New York Yankee Profiles: Marcus Thames, is he the man for the job?

Marcus Thames is the 44-year-old New York Yankee’s hitting coach. He is a former left fielder and DH for the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thames is much in the conversation lately due to the Yankees’ lack of hitting this season. Some are calling for his removal as he doesn’t seem to be able to solve the problem.

At the beginning of the season, it appeared that the Yankees had one of the best and most powerful lineups in baseball. This is an era of launch angles and the home run. And the Yankee lineup was loaded with home run hitters. Giancarlo Stanton has hit as many as 59, Aaron Judge 52, Gleyber Torres 38, Gary Sanchez 34, DJ LeMahieu 26, and Brett Gardner 28 in a given season. This year the Yankees have hit just 65 home runs across the Yankees 17 hitters. That is on track to hit about 60 home runs fewer than the 2019 season.

So far the New York Yankees rank fourth-worst in the majors in runs scored per game, 15th in home runs, and 24th in slugging percentage. The Yankees across the board are not hitting except for Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees are 4.5 games behind the East-leading Tampa Bay Rays, and 2.5 games behind the second-place Boston Red Sox. The only reason they are not at the bottom of the division is stellar pitching. But it’s the lack of hitting that is holding them back from advancing in the standings.

Thames has been the Yankee’s hitting coach since the beginning of the 2018 season, previous to that he was the assistant hitting coach.  He pretty much breezed through his first three years when the New York Yankees won 100 games in 2019 103 games. But the Yankees began to show hitting inconsistencies in 2020. But in 2021 it seems like that powerful lineup that was supposed to propel the Yankees to the World Series lacks hitting so badly that they are scoring just 3.74 runs a game compared to 5.25 over the previous three years. In most games the score 3 or fewer runs per game.

From the beginning of the season Thames has had his hands full trying to get the team right. So far he has failed to right the ship. It’s not from lack of work, he spends every day and night trying to improve his team’s hitting.

“Look at my eyes, I’ve got bags under them,” Thames said Tuesday before the Yankees-Rays’ game at Yankee Stadium. “I don’t sleep. I tell the guys all the time, ‘I’m in every single pitch (with you) from pitch number one to the last pitch of the game.’ You feel it because you know how hard they’re working and how much preparation they’re doing.”

“Of course, it wears on you a little bit. But that’s what we signed up for. When you sign up to be the hitting coach here in New York, it comes with the territory when guys are struggling. You hear a lot of heat.”

“I know that what this team is capable of and it’s just hard to put a finger on certain things,” Thames said. “We’ll be close (to breaking out) and then we’ll take a step back. We just have to be consistent. I just feel like we can’t put pressure on ourselves. Just go out and play. I told the guys the other day, some days it looks like they’re not having fun. They’ve got to go have fun and let the game slow down a little bit, and then we can get back to where we need to be.”

Manager Aaron Boone and praised Thames for the work he is doing and believes it will turn around. But so far that is not case, they may have to take a different approach or even find a new hitting coach to shake up the team. Thames claims it has nothing to do with analytics saying it’s on him and the hitters.

Nineteen years ago Macus Thames (pronounced Tims) made his major league debut. He has a lifetime batting average of .246 with 115 home runs and 301 runs batted in. His claim to fame is that while with the Detroit Tigers he hit eight home runs in a seven-game stretch from June 11 to 17, 2008, becoming the first Tiger in team history to achieve that feat. During that streak, eight consecutive hits were home runs.

Thames coaching career began in 2013 when he was named hitting coach of the New York Yankees advanced A Tampa Tarpons. In 2014 he was promoted to hitting coach of the double A Trenton Thunder. Before the 2015 season he was considered for the job of assistant hitting coach for the Yankees but he ultimately was named hitting coach for the Yankees triple A Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders. In 2016 he he was named the Yankees assistant hitting coach and became the hitting coach in 2018. More recently he was interviewed for the job of Manager of his old team, the Detroit Tigers. That job ultimately went to Tony La Russa.

