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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Perspectives: Concerns

by Paul Semendinger

June 21, 2024

***

As we look around baseball, we see the following:


  • The Yankees have 51 wins. No other team has even 50

  • The Yankees have a .662 winning percentage. No other team is better (although the Orioles and Phillies are tied)

  • The Yankees are in first place


All of that is good news.


But, as we look at the Yankees, there is a lot to be concerned about.


The following is a list of the concerns I have regarding this team:


  • First Base - There are three questions here. First, is Ben Rice a Major League caliber hitter? Second, will the Yankees allow Rice to play every day or will he be platooned with DJ LeMahieu? Third, if he does recover from his broken arm, will the Yankees go back to the "default setting" and put Anthony Rizzo in the lineup even if Ben Rice is doing well?


  • Second Base - Gleyber Torres is having an awful season. His defense is not good. His hitting took a million steps backwards. His OPS+ of 82 shows that he is a well-below average MLB hitter. Because there are so many other holes in the lineup, Torres hits higher up than a batter with an 82 OPS+ should.


  • Third Base - DJ LeMahieu looks like he is done. Completely. His OPS+ is 43. That is, simply, terrible. The Yankees' only other option at third, Oswaldo Cabrera, has an OPS+ of 75.


  • The "Bases" Combined - When the Yankees play LeMahieu at first base, Torres at second base, and Cabrera at third base, they are playing an infield with three below average MLB hitters. These aren't three hitters who are slightly below average, they are way way way way below average. A team cannot win over a long season using that approach.


  • Shortstop - Anthony Volpe has been terrific. Yet, while it seems like he's hitting a ton, his OPS+ is only 108. He's slightly above average. He's also the Yankees only real speed threat - and the Yankees rarely run him.


  • Left Field - Alex Verdugo has been a fun player. His defense has been amazing. He has had some big hits. BUT, his OPS+ is only 103 making him an only slightly above average MLB hitter. Here's the problem... Verdugo is the team's clean-up hitter. He also is hitting only .211 agaisnt left handed pitchers.


  • Judge and Soto - Aaron Judge and Juan Soto have been other wordly. There is nothing negative to say here. At all. Judge's OPS+ is 213. Soto's is 183. They have carried the Yankees to a large degree. That approach is, most likely, and most logically, not sustainable. For comparison, Mickey Mantle, across his entire career, had an OPS+ over 180 only six times. Joe DiMaggio only twice. I give those comparisons not to say that Judge and Soto can't do it, but to illustrate how rare it is for a player to be doing this well. For the Yankees to win,they need two players to be performing that well because the rest of the lineup, in a large degree, is that weak.


  • Giancarlo Stanton - Thus far, Stanton has been a complete surprise. He is performing better than anyone could have hoped or imagined. I think some of this is smoke and mirrors. Yes, he has had some big hits, a whole bunch, in fact, but he strikes out 35% of his at bats and that, again, isn't sustainable. With a 119 OPS+, he ranks third on the team.


  • The Catchers - Austin Wells isn't hitting (75 OPS+). Jose Trevino cannot throw out base runners. Both of these are huge issues. If the rest of the Yankees' offense was producing, they could carry a weak hitting catcher (Wells), but note above, the rest of the lineup isn't producing well enough to allow for that.


  • The Starting Rotation - There was a period where the starters were all pitching lights out. No longer. While they were, at one point, pitching like the greatest rotation ever, that hasn't been the case for a while. Gerrit Cole is back, but he seems to be on a very strick pitch count. Luis Gil has already exceeded (by a lot) his combined innings from 2022 and 2023. Clarke Schmidt is injured. Where this was, for a good month, a strength, it is not right now. There are a lot of questions here.


  • Bullpen - A disaster. Period.


  • Aaron Boone - Boone has proven that he can win lot of games during the regular season. But, he has never proven that he can win big games against great opponents. The Yankees have lost most of their games against the best teams this year. That's just a fact. This continues something that has been true throughout the entire Boone era. There is a very real concern, based not on emotion, but a long track record, that Aaron Boone is not a big game or big series manager.


