With an emphasis on defensive being established this offseason, the New York Yankees have improved their infield significantly, and there’s more work to be done.
With reports indicating that Manny Machado will join the esteemed franchise, the Yankees will add two Gold-Gloves to the infield, and the signing of Troy Tulowitzki adds another two. That’s four Gold-Gloves between them.
In the outfield, the Yankees have Gold-Glove winners in left-fielder Brett Gardner and the oft-injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Both are stellar defenders but have been inconsistent in regard to offensive production.
The New York Yankees’ youth agenda:
With the Bombers utilizing their younger stars – Miguel Andujar & Gleyber Torres – the team lacks a few infield veterans to help develop the youngsters and sure-up the unit. Signing Tulo provides great defensive value. He will undoubtedly be a primary tool in the growth of both players, and giving them consistent reps will additionally help.
The outfield on the other hand is tidy, with Aaron Judge and his cannon manning right field and Aaron Hicks holding down center. Judge is bound for a Gold-Glove in his career, or at least some sort of recognition for his ability to gun-down runners from afar. Hicks is a serviceable defender that gets the job done but isn’t making diving catches on a regular basis.
The team has a strong foundation of defenders and adding veteran talent only contributes to the betterment of the roster as a whole. In 2018, the combination of Gardner, Hicks, Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton ranked third in baseball for outfield defensive runs saved, only behind the Brewers and Diamondbacks.
Here’s how the infield ranked last season:
At first base, Greg Bird and Neil Walker, who spent a majority of the season at the position, ranked 21st in the MLB. Second base ranked 23rd despite a solid defender in Torres. Third-base ranked dead last in the league, with Miguel Andujar finishing as arguably the worst infield defender in baseball.
With the Yankees pitching ranking fourth-highest in the league in ground-ball rate, (44.6%) complications for lackluster defenders can arise. Andujar allowed a league high 25 runs costed at third base.
Ground-balls are, in fact, a great thing, but when you have sub par defenders fielding them, it can create issues that ultimately shouldn’t be a problem. Having good players in the field could be the difference between a Wild-Card game and having home-field advantage in the second-round of the playoffs.
These are some essential reasons that signing Tulo and securing Machado are atop the list of priorities this offseason.