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Tonight’s game and all the Yankees news in one place

New York Yankees, Domingo German

When the New York Yankees should be winning games and continuing their torrid pace to get to the top of the AL East, they are now doing the opposite, siding further back in the standings losing six of their last seven games.

The Rays have the Yankees’ number

Yesterday in the Bronx, the Tampa Bay Rays showed that they are the better team thus far in the season. The Rays beat the Yankees yet again 3-1. The Yankees are now 3-7 against the Rays this season, and they have to face them 3 more times this week. It always hasn’t been this way. In the 2000s, the Yankees were 114-64; in the 2010s, the Yankees only bested by Rays by 7 games. Now in the 2020s, the Rays have won  18 of 25 games against the New York Yankees.

The simple answer to all of this is that the Rays ARE the better team. They are better organized, better managed, and as a team, more cohesive, and they do it on an $82 million payroll compared to the Yankees’ $210 million. They know the Yankees’ soft spots, and they exploit them, something the Yankees have not been able to take advantage of. The Yankees must find a way to beat the Rays if they don’t want to lose the East to them again this season.

Baseball celebrates Lou Gehrig

Tomorrow June 2nd, all baseball, including the New York Yankees, will celebrate Lou Gehrig Day. The Yankees will do it at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx; they will celebrate his life and his baseball career, one of the best in baseball history.

Wednesday will be Lou Gehrig Day at New York Yankee Stadium, celebrating the great Yankee’s first baseman that died from ALS. The inaugural “Lou Gehrig Day” will be celebrated league-wide this June 2nd. June 2, 1925, began his record-breaking consecutive games streak — 2,130 in total over 14 years — and later, the day the “Iron Horse” died in 1941 at age 37 from “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” The day celebrates his life and baseball career but is also to bring attention to the debilitating disease.

Should Giancarlo Stanton be booed?

New York Yankees fans sometimes have long memories, yet at other times very short memories. Getting off to a somewhat slow start to the season, Giancarlo Stanton showed signs of his 2017 season when he was the NL  MVP. Before going on the IL, he had become the team’s best player carrying the team on his back with the most home runs and most RBI’s.

Fast-forwarding to his return to the team after his stint on the IL, he has been stone cold. He has no hits in 12 plate appearances. Yesterday, after his last at-bat, a strikeout, he was loudly booed at the Stadium. Was it warranted, no it wasn’t?  Stanton’s only problem since he has been with the Yankees is all the injuries. When he is healthy, he performs and will again. Save the boos for those that deserve it.

Boone’s “everything will be fine” shows his complacency

Manager Aaron Boone needs to lead the team with a fervor that leads to winning. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do that. He keeps saying that we have a great team and everything will be fine. What he says behind closed clubhouse doors, I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s not working. It’s time for some urgency; it’s time to shake up the team and turn things around. The team will only respond as its manager does.

Time to move on from Marcus Thames?

There are calls from fans to remove manager Aaron Boone and hitting coach Marcus Thames. Boone’s contract isn’t up until the end of the year, and he won’t be going anyplace before that. Marcus Thames is another subject; the team, on the whole, is not hitting and causing them to lose game after game. I can’t tell you what Marcus Thames is doing about it, but whatever it is, it’s surely not working. I am usually not in favor of dumping coaches, but this lack of hitting has become a serious situation that doesn’t seem to change.

The good news about Luis Severino

Previous New York Yankees co-ace Luis Severino was 33-14 between 2017 and 2018. Then in 2019, he required Tommy John surgery. Since then, he has been working back to form. There is good news to report; he is close to a return to bolster the starting lineup. He has pitched a three-inning simulated game and will have his first rehab game this coming weekend. It appears that after a few more, he will be ready to return, hopefully shortly before the All-Star break.

Will the Yankees be trading sooner or later?

There is a move the Yankees need to make and make right away. They repair a mistake they made at the beginning of the season, send Mike Ford down, and bring up Chris Gittens to replace him at first base. Gittens is the superior player and hits for power.

