Well, here we are in October, the R/Sox crashed out of the playoffs in three straight games and I still haven’t published my summary of September for the Yankees.
As I anticipated the two L.A. teams are going to be the ones that the Yankees need to worry about – what ammunition do they have to overcome them, once they have dispensed with the Twins?
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – September|
|Hairston Jr., Jerry||18||28||4||4||1||2||0||0||4||3||1||0||0||.143||.214||.250|
Robinson Cano. As I mentioned in the reports of the individual games, Cano has made tremendous progress this season. No longer the guy who was lazy in the field last season or the guy with the lacklustre batting average. He led the team in September in hits and doubles and defensively having him and Teixeira in the field means that we compare with anyone on that side of the park.
Mark Teixeira. Speaking of Teixeira, another great month for him. It’s interesting that the press still like to talk about his standard of offensive performance in April, attributing it to the lack of A-Rod’s threat behind him in the lineup which is nonsensical. Better to concentrate on the fact that since then he has been so consistent and always put up great stats and been a leader in clutch situations. In September, he led the team in at bats, runs, RBIs, triples, home runs and slugging. I think he’s done enough to gain credit in his own right.
Derek Jeter. In September, Jeter had another .340 month and led the team in walks. He has not had a down period all year. He is also much improved in the field – although I don’t think he deserved a large part of the negative criticism he took last year.
Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez continues to get into his stride and this has, so far, continued into the post-season. It has been a slow progression for him but he’s finally got there.
Jerry Hairston, jr. Hairston has, by contrast, been cooling down each week since since he arrived in the Bronx. On one hand, this makes it very easy to decide who to choose to start at third base but leaves us going into the post-season without having anyone on the bench that we would particularly want to call on to fill that spot in an emergency. Ramiro Pena has been a consistent and capable utility guy for the other infield spots but first, Ransom and now Hairston and Hinske have offered very little offensively and played only adequately in the third base corner.
Jose Molina. If I was to choose a Yankee catcher on the basis of power and experience, I would go with Posada. If my choice was guided by defensive ability and the need to grow through more playing time then Cervelli is my guy. Molina’s .171 with no power in September means that Molina might count himself lucky to be on the post-season roster. If it wasn’t for the questions about the Burnett-Posada tandem then I would have left him off and given Cervelli the extra time.
Eric Hinske. See the comments on Hairston. Hinske brings the potential for a little more sporadic power but not much else.
Shelley Duncan. Duncan’s great season at Scranton gave him one more chance in the majors for the Yankees ………. and he didn’t even begin to take it. 13 at bats, 3 hits is not too bad but you’re looking for this guy to hit for power and he just hasn’t done it in this limited role. The Yankees can either choose to give him the option to become a career minor leaguer or release him to try his fortune elsewhere.
Johnny Damon. Damon needs to finish hot if he is to persuade the Yankees to let him return in 2010. He is a sub-par left-fielder and really needs to keep up his average if he is to be back in that role next year. A mere .235 with no home runs was not the way he wanted to go in September. He needs a big post-season.
Freddy Guzman. Guzman was a surprise addition to the roster in late August and immediately, Girardi was talking about him having a role in the playoffs. He didn’t make the first round of the playoffs and a series against the Angels would seem to offer him the best chance of a call up. But to be honest is baserunning in late September was predictable and too often he found himself in problems.
Brett Gardner. Gardner didn’t really deliver in September. He is significantly behind Cabrera for the centrefield starting role and his baserunning hasn’t been as aggressive and Jeter and Guzman have looked the main threats in that category. Given that he went into the season as the favoured man for CF and that Girardi said he had no plans to platoon, this must be regarded as a severe setback for him.
Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli has proved himself again and again this season. He is a capable guy with the tools of ignorance but it is ability to hit for average at the major league level that is the big surprise and which is the big lift for him and which is beginning to look like it is no fluke. Mostly as a late innings replacement in September, not an easy role, he has managed six singles and a double in fourteen at-bats which for me means that he should see a big increase in opportunities next year and that he should move up the pecking order for the catching role, even if that means saying goodbye to Molina who has served us well over the last few years.