New York Yankees Analysis: The Yankees have broken a record, and it’s not pretty

New York Yankees
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The New York Yankees have broken a 51-year record, they have a team batting average of .236, which is the lowest since the horrible Yankee team of 1969. There is no question that the Yankees pitching has not been great this year, but the hitting has been just plain terrible.  This may turn out to be a season the Yankees will want to quickly forget.

The New York Yankees have a glorious 118 years history. They have had some bad teams, but they are mostly known and hated for having several dynasty periods over the years, from “murder’s row” to the dynasty of the late ’90s and early 2000s. They have a record of 10399-7858, with 55 playoff appearances, 40 American League Championships, and 27 World Championships. Plain and simple, they are the winningest franchise in the entire sports world. They have a legacy of great players and managers. However, every season was not one to write home about.

Will this be one of those seasons?  Only time will tell, but if the Yankees keep hitting as they have recently, that reality is becoming more likely. From 1913 to 1917 the Yankees had some of its poorest hitting seasons. Probably it’s the worst streak of poor hitting, was when the CBS ownership let the team go to pot, from 1965 to 1970. In 1968 the team experienced its worst team batting average of just .214.

This season the New York Yankees won’t be that bad, but the .236 team batting average is concerning, as the team may miss the postseason, for the first time since 2016. The Yankees have only missed the postseason three times since 1994.

To be completely fair to the Yankees, the major cause of the low batting average is the number of injuries they have endured this year.  Being that this season is so short, caused by the coronavirus, the injuries have been more impactful on the team. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, who both got off to a fast start, showing great plate discipline and hitting home runs, their absence from the lineup has been devastating. During other periods DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres have been on the IL. Presently along with Stanton and Judge, the hot-hitting Gio Urshela has joined them on the injury list.

Last year, with an unprecedented number of players being injured (30) for 39 separate stints. The Yankees depended on the Scranton shuttle, bringing up players every time a player went on the IL, and those “next man up” players rose to the occasion and brought the Yankees to a 103 game winning season. It would be unrealistic to expect that same type of unprecedented performance this year, and that is exactly what has happened, except for a few standouts.  The Yankees presently have six players with a batting average south of .195.

Mike Ford, who was a stand out last year, is hitting only .141, Tyler Wade .158, and Brett Gardner who had a career year last year, is hitting only .180. But in the worst scenario, Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez is having his worst year ever, hitting just .130, which is the lowest batting average of any catcher in all of baseball. Not only has his hitting been bad, but he has left more Yankee runners on base than any other Yankee.  Standouts DJ LeMahieu, Clint Frazier, and Luke Voit must be mentioned as the Yankee hitters that have performed well.

Yankee Manager Aaron Boone seldom speaks badly of any Yankee player, usually making the situation rosier than it is.  But with the poor playing Yankees, even Boone is frustrated.  He has called out the poor play of Gary Sanchez and has even pulled him from the lineup.  Last night he called out Miguel Andujar for his horrible defense that led the Yankees to give up four runs.

It’s hard to say what has caused this tumultuous hitting slump. It could be because of the broken up spring training, it could be because there hasn’t been a minor league season.  The one thing we do know, is those missing key players have cost the Yankees in a short season.  Even more concerning is the fact that Judge and Stanton might not return during the regular season.  Should the Yankees get to the postseason, it’s hard to believe that they will be postseason-ready.

The New York Yankee slump can not be only attributed to poor hitting. The pitching rotation has had their problems as well. Out for the season was Luis Severino (Tommy John) and last year’s winningest pitcher Domingo German (suspension). Add to that second in the rotation James Paxton has gone on the IL with forearm soreness.  The remainder of the rotation has not pitched consistently, nor gone deep into games.

The best in baseball Yankee bullpen has disappointed this season. This is partly due to Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton going on the IL, wearing out the rest of the pen.  Closer Aroldis Chapman got the coronavirus and didn’t close his first game until August 17th. Chapman has failed as a closer, blowing two of his six opportunities, with an ERA of 7.20.

Before the Trade Deadline, the Yankees looked to improve their situation, zeroing on obtaining a front line starter and help in the bullpen, but came up empty with General Manager Brian Cashman refusing to give away the Yankee’s future for short term gain.  The needed trades were just too costly.

The Yankees have slipped to third place in the East, and are now in danger of missing the postseason altogether.  Manager Aaron Boone and coaches have to find a way to improve pitching and getting the Yankee hitters kick-started and hitting with a better team batting average. Hopefully, with the return of players, they can do that.