The Yankees can no longer go without production from first base, center field, and left field. Bringing up Gittens will solve one of those problems until Luke Voit can return to the team. Leftfield may improve by itself. Both Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar show promise and could improve in the short term.

The big problem now is that the Yankees have no permanent center fielder. Since the trade of Mike Tauchman, they are left with just Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade after it was announced that Aaron Hicks would miss the rest of the season. The answer is a trade, don’t look for a blockbuster type trade that will take them over the luxury tax threshold, but look for a trade to improve the team that may happen before the trade deadline.

Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers could be a good addition to the team. He is basically a right-fielder but has played adequately in center and is a left-handed bat badly needed in the Yankee lineup. This season he is hitting just .216 but with 9 homers and 25 RBI’s, which is better than anything the Yankees have right now and would be a ($6M) low-cost addition.

An even cheaper addition would be Delino DeShields Jr., who was hitting .383 in 12 games at Triple-A, with the Rangers. The Yankee might also want to look at Ketel Marte of the Arizona Diamondbacks for a friendly contract. Marte, the 27-year-old switch hitter, would be a great addition and would only charge $4.8 million toward the tax threshold. Marte has a better batting average (.328) than any Yankee player and is an experienced centerfielder. There are more options out there, including Bryan Reynolds of the Pirates, Starling Marte of the Marlins, or if they want to spend some money, Jackey Bradley Jr., that the Yankees are very familiar with.

Domingo German to face the Ray’s Tyler Glasnow

After losing the Memorial Day matinee to the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday, the New York Yankees will have an uphill battle tonight, winning a game against the Ray’s ace Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow this year has pitched to an ERA of 1.75 against the Yankees. Glasnow will face Domingo German. If German is on, he can be lights out. Even if German is best, he will need the Yankee lineup to support beating Glasnow, and the good hitting Rays will be a challenge.

Glasnow is 42, 2.57 ERA, 98 SO, German is 43, 3.06 ERA, 47 SO. The game will be at Yankee Stadium and broadcast on Bally Sun Sports and in the New York Area on the YES Network.

 

 

 

Yankees’ hitting coach Marcus Thames analyzes some of the team’ slow starters

At this point, much has been written about the New York Yankees’ offensive struggles to open the 2021 season. They have been well-below average in several departments, including runs scored, wRC+, and WAR. Several of the team’s top hitters have been in prolonged slumps, such as Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, and others.

In a conversation with ESPN’s Marly Rivera, Yankees’ hitting coach Marcus Thames offered a few thoughts about some of the club’s coldest stars.

LeMahieu, who won the batting title last year with a .364 average, hasn’t actually been bad if we judge him by the most basic stats. He is hitting .275/.359/.377 with a 114 wRC+, but that’s a far cry from the .364/.421/.590 and 176 wRC+ he slashed in 2020.

“He’s trying to do too much,” Thames said about DJ LeMahieu‘s struggles at the plate to start the season. Part of LeMahieu’s issues is that his infield fly ball percentage (15.4%) is the highest of his career, and his 38.9 hard-hit rate is the lowest of his career at least in the Statcast era (since 2015.)

The Yankees expect more from LeMahieu, Gleyber and Stanton

When asked about Gleyber Torres’ diminished power (he only has two extra-base hits, with no homers), Thames said, “when you are chasing power, you chase pitches.” This problem was evident in the Yankees’ shortstop first at-bat on Thursday against Aaron Civale, but fortunately, he hit three singles after that. For Gleyber, the dingers will come.

Regarding Giancarlo Stanton, ‘and the difference between how he performed last postseason and the start of this season, Thames said that it’s all about his pitch selection,’ according to Rivera.

Stanton has punished some balls here or there, but overall, is slashing a meager .158/.238/.333 while striking out a third of the time. He will need to stop chasing and start looking for his pitch, and only then, the Yankees will have their stellar designated hitter all the way back.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Yankees could lose big in the off-season too

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees lost big in the regular shortened coronavirus season. They lost up against the Tampa Bay Rays 2-8 during the season. They lost big when they couldn’t win the American League East to the Rays. The biggest loss was when they couldn’t capture a win in the ALCS and go on to a World Series appearance. This is the New York Yankees; if they don’t win a World Series in a season, they consider their season a failure.

