Yankees: $69 million worth of players who need to step up after the All-Star break

yankees, dj lemahieu
Jul 17, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) runs out an RBI single against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Yankees aim to reshape their season, an upward surge in individual player performances in the season’s second half will be crucial.

A Fresh Approach to Offense

In response to their early-season struggles, the Yankees have replaced hitting coach Dillon Lawson with Sean Casey. The team hopes this coaching reshuffle will infuse their offensive strategies with new life. Increased urgency and dedication to refining their processes could significantly impact the team’s overall production. However, with the All-Star break wrapping up this Friday, there’s still an extensive amount of work to do before facing the Colorado Rockies.

The Yankees are investing $69 million into three crucial players who need to uplift their game and maintain their health for the rest of the season.

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Three Essential Players for Yankees’ Revival

1. DJ LeMahieu

Topping the list is DJ LeMahieu, a versatile 34-year-old earning $15 million this season. LeMahieu’s performance has been subpar so far, with a batting average of .220, a .285 OBP, a .357 slugging percentage, and 78 wRC+. He has 7 home runs and 27 RBIs to his name, with a 23.3% strikeout rate and a 7.9% walk rate.

His struggles at the plate, which are a sharp contrast to last season’s performance, are glaring. Coach Casey’s guidance could be the exact spark LeMahieu needs to revive his form. Barring any lingering issues from his toe injury, there seems no tangible explanation for his steep performance decline. The Yankees need the LeMahieu of old to regain their spot in the AL East standings.

2. Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton has shown glimpses of improvement as the All-Star break approached, posting a .222 batting average, a .344 OBP, and a .481 slugging percentage at the beginning of July. This included two home runs, four RBIs, and five walks across 27 at-bats.

While these numbers still fall short of his career average, they signal a positive shift. Nevertheless, a player of Stanton’s caliber should not be delivering a .203 batting average, a .276 OBP, and 90 wRC+. If Casey can help restore his confidence and strategic batting approach, we may witness a resurgence in his performance. With strong slugging metrics like a 51.4% hard-hit rate, 15% barrel rate, and a 93.4 average exit velocity, Stanton’s main challenge remains his plate discipline.

3. Carlos Rodon

The final player in the spotlight is Carlos Rodon, whose debut performance for the Yankees against the Cubs was impressive. However, the Yankees need Rodon, their $22 million per year starting pitcher, to consistently deliver.

Having posted a 2.88 ERA across a career-best 178 innings last season, including 12 strikeouts per nine, Rodon is among the top pitchers in baseball. The Yankees need him to continue proving his worth, especially as they aim to secure a playoff spot.

Currently, the Yankees are missing from the Wild Card slots. This lackluster performance in the first half warranted a significant coaching change. With refreshed strategies and renewed player performance, the team has its sights set on turning their season around.