by Paul Semendinger
April 30, 2021
The Yankees started showing some life, until they lost yesterday in ten innings.
Of course, they should have shown something…they were playing the Orioles. And yet, all the mighty Yankees could do was split the four games.
The following are some of my thoughts and perspectives following the Orioles series:
If the Yankees can’t dominate the Orioles, something is very much a problem. In yesterday’s game, the Yankees’ #5 through #9 batters were all batting under .200 when I checked the Gamecast in the 5th inning. These were the hitters and their batting averages:
I was glad to see Corey Kluber pitch so well earlier in the series. I was glad he pitched into the 6th inning. That’s a huge step in the right direction.
I still believe in Kluber and Jamison Taillon.
The Yankees have to push Kluber and Taillon a bit more now and have them battle through tough stretches and get into the 6th inning (or more) regularly.
I will never understand Aaron Boone’s obsession with putting a power hitter (Judge and now Stanton) in the #2 spot in the batting order. I think sometimes teams try to show how brilliant they are by doing things that make little to no sense.
The other day I shared the stat that since the start of the 2019 season, Judge has 41 homers (very good) but just 87 runs batted in (not very good). That stat basically says that Judge will drive home runs when he homers, and rarely (if ever) else. That’s bad. Some responses came back stating that Judge’s lack of RBIs is more a reflection of the fact that few runners are on when he’s batting. With that I offer Exhibit #431 as to why your power hitter should not be batting second. Of course there aren’t many runners on. That’s why power hitters don’t bat second. This has been so obvious from the start.
Just because an idea is a new one, does not mean it is brilliant. For over 100 years, the game’s best power hitters rarely batted in the #2 spot. I decided to look up the names of various power hitters (some of the best in the game’s history) to see how often they batted second in their career. Here are the results:
Babe Ruth – 8 times
Hank Aaron – 93 times
Ted Williams – 57 times
Stan Musial – 45 times
Reggie Jackson – 106 times
Willie McCovey – 100 times
Mickey Mantle – 63 times
Willie Mays – 130 times
Jimmy Foxx – 12 times
Ty Cobb – 232 times
These players each played thousands of games. Why were all their managers so clueless as to not bat them second? Maybe it’s because second is not the best spot for a power hitter.
I am also sure I could make a longer list.. Better yet, I would love someone to share the name of any power hitter that routinely batted second in any batting order, ever. Are the Yankees that smart that they have found the magic formula? (If so, why are the Yankees losing so much?)
Going back to the list , Ty Cobb, a lifetime .366 hitter, batted third 1, 791 times, and fourth 834 times. They didn’t even bat Ty Cobb second very often!
Aaron Judge has batted second 274 times. If we add up very other spot in the batting order combined combined, it totals 171 games.
Speaking of Judge, he was out of the lineup for the last two games of the Orioles series. For a player to be a superstar, he needs to play. Judge misses a ton of time…and the reasons why are always mysterious. “Judge out again…” “Questions Abound.”
Simple question, if you owned the Yankees, would you extend Aaron Judge’s contract?
Aaron Judge is the face of the Yankees. He is the Yankees’ biggest star. He’s also, in a way, a representation of the concern with this team. I sense that when it is all said and done, Aaron Judge will not be remembered as a great player, he’ll more be remembered as a “He Could Have Been Great” player.
How many times has Aaron Judge played in 115 games in a season since his rookie year? (Never)
How many times has Aaron Judge batted .280 in a season since his rookie year? (Never)
What percentage of games has Aaron Judge missed since the start of the 2018 season? (35.6%)
How many times has Aaron Judge hit 30 or more homers in a season since his rookie year? (Never)
How many times has Aron Judge driven in 70 or more runs in a season since his rookie year? (Never)
I hate sharing all of those stats, but they’re real and they tell a real story. It’s one that isn’t a happy story and I’m afraid that the story won’t get any better. (I hope I am very wrong.)
I know I’m one of the very few saying this, but everybody loves Exit Velocity. The Yankees love showing how hard their players hit the ball. “Man did he crush that.” The Yankees batters who typically have the highest Exit Velo are Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez. Care to guess their combined batting average in 2021? It’s .237. I submit that there is a lot more to hitting than exit velocity and that the Yankees focus on this is hurting them, rather than making them better.
How about they just hit the ball?
The Yankees have not played any team with a .500 record in 2021. Yet, the Yankees are 11-14.
The Yankees are on pace to win 71 games in 2021.
Since August 1, 2020, the Yankees are 39-40.
At what point do the Yankees admit that this has become a real problem?
I hate the extra inning rule, with a passion. It’s not real baseball. It’s a gimmick, a bad gimmick. It makes a mockery of the game.
The Yankees must take two of three, at least, from the lowly Tigers. They have to.
Let’s Go Yankees!