The World Series is about to be over, and when it is, the Yankees could again lose very big. The New York Yankees have 17 free agents in just a few days. Some of the big names include DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, among a dozen others. Giancarlo Stanton, Zack Britton, and Brett Gardner have options that could affect their team’s return. Add to that the Yankees could lose their bench coach Carlos Mendoza and their hitting coach Marcus Thames. The weeks ahead will tell how this all pans out.

As far as the free agents are concerned, the Yankees will have to double or more DJ LeMahieu’s yearly salary to keep him around. He will probably also want a longer contract to provide him with future career security. This year of no income and increasing responsibilities upcoming, if LeMahieu is too demanding, it is not out of the question that they could let him walk.

Last offseason, the Yankees spent big and landed one of the best pitchers in baseball, Gerrit Cole; now, with all the pitchers reaching free agency, the Yankees may have to spend big again on someone like Trevor Bauer. The other option is to keep some of the free agents and depend on the up and coming prospects to anchor the rotation. The Yankee brass realizes they must do something, or they will find themselves falling short again. If they keep any of their free-agent pitchers, it will probably be the somewhat dependable Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka has not tipped his hat as to if he wants to return to the Yankees. In Tweets, he has said he liked pitching for the Yankees but has also hinted he may return to Japan to finish his career.

So far as the other free-agent pitchers. There is a possibility that the Yankees may make some type of offer to keep James Paxton on the payroll. The question in that deal would be how much of a discount he would sign for due to his reoccurring health issues. Another big loss to the Yankees could come if they don’t take back 2019, most winning pitcher Domingo German, who was suspended this season for domestic violence. General Operating Partner Hal Steinbrenner has openly stated that German would have to prove to him that he is a changed man. If history means anything, they will probably take back German, considering what they did with Aroldis Chapman, whose case was worse.

The bottom line is that with Luis Severino coming back midseason and keeping Tanaka and accepting the return of German, it may release the Yankees from spending big money for a premium pitcher. It would produce a lineup similar to this: Cole, Severino, German, and Tanaka, which would leave them with a bevy of Montgomery and prospects to fill the remaining slot in the rotation.

In recent areas of losses, the Yankees could endure because Marcus Thames, the present hitting coach, has been interviewed for the new Detroit Tiger’s manager’s position. According to reports, he is presently on the shortlist for the job. More recently, Yankee bench coach Carlos Mendoza, Boone’s right-hand man, is rumored about for managerial jobs for both the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers.

The Red Sox got rid of Alex Cora when he was implicated in the Houston Astros cheating scandal. They replace him with Ron Roenicke, the result was a season where the team was a mess and ended up having one of their worst years in two decades. They ended up last in the AL East, losing a third more games than they won. The Detroit Tiger’s vacancy resulted when Ron Gardenhire abruptly retired with a week left to the season. Both teams will need a strong leader to improve their teams.

The remaining free agents they might lose are in the minor league system. And would likely not have a serious impact on the team regardless of what they decide. The New York Yankees will surely not lose all of these positions, but some of them could produce a very different looking team for the 2021 season.

 

New York Yankees Weekend Roundup: All the Yankee news/rumors in one place

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

The New York Yankees are on the sidelines watching the World Series after an early exit from the postseason. The Tampa Bay Rays did a number on the Yankees this season. First, they became Yankee nemesis beating them eight out of ten meetings. Then they took the division from them by 7 games, and finally, beat them 3 games to 2 in the ALCS. The Rays then advanced and beat the Astros to go to the World Series. Since the Yankee exit, they have been busy looking at improving the team before the new season, creating lots of Yankee News and Rumors. Each segment is marked either fact or rumor.

Will the Yankees try to re-sign Didi Gregorius?

