At the moment, it’s almost a relief to look back on something I wrote about the Yankees at the end of April. May has seen them go into meltdown and at the end of the April it all seemed so optimistic. It was only two weeks ago………
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – April|
Robinson Cano. Cano is the Yankees’ great hope. With 8 home runs and a team leading batting average in April, he continues to grow and though he occasionally does still suffer from a lapse of concentration on the basepaths or in the field, he is a tremendously important player for the Yankees. Whilst question marks linger over Jeter and Posada and some players are slow to settle into their regular season stride, Cano is consistently and remarkably steady.
Russell Martin. I was noticeably cautious about Martin during Spring Training but he has been another steady presence in the team in a month when we have had precious little to turn to in a catching substitute. Over the month, Martin was behind the plate in 22 games and hit 6 home runs and this is a step up from the level of consistency the Yankees were seeing from this position last season.
Curtis Granderson. Granderson was something of a flop in his first season with the Yankees but he has been our best everyday outfielder in the opening month of the season.
Jorge Posada. The question of whether Posada can adapt to being a designated hitter is still an open one but all the signs are that when that answer it comes, it will be in the negative. Posada has been a terrifically important player for the Yankees since 1995 and it will be a tremendous shame if he persists in trying to do something which ultimately will be a flop. The .132 batting average is made up mainly of home runs when he does hit (9 hits, 6 left the park) which suggests he is pressing and needs to be prepared to let the hits come naturally.
Derek Jeter. Jeter continues last season’s difficult finish in April this year. He has not had good advice from Kevin Long, the hitting coach and an attempt to change his stance seems to have resulted in a little bit of a disaster. He is last in the team in slugging percentage (on the month) and is low in the list when it comes to on base percentage.
Brett Gardner. Another disaster was the attempt to convert Gardner into the leadoff hitter. The idea that he would platoon in this role with Jeter didn’t last long and Gardner’s confidence is shot-to-pieces which has affected his baserunning too which has been his real strength in the past.
Eric Chavez. Didn’t seem likely to cause many ripples when he was signed by the Yankees but during April, he was the best player we had off the bench. I expected him to be useful for the occasional power hit (close examination of his stats shows this isn’t a huge part of his game anymore) but little else. In short, I expected him to be gone by the end of May and the Yankees to working with a younger bench player at the corners. I was wrong.
Andruw Jones. Another player that I expected little from after below par performances over the last few seasons and a very lukewarm first Spring with the Yankees. Jones has been pressed into action because of Gardner’s difficulties and has handled the role well.
Eduardo Nunez. Has looked good with the bat but poor in the field. I’m not sure that this is a plus for the role he is filling. Pena had little with the bat but was solid in the field. For a late innings DEFENSIVE substitute, I’m not sure this is a good swap.