So, August has come and gone and within its spread, the Yankees rose to the head of the pack in Major League Baseball and looked confidently towards the post-season. September will involve the expansion of rosters and will provide me with plenty of time to absorb the sights and sounds of the new Yankee Stadium as I make my first visit to New York this year. Let’s see who came up with goods in the heat of Summer and who came up sadly lacking. Batters first:
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – August|
|Hairston Jr., Jerry||24||41||10||12||10||3||0||2||6||5||1||1||0||.293||.512||.388|
Derek Jeter. First in the line-up and first on my list. The captain has had a simply outstanding season and he has even managed to improve as the year has gone along. He added 12 extra base hits to his .377 BA on the month, his defense is better and as always he has the perfect demeanour to give the team the lead and example they need.
Robinson Cano. Cano has had some problems in the field but there is no taking away from his offensive production. He’s had his best ever year for power production and has continued to hit for average and he is a great singles hitter. Unfortunately, his patience at the plate has suffered, resulting in too few walks, as his ability to gain singles has increased but all-in-all, it’s still been a good year for him.
Johnny Damon. Damon had his best month of the year and gave the Yankees something to think about when they think about leftfield for 2010. No question that they could improve defensively but in extra base hits he is second only to Cano, on the month.
Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez also achieved his best month of the year – which to be fair wasn’t difficult but still bodes well after his early season surgery. 2009 will still be a year he wants to forget for all kinds of reasons but that .442 OBP is a bright indicator of good things to come.
Cody Ransom. At the beginning of the year, Ransom, who has seen some limited time in the majors before, seemed to have his best chance of making the grade. From April to July, he messed up every opportunity he was given and in August, his inability to hit a single finally saw him demoted to Triple-A and more significantly removed from the 40 man roster. He struck out three times in the four at-bats he was given in the early days of the month which really shows his problems.
Eric Hinske. Of the pairing of Hinske and Hairston who were brought in when Gardner headed to the DL, Hinske has been the poorer. He achieved a meagre 5 hits in August – 2 singles and 3 doubles. If it wasn’t September (which brings with it extra spaces on the roster) it would be difficult to justify keeping him around.
Jose Molina. Molina vs Cervelli – Posada’s days of playing 7 out of 7 were always going to be limited but they’re now behind him. This means that the backup catcher is going to get significant playing time. Youth vs experience. The Yankees went with experience and in some ways that has paid off but it is Molina’s lack of production in the hits column which suggest that youth might have been the better choice.
Melky Cabrera. Since the night, he hit for the cycle, Cabrera’s batting production has slumped to the kind of problems he had in 2008. It has been a rollercoaster year for him but he needs to turn it around one more time before the post-season.
Hideki Matsui. Matsui who looked like he was on his last legs (pun intended) just a few weeks ago, had some fluid drained and had a flush of power as the month came to its conclusion. He led the team in home runs for August including a couple of nights when he encouraged the ball to leave the stadium on more than one occasion.
Jerry Hairston Jr. Aside from the error he made during Pettitte’s most recent outing – when Andy looked like he might have a stab at a perfect game – this has been a very good move for Mr Hairston. .293 BA and .512 slugging percentage are both significant markups on his numbers prior to joining the Yankees.
Ramiro Pena. Ramiro’s name is very near the top of the above list which is sorted by batting average. He’s proven himself to be more than capable in the infield (the team’s hope that he would also develop skills in the outfield doesn’t seem to have really worked out). Somehow, when a roster move requires someone to make the dusty bus trip back to Scranton, his name comes to the top of that list as well, too often.
Nick Swisher. Swisher has proved that he can be a good clubhouse presence and a threat to produce home runs. His ability to produce a good batting average has not been so consistent. This month he bucked the trend and hit .277 which is still below the team average for the month but a marked improvement.