As August drew to a close, the Yankees were embroiled in a vital series with Boston at Fenway. It was the conclusion of a turbulent month which had seen Derek Jeter return to a higher level of form with the bat and suggestions that the Mariano Rivera era was coming to a close. Let’s see what the statistics reveal:
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – August|
Derek Jeter. Jeter who has generally fared well in the brightest of spotlights suffered a dip in form in the run up to his 3000 hit. But was it because of all the attention or simply the matter of his increasing years? The evidence so far in suggests that, whilst he is never going to be the player he was in the period between 1998-2001, he has certainly rebounded to some degree from that first-half dip and August was certainly his best offensive month so far in 2011. He lead the team in batting average and weighed in an in impressive second in on-base percentage.
Francisco Cervelli. In May, Cervelli looked like he would not be around long as the Yankees second choice catcher. He made errors in the field and struggled to keep his batting average above the Mendoza line. By August, he was well-ahead of Russell Martin in terms of batting average and his regular stint as C.C. Sabathia’s battery partner was contributing to Sabathia leading the team in wins. An interesting conundrum is developing if Cervelli can stay at this level. Jesus Montero is now in the mix and Cervelli leads in OBP and BA but Martin is the better slugger (when free from injury) and has the edge with the “tools of ignorance”.
Robinson Cano. Cano and Granderson have been a vital part of the Yankees success this year. And for Cano this is not the first year at this level! On the month, Cano batted .345 and had 18 extra base hits including 7 homers.
Curtis Granderson. Granderson has been a completely different proposition in 2011 than he was in his first year in Yankees’ pinstripes. August was another great month for him. He lead the team in home runs and slugging percentage and was tied with Cano for the RBI lead.
Brett Gardner. Gardner had a bad month whilst still proving a useful part of the Yankees’ offensive and defensive mix. Andruw Jones’ improvement meant that Gardner was under more pressure to perform and as in times past, Gardner reacted to pressure with a slump. Whilst still appearing in 27 games on the month, Gardner’s performance dropped in almost every category and for a player whose game relies so much on his baserunning, he was second lowest on the team in on base percentage with only the injury-carrying A-Rod faring worse.
Mark Teixeira. Teixeira continues to be unable to raise his batting average. He is still a formidable presence with 13 extra base hits including 6 home runs on the month but he has failed miserably to hit for average even though he is showing good patience at the plate and drawing a number of walks.
Alex Rodriguez. Anyone can get injured and everyone takes time to recover. But only Alex Rodriguez carries the kind of unmovable contract that means he’s going to be on the team for years to come and only Rodriguez has the circus of his personal life to add to the baggage.
Andruw Jones. Jones apparently owes the improvement in his batting average to his Mum’s good eye. She suggested he looked at video of his stance at the plate and it seems to have worked. After some horrible performances in mid-season, he has bounced back to be an essential, if still part-time, part of the outfield mix on the Bronx Bombers.
Russell Martin. Less easy to explain is Martin’s sudden return to form with the bat. After several months of flirting with .220 and .230, he suddenly bounced back to .286 with 7 home runs and the kind of form he has not displayed, offensively, since April.
Nick Swisher. Swisher is maintaining his upsurge. For this notoriously streaky hitter, this is quite a development.
Jorge Posada. Posada was told in August that his time as everyday designated hitter on the Yankees was over. In reality, this had been the case for several weeks but I can’t imagine he’s the easiest guy to sit down for that kind of talk and it took a while before Girardi finally bit the bullet. Amazingly, Posada didn’t sulk but made every attempt to prove his continuing worth and did whatever the Yankees asked of him. It remains to be seen whether all this will be enough to give him a spot on the post-season roster but it can’t hurt his cause.