman has played in fewer games in August thus far than in July. That also shouldn’t take away from his five home runs and 15 RBIs in August.
On the defensive side, Tauchman has the ability to play all three outfield positions -- a versatility which only adds to his appeal as an up-and-coming favorite Yankee. Not only can is he versatile in the outfield for the Yanks, but he's shown to be an above-average defender with a solid arm.
Luis Cessa can’t seem to catch a break. In 33 game appearances, he’s only recorded one win and one save – and, thankfully, was only charged with one loss. He’s logged a career-high 64.0 IP and 64 strikeouts, but his season ERA of 4.36 is nothing to write home about -- and neither is his ERA of 6.55 for the month of August.
Cessa, who is in a bit of a mop-up role for the pinstripes, has not recorded a game without a walk since July 30. For a starter, that statistic is a bit more understandable. For a middle reliever, it’s concerning. The likelihood of him being on the postseason roster seems to dwindle by each passing day.
Well, this “not hot” portion is an upsetting one to write. Aaron Judge has simply not played like Aaron Judge so far this season. And rumors abound – is he still injured? Is his spark coming back? Is he re-injured?
Judge’s lackluster performance can be attributed to injury recovery in the month of July -- his first game back was only on June 21 -- but it’s continued into August. He’s hitting .222 on the month, with one home run, five RBIs and just 14 overall hits. None of these numbers are what the Yankees have come to expect from The Judge.
While fans have watched Judge strike out numerous times, 22 strikeouts in August alone is more than a lot.
However, Judge is still Judge, and he’s not unaware of his current slump.
Aaron Judge: “Gotta keep grinding. It sucks right now but we’ll get through it.”— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) August 16, 2019
Even his manager has not lost faith.
Aaron Boone on Aaron Judge’s struggles:— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) August 14, 2019
“It’s not ‘one of those years,’ it’s a tough couple of weeks. This game is hard ... but on balance, the year has been very good.” Still believes Judge will soon carry the team again.
With the postseason coming closer with every game, the Yankees can hope for improved performance from Judge, especially considering his outstanding fielding and RBI double on August 18 against the Cleveland Indians.
Article by: Mary Grace Donaldson