With the poor 2020 performance of Gleyber Torres, there is much talk about putting him back at second base, his natural position, and getting a new shortstop. Many say the Yankees should go after the high-priced Franciso Lindor, who would be a dramatic upgrade at shortstop and add a left-hand hitter to the right-hand heavy lineup. Lindor is a switch hitter.  The likelihood of that happening is remote with the Yankees being short on cash after a no fans in the stands season.

There is also talk in baseball circles that the Yankees could re-sign fan favorite Didi Gregorius. Gregorious was not offered a contract extension at the end of 2019. He signed a one-year contract with Joe Girardi’s Philadelphia Phillies, where he had a great comeback season. Didi is now a free agent again. With his excellent season hitting .284 with 10 homers, 40 RBIs, and posting a .827 OPS, he finds himself with several suitors.

The Phillies would like to re-sign him. The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels both have questions at short and are likely suitors. Although Gregorius thanked the Yankees for his time with the team, he did feel let down when they did not re-sign him.  Whether that will keep him from being a Yankees again is unknown. He recently said that he has faith in Torres and see him as the future Yankee shortstop.

Torres only hit .243 and has made 25 errors at short since Didi. Torres could still be a Yankee star as he hit 38 home runs in 2019. I could be that his lack of performance at short also affected his hitting. In the coming week, the Yankees will have a virtual meeting to decide what to do with catcher Gary Sanchez. You can bet that Torres will be on the agenda as well. Rumor.

The New York Yankees have Gold Glove finalist

The Rawlings Sporting Goods Company has released its 2020 Gold Glove finalist. Among them are the New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela who continued his excellent play for the Yankees this year. In somewhat of a surprise, they also gave the nod to right-fielder Clint Frazier for his dynamic play at right. It really shouldn’t be a surprise as Frazier is the most improved Yankee player.  Urshela has a shot at winning the award, but not so much for Frazier because Joey Gallo has a wide margin lead. Fact.

Jeter’s Marlins’ hire more Yankee coaches

Derek Jeter, after leaving baseball, said that he would like to own a baseball team. He made that a reality when he bought in on the Miami Marlins, where he is the chief operating officer. One of the first things he did was hire Jorge Posada as a consultant. Jeter has now hired Scranton’s Railriders pitching and hitting coach Tommy Phelps and Phil Plantier, who would have been the Triple-A team’s pitching coach. The Yankees now have more voids to fill. Fact.

Tanaka and Cole go on a double date but signals he may not return

Gerrit Cole and Masahiro have become quite friendly this season. Tanaka has been very active on social media of late especially thanking the Yankees and fans for his years with the Yankees. This would seem to indicate that he may not be returning. He has offered in the past that he might finish out his career back at his Japanese home. He was recently seen on social media at a Starbucks. Tanaka and his wife, Cole and his wife, had a double date to share sushi together. Fact/Rumor

Hal Steinbrenner tips his hat on if  Boone will be Yankee manager.

You can put this question to rest. General Operating Partner Hal Steinbrenner has made it clear in a recent interview that Aaron Boone will be his field manager in 2021. Fact.

Jasson Domingo avoiding all the noise

There is much hype about Yankees prospect Jasson Domingo as one of the best signings since Aaron Judge. Meanwhile, Domingo avoids the hype as he continues to work out and improve his game in the Dominican Republic. Dominguez, 17, is the team’s highest-rated prospect, according to Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Scouts have said that he ignores the hype, but he wants to be the best player in baseball. There is a possibility that Jasson could hit the minors this upcoming season. Fact.

Will Domingo German pitch for the New York Yankees in 2021?

Many Yankee fans wonder if the Yankees 2019 best performing pitcher Domingo German will return to the team next season after completing his suspension for domestic violence. This was recently put in question when Owner Hall Steinbrenner said he would have to show that he is a changed man, in order to return. German is adamant that he will be on the Yankee roster next year. Fact.

Surprise targets the Yankees may go after in Free Agency.