  • Brian Cashman - Read the above. This is the team he created. They're winning right now, but one has to wonder how when they see all of these concerns. Thus far in 2024, it is working, but this does not seem sustainable. Cashman hasn't built a championship winning team in a long time. He builds very good teams. Absolutely. One has to wonder, though, if he can build a champion in today's game.


  • Hal Steinbrenner - His last comments were basically that he spends too much money and that it isn't sustainable. Maybe that was posturing. Maybe. But those words don't fill me with hope that he'll spend more to address the many weaknesses this team has.


  • The Medical Staff - Anthony Rizzo missed a ton of time in 2023. Jose Trevino too. And DJ LeMahieu. None of them has performed at the levels they need to in 2024. Did they get old? Or, maybe their injuries from last year are still impacting this year. In addition,on the farm, Jasson Dominguez is now out for "eight weeks." It's an oblique thing. Yes, players get hurt all the time, but, remember, he said his arm hurt last year but they played him anyway. Then he had Tommy John surgery. Now, as he's coming back from that, he suffers a different injury. Was this because he was ramping up too quickly? I don't know, but one has to wonder if that plays a role. What can't be denied is the overall record in this department is not very stellar. If nothing else, it's a concern.


  • 2022 - It wasn't long ago that with the same organizational structure, we saw the Yankees play amazingly well to begin a season and then fall apart...


In short, that list above, shows a ton for Yankees fans to be concerned about.

***

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28 Komentar


zx11c3macky
zx11c3macky
21 Jun
Suka
fantasyfb3313
21 Jun
Membalas kepada

that always seemed like a bad trade. now it seems that player performance is proving it was a bad trade

Suka

zx11c3macky
zx11c3macky
21 Jun

At least the Braves aren't know as base stealers.

Suka
jeff
21 Jun
Membalas kepada

True, That's the best way. Otherwise, look out. The other day, on an errant pickoff attempt when he tried to steal 2B, he came all the way home on the pickoff attempt.

Suka

fuster
21 Jun

Aaron Judge and Juan Soto have been other wordly. There is nothing negative to say here.


actually, you are wrong. there are negative things about non-hitting parts of Soto's game

his fielding is, simply, not good

I've been pleased to note that it appears that he's been making some effort to improve

but much remains to be done before it is truthful to claim that there is nothing negative to say.


I hope that he stays and the improvements are made

and that, in the near future, your claim

gets validated

Suka
Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
22 Jun
Membalas kepada

Fuster,

I think good honest debate/discussion is good.

Prof. Robert and I agree on a lot and disagree on other things. The purpose should be to have legitimate honest debate not to purposely take contraian views just to be a curmudgeon.

Seems strange to criticize a person for agreeing with a writer and giving an honest opinion, no?

Should we not take your comments seriously?

Are you writing what you honestly believe or writing just to be contrary?


Suka

Alan B.
Alan B.
21 Jun

Just saw the lineup. Who came up with this lineup? This is as respectful I get without getting the boot.

Suka
fantasyfb3313
21 Jun
Membalas kepada

honestly Alan, I am not sure what is causing you to have a BIG problem with this lineup? the problem is that we do not carry one player on our bench who is even an average hitter. so when we sit Verdugo against one of the best lefties, as we should, all we can do is hope and pray that Jones does NOT hit like... um... Jones


and that is the same for Grisham. Cabrera is better than either Jones or Grisham, but his hitting is moving in the wrong direction and his main value to the team is being a solid to good defender at a handful of positions


Gleyber is a right handed hitter, so i guess maybe…


Suka

Alan B.
Alan B.
21 Jun

WOW! WE agree on so much. Just slightly different takes on others, like I'm not going to touch on Boone at all. I believe that whether the manager is Boone, Ausmus, you, or me, the moves would basically be identical.


Volpe. I like using my KBA stat to measure strikeouts than K rate. Volpe's KBA last year was roughly .309, this year, it's down to .233. But his BBBA last year was about .097, this year it's down to about .075. Last year his spread from BA to OBP was 74 points, this year only a 47 point spread. Despite his 62 point jump in his BA this year, his SLG% isn't up even 30 points. But, his arm, IMO,…


Suka
jeff
21 Jun
Membalas kepada

The interesting thing will be, how will JT Brubaker do as a reliever. Looking at his stats, it seems he has been primarily a starter for most of his big league appearances.

Suka
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