Yankees have boiling problem at shortstop and catcher

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees

After six games, the New York Yankees currently host a 3–3 overall record, dropping the second game of a three-game series to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

With ace Gerrit Cole getting the start, the expectation was he would turn things around after a tough first outing against the Red Sox on opening day. However, Cole gave up two home runs to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., giving up three runs total over 5.2 innings. Cole indicated that Vlad was simply playing on another level, tipping his hat to one of the better performances he’s seen in the batter’s box.

Nonetheless, the Yankees got next to no production from the back-end of their lineup, with the bottom two players finishing 0-for-7.

Despite executing a big trade with the Minnesota Twins to acquire Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson, the Yankees may be concerned about the return early on in the year. Acquiring Donaldson‘s two years and $50 million remaining on his contract isn’t exactly ideal, but Cashman‘s main focus was landing Kiner-Falefa to provide a stop-gap solution at shortstop.

In the process, Cashman committed to Kyle Higashioka as the team’s primary catcher, sending Gary Sanchez to Minnesota. So far this year, Sanchez hosts a .222 average with one HR, which was coincidentally a grand slam. He also broke up a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

The Yankees have problems boiling at SS and catcher:

Isiah Kiner-Falefa:

Despite such a small sample size, the Yankees haven’t gotten any production out of Kiner-Falefa offensively, and he’s had his fair share of troubles fielding on defense as well. Over 18 plate appearances, IKF hosts a .059 average, collecting just one hit. He’s struck out four times and walked once.

Last year, IKF recorded a .271 average with eight homers and 53 RBIs, indicating that his numbers will increase with more time under his belt. New players donning the pinstripes usually need a few weeks to find their rhythm, especially in a hostile Yankee stadium. Management isn’t concerned about IKF just yet, but his poor start to the season has put the Yankees in a disadvantageous spot.

Kyle Higashioka:

After hitting .423 in spring training with seven homers and 11 RBIs, Kyle Higashioka has only managed one hit over 18 at-bats to start the 2022 season. With a .056 average, Higashioka‘s efficiency has been abysmal, hurting the Bombers’ batting order. The Yankees have been relying heavily on the top of the order to get things done since the back-end has been nonexistent.

Defensively, Higashioka currently hosts a .981 fielding percentage with one error over 47 innings of action. He’s given up two stolen bases, which doesn’t present enough of a sample size to be concerning.

Considering Sanchez has had a decent start to the season with Minnesota, the Yankees might be a bit concerned about the immediate return from the trade.

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