It’s obvious, that the New York Yankee would love to acquire ace pitcher Trevor Bauer, catcher J.T. Realmuto, and shortstop Francisco Lindor, but most likely the money they will require will prevent that.  Cashman and the Yankees may surprise many and instead, go after some not suspected targets.

The Yankees will concentrate most of their energy and money on improving their pitching. Here are a few that might surprise you as being targets. The Yankees may look to LHP Justin Wilson. He can pitch in the Big Apple after being with the Mets. He had a 2.54 ERA over 45 appearances and finishing nine games. Another possibility if they don’t resign Zack Britton is RHP Alex Colome has been Chicago’s closer since they acquired him in 2019, and he’s had a ton of success with 30 saves that year and 12 this season. He has a career 2.95 ERA.

The Yankees will also try to beef up the starting rotation; it will take a lot of money to bring Trevor Bauer to the Bronx; the Yankees may look to Taijuan Walker, who they looked at before the trade deadline. After posting a 1.37 ERA with the Jays in six starts and a 2.70 ERA total over 11 starts this season, the 28-year-old is someone the Yankees could certainly get back on their radar. Rumor.

Instead of the expensive J. T. Realmuto, the Yankees may go after C James McCann who is a solid two-way catcher that has good framing rates and a bat that is above-average. He slashed .289/.360/.536 with seven homers and 15 RBI in 31 games during the shortened 2020 season.

Yankees may look to replace hitting coach Marcus Thames

Many think that the Yankees pitches should be faulted for their demise in the season and postseason, and there is a good reason for that. But the powerful Yankees lineup also failed at times and for long stretches. Last offseason the Yankees replaced their pitching coach with Matt Blake. There are now rumors that they may be looking to replace Marcus Thames, who has been the Yankee hitting coach for the last four years.

General Manager Cashman has said he doesn’t anticipate any coaching changes this offseason. But his hand may be forced to replace Thames. It is widely reported that Thames is on the shortlist to be the new Detroit Tigers manager.  If that happens, Cash may promote P.J. Pilittere to the position, if not he will look outside the organization. Rumor.

 

 

 

 

Report: New York Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames to be considered for Tigers manager

Reports indicate that New York Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames will be considered for Detroit Tigers managerial vacancy. Ron Gardenhire was previously the manager of the Tigers, but abruptly retired on Saturday. He was expected to retire after the season, but didn’t feel well in terms of health, leading to him calling it quits early.

Thames played parts of 10 seasons in the MLB. He made his debut in 2002 with the Yankees, before playing the 2003 season for the Rangers. Thames spent six seasons with the Tigers beginning in 2004, then went back to the Yankees in 2010. 2011, his final season, was spent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He finished his career with a .246 average, 115 home runs, and a 1.9 career WAR.

Thames began his coaching career in 2013 with the Yankees as the hitting coach for high-A Tampa. He was promoted to the hitting coach of the AA affiliate Trenton Thunder in 2014, and moved to AAA Scranton in 2015.

In 2016, Thames was named the assistant hitting coach under manager Joe Girardi, and kept that role through 2017. Once Girardi was fired, Thames was named the head hitting coach under current manager Aaron Boone.

Thames has been credited with improving a lot of the Yankees current stars. Under Thames coaching, players like Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, Gio Urshela, Clint Frazier, and many others have been huge breakouts with the Yankees. Many of those guys had high potential, but Thames helped them maximize it.

If Thames were to go to Detroit, he would reunite with Austin Romine, the Yankees former backup catcher. Romine spent 2016-2019 as the backup, and bat .281 in 2019, leading to his departure to chase a starting catching job.

If the Yankees were to lose Thames, it would be a devastating loss to the coaching staff.

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez is struggling and here’s why

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The best catcher in Major League Baseball has only batted .108 in the month of July. New York Yankees gunslinger Gary Sanchez has gone 4-37 through the midway point of July. In Sanchez’s last 11 games he only has four hits (two being XBH) while fanning 17 times.

To give a perspective, last month at this time Sanchez had 12 hits and only fanned 11 times. Talks of a possible injury with his thumb have come up, but manager Aaron Boone and hitting coach Marcus Thames all agree that is not the issue.

