The Yankees in May – Part One – At the Plate

May was a difficult month for the Bronx Bombers. It opened with Eric Chavez headed to the disabled list and then the bullpen fell apart. Mariano Rivera and then, his replacement as closer, David Robertson both went to the DL with Rivera done for the season.

In the end, they finished the month 14-14 with the bullpen settling into its new routine in a way that nobody could have predicted. How were the bats this month?

New York Yankees – Batting – Month – May
Name G AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB SO SH SF SB BA SLG OBP
Rodriguez, Alex 27 102 12 32 8 3 0 3 9 24 0 1 4 .314 .431 .383
Cano, Robinson 28 109 19 34 19 11 0 7 9 21 0 0 0 .312 .606 .364
Jeter, Derek 27 116 12 34 5 4 0 1 7 13 0 0 3 .293 .353 .339
Ibanez, Raul 23 80 12 23 16 6 1 6 4 11 0 1 0 .288 .613 .333
Teixeira, Mark 26 93 16 25 18 8 0 6 12 13 0 1 0 .269 .548 .349
Nunez, Eduardo 7 19 2 5 2 1 1 0 3 3 0 1 3 .263 .421 .348
Granderson, Curtis 28 109 16 28 13 4 0 8 13 32 0 0 1 .257 .514 .341
Jones, Andruw 16 37 2 9 5 1 0 2 4 15 0 0 0 .243 .432 .317
Nix, Jayson 12 27 3 6 4 1 0 2 1 6 0 0 0 .222 .481 .276
Chavez, Eric 16 47 2 10 1 4 0 0 4 10 0 1 0 .213 .298 .269
Swisher, Nick 23 87 7 18 9 4 0 2 4 22 0 2 0 .207 .322 .245
Martin, Russell 23 69 5 14 6 5 0 2 11 13 0 0 0 .203 .362 .329
Stewart, Chris 8 25 2 5 2 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 .200 .200 .200
Wise, Dewayne 18 23 2 3 0 1 0 0 1 7 0 0 1 .130 .174 .167
    943 112 246 108 53 2 39 82 194 1 7 12 .261 .445 .325

Good

Robinson Cano. 2nd in batting average (just two points behind A-Rod), 2nd in home runs (1 behind Granderson) and second on the team in slugging (out paced by the very surprising Raul Ibanez), Cano was first overall for a Yankees team that began to re-find its strengths.

Alex Rodriguez. Most significantly, Rodriguez has managed to avoid injury this season so far and, consequently, is beginning to build his confidence. His power is missing in action but he leads the team in BA and managed to appear in the line-up for 27 of the 28 games.

Mark Teixeira. Teixeira was distinctly improved over April and batted .269 with 14 extra base hits and was second only to Cano in that category and also in doubles and RBIs. In this steady improvement continues as the months pass by, as is often the case with our resident 1st baseman, this will lead to a good season.

Derek Jeter. Derek was no better than steady at the plate and in the field and this was not as good a month for him as April had been but his .293 BA on the month kept him well over the .300 mark on the season so far.

Bad

Russell Martin. Compared to Thurman Munson at the end of last season, we are now only beginning to see how silly that comparison was. Very solid defensively and managing to remain fit and well but nothing can hide his poor performance at the plate. Batting only .203 in May with 2 home runs, the Yankees have a supporting cast of catchers who are also much stronger behind the plate than at the plate and so production from that slot in the order could do with a sizeable lift from somewhere.

Chris Stewart. It doesn’t seem likely to be found here. Stewart’s 25 at bats produced only five singles during the month. He is catching Sabathia well and for this reason alone is likely to keep Cervelli at Scranton but he has little else to commend him in the long-term.

Dewayne Wise. Wise is a great late-innings substitute for Ibanez in leftfield and……… And nothing. He batted .130 in May with no power to speak of and 1 stolen base. He is a great addition to the bench but he is not capable of standing in Gardner’s stead. If Gardner is out for the long-haul we should be looking to bring in a new offensive threat before the trading deadline.

Nick Swisher. Everybody loves Swish and therefore we overlook the fact that he is one of the streakiest hitters the Yankees have ever stood by for this long a time. Fine when he is on a roll but it is difficult to keep grinning when he hits .207 in the whole of May.

Surprises

Raul Ibanez. It would be fair to say that I wasn’t convinced when the Yankees replaced Jesus Montero with the aging Ibanez. That was then this is now. First, he gave us a solid presence in the DH role, not overwhelming but better and more consistent than I’d anticipated. Then when Gardner went to the DL in April, he showed that he could be a reasonably solid but not spectacular presence for eight innings a night in leftfield. Add this to the fact that he appears to be a plus in the clubhouse and his team-leading slugging in May and all is well.

Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees spread Nunez too thin over too many fielding positions and wrecked his confidence but I didn’t see that it was something that merited a long term reassignment to Triple-A. In the days before he was sent packing he still managed to bat .263 but there were too many errors in the field. The team went down the same route with Ramiro Pena a few years ago and as Nunez languishes on the DL in Scranton, the Yankees should take some time to reflect on how it is sometimes best to let an infielder be an infielder and not ask him to field in a different position every night.

Curtis Granderson. 13 home runs in May but only 1 stolen base. .257 (B.A.) in May and leading the team in strikeouts. There is so much that is good about Granderson but at the moment he is coming with a sizeable downside. Must improve.

Eric Chavez. Chavez is another player who is great to be able to call on from the bench but he is capable of far more than the .213 and 4 doubles he delivered in the second month of the season. Too many Yankees are not getting hits at rich moments of opportunity and that is resulting in a lamentable batting average when there are runners in scoring positions. We can only carry so many players for their skills in the field. At the moment, the balance is all wrong.

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