It’s been a jaw-dropping year for the New York Yankees, with performance metrics that starkly contrast their historical prowess. Traditionally armed with a powerhouse offense and backed by a lavish payroll, the Yankees’ investments this year have conspicuously underperformed.
The strategic acquisition of older veterans and players with inconsistent health records hasn’t paid dividends. A striking testament to this is the Yankees’ dismal performance concerning runners in scoring position (RISP).
The Yankees’ Troubling RISP Stats
To illustrate, the Yankees recorded the fewest at-bats with RISP this season, standing at 1,094. Their numbers also reveal the second-lowest runs, the fewest hits, a 25th-place rank in home runs, the second-lowest RBIs, and the second-worst position in batting average. With an on-base percentage of just .313 with runners onboard, the team’s resilience seems to have waned considerably.
The forthcoming off-season promises to be a crucial juncture for the Yankees’ front office, as they need to recalibrate their strategy. Pursuing players like Josh Donaldson isn’t fitting their new narrative, as the emphasis needs to shift towards agility and youthfulness. Their base-running woes have upended many games, and the heavy reliance on players with colossal contracts has started to backfire.
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Giancarlo Stanton’s Slump
Highlighting individual performances, Giancarlo Stanton stands out, albeit for the wrong reasons. At 33, he’s been candid about his underwhelming season, with a batting average of .189, an OBP of .273, 24 home runs, 58 RBIs, and an 88 wRC+. With these figures, Stanton lags by 12% compared to the average offensive player in terms of wRC+. More alarmingly, his RISP stats rank amongst the lowest within the squad.
Stanton’s hefty $22 million price tag against the luxury tax this season, and for the upcoming ones, only amplifies the concerns. His track record this year reveals a batting average of .191 and an OBP of .277 with RISP. A mere five out of his 24 home runs have come with runners on base, hinting at a collective team failing.
Once a beacon of patience and a formidable presence in the batting order, Stanton has managed only 11 walks in this category, with a slugging rate of .404 and an OPS of .681 across 89 at-bats. Given this trajectory, it’s arguably Stanton’s worst RISP season, intensifying the urgency for a turnaround. The Yankees, otherwise, may be forced to take measures that could undermine General Manager Brian Cashman’s credibility.
Physical strains are evident in Stanton’s gameplay, highlighted by his defensive lapses and lackadaisical runs to the first base. It’s becoming increasingly evident that his prime days are in the rearview. For redemption, he needs to elevate his on-base percentage, primarily through walks, while curtailing strikeouts.
A Broader Team Concern
While Stanton’s struggles are evident, the Yankees’ woes aren’t solely attributed to him. The team’s predicament stems from heavy investments in players once deemed top-tier hitters. The lower order’s contribution this season has been particularly underwhelming, with the Yankees leaning on backup players and journeymen to plug glaring gaps in the outfield.
As the off-season beckons, there’s a clear mandate for the Yankees: rejuvenate the offense and scout players adept at RISP. Recycling this year’s metrics in 2024 is not an option unless the front office is prepared for a thorough overhaul.