Yankees are getting great results from veteran catcher at the plate

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Trevino is known for being an excellent defender, and the New York Yankees knew that by retaining him on their roster heading into 2024, they would get a steady presence behind the plate. Early on there were a lot of struggles offensively, as Trevino had hit into plenty of double plays and wasn’t doing much of anything, but right now we’re seeing the All-Star version of him. He’s already matched his 2023 home run total (4) in half the games, and his resurgence offensively has been a pleasant surprise for the lineup.

With an improved approach at the plate, Jose Trevino is hitting his stride at the plate, and the Yankees are hoping they can have one of the best catching tandems in baseball again.

Jose Trevino is Having a Surprising Year At the Plate For the Yankees

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees
Mar 10, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Jose Trevino (39) is congratulated in the dugout after he scored a run during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

When you think of defense-first players, Jose Trevino is likely the first player that comes to mind given how excellent he is behind the plate and how easily overwhelmed he can be when swinging the bat. Last season was a disaster for the Yankees, finishing 82-80, and for Jose Trevino, it saw him put up his lowest wRC+ in a season since 2018 where he played just three games.

Following an All-Star campaign in 2022 where Trevino put up a 3.9 fWAR and looked like one of the 10 best catchers in baseball, his playing time was called into question heading into this season. Silencing the doubts swiftly, Trevino has a 129 wRC+ with a .293/.341/.453 slash line through his first 26 games, and the Yankees are taking advantage of the platoon they have with the left-handed hitting Wells and the right-handed hitting Trevino.

Jose Trevino has greatly improved his approach, not only hitting the ball harder than he ever has before in terms of average exit velocity, but we’re also seeing a shift towards pulling the ball in the air.

A spike in pulled flyball rate has come with more game power, as Trevino is on-pace to hit 17 home runs if he were to get as many trips to the plate as he did in 2022. While I think he’ll slow down offensively, this style of hitting can result in a player overperforming their batted ball data, and for hitters with below-average raw power, pulling the ball in the air is the most consistent way to generate power at the plate.

We’re not seeing a dramatic increase in whiffs or chases, either as we’ve seen a dramatic decrease to both numbers early on.

He’s much more disciplined at the plate while making more contact as well, and when you combine that with the previously mentioned spike in pulled contact, you have a hitter that can actually produce at the plate. It’s far too early into the season to conclude that these changes are bound to stick, but if they do we could see Jose Trevino finish the season as an above-average hitter.

With how well Austin Wells can handle right-handed pitching, the Yankees have a platoon of hitters who dominate in their primary matchups, and that deepens a lineup with two superstars hitting second and third. Very quietly, that catching duo of Wells and Trevino have been the eighth-most productive tandem in baseball, and that’s with the rotten luck they’ve seen Austin Wells go through in the first few weeks of the season.

It may not seem luck much, but getting these two to hit the way they have lately has made this lineup that much scarier, and if the Yankees can continue to see Jose Trevino maintain his improvements under the hood, he might be able to consistently provide a punch against left-handed pitching.

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