The New York Yankees and General Manager Brian Cashman have long been searching for a left-field solution. They recently procured Greg Allen from the Boston Red Sox, adding an agile outfielder with remarkable base path speed to their roster. However, due to his performance history at the MLB level, he isn’t viewed as a viable starting option.
Presently, the Yankees’ principal options are Allen, Jake Bauers, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Oswaldo Cabrera. Among these, Kiner-Falefa has recently been the standout, showcasing a remarkable performance in Wednesday’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
In four at-bats, Kiner-Falefa hammered a home run and a triple, accruing two RBIs. His batting average has risen to .211 for the season with a .268 OBP. While these figures are below average, his consistent upward trajectory is boosting his offensive output.
Having hit three home runs in May, all within his last six games, it appears that the Yankees have made a slight adjustment to his approach, possibly increasing his launch angle. In his last four games started, Kiner-Falefa has logged four RBIs, three home runs, and five hits.
Relying on the utility player for consistent performance may be a challenge, but there’s no doubt he offers defensive value and exhibits streaks of offensive productivity.
The Yankees must capitalize on current form:
The optimal strategy for the Yankees is to rely on the in-form player in left field, given the position’s talent deficit. Cashman may look to secure a bona fide starter at this year’s deadline, but there are still several weeks to determine which teams will bow out of playoff contention and start selling to acquire prospects.
The issue is that the Yankees are losing faith in Cabrera’s offensive capabilities, suggesting he may need more time at the Triple-A level to refine his offensive game.
Currently, the 24-year-old is batting .204 with a .258 OBP, hitting three home runs and 15 RBIs over 43 games. His wRC+ of 55 indicates he’s performing 45% worse than the average MLB player, and these numbers are in continual decline. The super-utility man is batting .211 with a .292 OBP in May, still significantly below average.
Regrettably, his impatience at the plate hampers his ability to reach base, as indicated by his 6.4% walk rate.
Cashman may consider using either Oswald Peraza or Gleyber Torres to fill the left field spot. However, bolstering starting pitching support seems like the most probable move at this year’s trade deadline.