Yankees’ Hal Steinbrenner hints at big off-season changes

MLB: New York Yankees-Aaron Judge press conference
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are wading through a disheartening 2023 season fraught with analytical missteps and ill-advised judgments. We could dwell on general manager Brian Cashman’s string of regrettable trades in recent years, but steering our focus toward the future seems more constructive.

This season, the Yankees’ offense is mired in a slump, with a batting average ranked 29th in the league at .228 and an on-base percentage standing at 26th with a meager .303. Despite boasting the fifth-highest home run tally at 190, these stats haven’t translated into wins. The takeaway is glaringly simple: solo homers offer scant value if you’re not getting players on base or driving them in.

Problematic Performance with Runners in Scoring Position

Furthering the offensive concerns, the team’s performance with runners in scoring position is notably underwhelming. The Yankees have recorded the fewest number of at-bats, hits, and the second-fewest RBIs in this crucial situation. With a batting average of .233 and an on-base percentage of .314 in these scenarios, the Yankees find themselves ranked second to last and third to last, respectively.

The Analytics Conundrum

Amid these setbacks, it’s evident that the Yankees aren’t capitalizing on analytics in the way that successful franchises like the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays are. The methodology for evaluating statistics and devising actionable strategies is fundamentally flawed, prompting owner Hal Steinbrenner to consider revamping the approach this off-season.

According to the Associated Press, Steinbrenner is contemplating hiring an external agency to scrutinize how the Yankees are handling data analytics and decision-making.

“We’re going to take a very deep dive into everything we’re doing,” Steinbrenner said. “We’re looking to bring in possibly an outside company to really take a look at the analytics side of what we do. Baseball operations in general. We’re going to have some very frank conversions with each other. This year was obviously unacceptable.”

The Yankees’ Future Outlook and Potential Changes

In a recent press meeting, Cashman indicated that all elements within the organization, including his own role, would be under review. An unbiased third-party evaluator could offer valuable insights without any organizational allegiance. While most anticipate that both Cashman and manager Aaron Boone will retain their positions, it’s worth noting that this has been one of the most lackluster seasons the Yankees have faced in over a decade.

As we look forward to 2024, significant changes are expected. These revisions will hopefully recalibrate the team, making them contenders for a playoff spot once again.

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