10 Positions in 10 Weeks: Analyzing Left Field
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In Part 6 of a 10-week series, I will make my way into the outfield to analyze the left field position from 2020 and who I believe will command the position in 2021.
Left field was commanded by several players last season, mainly by Brett Gardner. in 39 games, he committed two errors, which set him on pace for a career-high in that category had there been a full season.
Although it may not have been a favorable year for Gardner, a few positives come from the current longest-tenured Yankee. His speed continued to be vital, as he made some tough catches because of his quick legs that several other Yankees could probably not make. He was also consistent at staying healthy, which has been a necessity over the past couple of seasons.
At the plate. it was not a season that Gardner would want to remember. In 49 games, he hit .223 with five home runs and 15 RBIs but did manage to produce a .747 OPS. He only stole three bases and was caught three times, good for 50 percent efficiency.
Mike Tauchman was the other main attraction in left field, who started in 15 games. He had a perfect field percentage and managed to be one of the most reliable fielders on the entire team.
Offensively, Tauchman did not have anything close to the season he had in 2019. He did not manage to hit a single home run and went from a .277 average in 2019 to a .242 average in 2020. His slugging percentage dropped nearly .200 points. One notable is that Tauchman did manage to have six stolen bases in which he was never caught stealing.
Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier also played some in left field, but Andujar has already been discussed and Frazier will be discussed in just a couple of weeks.
Barring any sort of major trade, Frazier seems to be the guy going forward in left field. I believe Gardner will sign another one-year deal to remain with the Yankees but will see his role dramatically decreased. The Andujar experiment in left field may already be over, so I do not expect to see him anywhere in the outfield next season.
If Frazier were to be traded, Tauchman may get another shot at playing every day. He is a left-handed bat that could be crucial to balancing the right-handed heavy lineup.
The future in left field looks very solid for the Yankees, even if they decide to make a trade or two. But only time will tell who will be the everyday left fielder in 2021.