New York Yankees: What did Aaron Boone have to say about his slump?

Manager Aaron Boone has said, “It’s a tough stretch for him. He is not putting pitches he should in play when he gets that one he can really pop. It’s more a foul ball or just he’s missing. And such is the ebb and flow of a season, but I don’t think it is thumb-related.”

Thames said, “He’s trying to do too much. He’s getting out of the strike zone and we’ve got to get him back in the strike zone, so he can go back to being himself.” Thames also added that he believes it is not a thumb injury due to when he succeeds at the plate. “He hasn’t said anything to me, but you can just see his exit velo of balls he does put in play, everything is still the same.” Thames said. When Sanchez was swinging it well in May and June, he batted over .320 each month with a combined 15 home runs.

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The Yankees have still done well even with Sanchez’s recent struggles. They are 60-33 and are in first place in the AL East. Being six games ahead of Tampa and ten games ahead of Boston, the Yankees are clear postseason contenders.

I don’t expect Sanchez to struggle long. He is one of the league’s premier players and will come back around eventually. A simple adjustment is needed. I believe Sanchez will break out of this soon and return to his All-Star type of play.

Getting to Know Your Yankee Hitting Coaches: Marcus Thames And P.J. Pilittere

Background:

Marcus Thames

Marcus Markley Thames (born March 6, 1977) is a former Major League outfielder and designated hitter; he played for the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers from 2002 through 2011. Thames was actually drafted by the Yankees in the 30th round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft. Thames made his New York Yankees debut in June 10th of 2002 hitting a 2-Run homer off of Hall of Famer and household name Randy Johnson.

For his career, Thames averaged a home run every 15.9 at-bats and holds the Detroit Tigers franchise record for average at-bats per home run, at a rate of 14.8 home runs per at bat.

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Thames has some coaching history within the New York Yankees organization. In 2013, Thames was named the hitting coach of the Class A-Advanced Tampa Yankees. In 2014 season Marcus Thames was then named the hitting coach for the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

In 2015 Marcus was a candidate for the hitting coach job as well as a new coaching staff position of assistant hitting coach.  Ultimately Thames was named hitting coach for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders the Yankees Triple-A team. Following the 2015 season and the prompted departure in the one game Wild Card against the Houston Astros, the Yankees dismissed former hitting coach Jeff Pentland. Pentland’s assistant hitting coach Alan Cockrell was given the job, and Thames was called upon to be his assistant for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

In 2018 under new Manager Aaron Boone Marcus was asked to stay aboard with the team and promoted to head hitting coach and his assist hitting coach was also named.

P.J. Pilittere

Peter John Pilittere (born November 23, 1981) is a former Minor League Catcher and First Baseman.  Pilittere played college baseball at California State University, Fullerton and was a member of their 2004 College World Series championship team.

He too was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 13th round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft. Pilittere played in the Yankees’ organization until 2011. After his playing days were over he transitioned into becoming a coach for numerous teams in the Yankees minor leagues system. Ultimately coming aboard  Aaron Boone’s coaching staff and working with Marcus Thames as assistant Hitting Coach. 

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Hitting Coaches? What Do They Do ?

According to the MLB.com Glossary the definition of what the hitting coaches are:
Hitting coaches instruct players on matters related to hitting, such as batting mechanics, plate discipline and preparation. Hitting coaches in today’s game leverage video footage to prepare hitters for opposing pitchers and to help identify flaws or bad habits in hitters’ at-the-plate approach. Every Major League club has a hitting coach, and some also employ an assistant hitting coach.

What to Expect ?

Both Thames and Pilittere will have a fun lineup to work with as it’s full of big power. These guys will be called upon to help keep players out of prolonged slumps and to help the young players mature into successful hitters at the plate.

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It will be expected that this lineup will produce a lot of runs and hit a lot of home runs as well. Thames and Pilittere will be expected to help that process stay as consistent as possible all season long.