July saw the Yankees stay close to the Red Sox and ready themselves for the big run in. It’s hard to believe that they are not going to be at least the wild card for the American League. Here are some of the reasons why:
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – July|
Nick Swisher. Swisher broke out of his slump in June and since then there has been no stopping him. In July, his thirty hits included 9 extra base hits and he was one of three players (two everyday players) on the Yankees team whose slugging percentage for the month was over .500.
Robinson Cano. Cano has been amongst our best offensive and defensive players all season long and July was no different. Some outstanding fielding plays were accompanied by 14 extra base hits and a .311 batting average. Add this to winning the home run derby during the mid-season break and Cano could be said to be doing quite well at the moment.
Derek Jeter. Derek finally passed the 3000 hit plateau and showed all the signs of improving once that spotlight’s glare had dimmed just a little and this proved to be the case. .292 on the month is not the stuff of the earlier part of his career but it is far advanced on the .260 some were predicting he would achieve for the season.
Brett Gardner. Gardner stole 13 bases in July and batted .289 as he continued to adapt to being in the leadoff spot for at least 50% of the Yankees games. He makes up in baserunning nuisance those things that he lacks as a slugger and has become a very useful part of the lineup indeed.
Ramiro Pena. Pena probably won’t be giving any more chances in Pinstripes beyond the end of 2011 and this stint in the Bronx explains why. He is no more dependable in the field than Nunez who also makes too many errors but whilst Nunez led the team in average on the month, Pena did not manage a single hit in the few he was offered in July before his return to Scranton.
Russell Martin. Martin may be a favourite of the pitchers behind the plate but he is also a favourite of opposing pitchers when he is at the plate. The spark that he showed in April is long gone and whilst he took 4 of every 5 at bats from the catcher’s spot in the line-up, he fared worse than Cervelli, who took the remainder, in every way. He has no power and looks uncomfortable when swinging. Something is not right and it’s not going away which means that Martin cannot hope to be the long-term first choice catcher for the Yankees.
Jorge Posada. Posada returned to his pre-June form after the All-Star break and it’s becoming harder and harder to produce a good argument for keeping him in the line-up. Like Girardi, the vast majority of fans understand all he has done for the team in the past, but there is a part of us all that hopes he will have the good grace to call it a day at season end and that we won’t have to see him scrabbling around the majors hoping to find a spot on another team because he is not a convincing designated hitter and should know when to stand down before he dilutes his achievements.
Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod spent a large part of the month on the DL but before he acknowledged his problems and before the Commissioner began to worry about what he might have in his poker hand, it should have been obvious that something was wrong. In the last 7 games before he opted for surgery, he had no power and was fifty points down on how he should be able to hit.
Mark Teixeira. Teixeira has not lived up to expectations. Teixeira has exceeded expectations. Both are true – it depends what you look at in his game. In terms, of his defensive work at first base, he has excelled. His power hitting has kept him at the forefront of lists of players from the majors. His 9 extra base hits this month has been quiet by the standards he has set in preceding months but it included 4 home runs which keeps him as the team leader in that category. Where he has not managed to match expectations is in terms of batting average. He has warmed up a little – achieving .264 in July – but it is still lower than you’d like to see.
Curtis Granderson. Whilst Teixeira’s batting average was up slightly, Granderson’s was slightly down. But he is still far ahead from where he was this time last year. And the 12 extra base hits have been a continuing upsurge – 4 doubles, 1 triple and seven home runs.
Andruw Jones. In June, I was arguing for Jones’ release. In July, he showed that he can still be useful and valuable. Whilst still only a part-time player, he took advantage of a slight increase in his at-the-plate opportunities to lead the team in slugging average – with an home run every 11 at bats.
Chris Dickerson. Dickerson can count himself unlucky to be back in the minors. In only 9 opportunities, he achieved 4 singles which is very good as others struggle to adapt to coming in off the bench. At the moment, it would seem to be a choice between Jones’ power (and the fact that they can’t simply option him) and Dickerson’s ability to make his way to base nearly 50% of the time.