The Yankees had the most unlikely start to the season, especially if you listened to those who assessed their chances in the pre-season. In fact, as their injury list got longer, the impressiveness of their remaining amongst the teams with the highest winning percentage in major league baseball, just became more evident. Let’s see who led the way in April and who were amongst the few who failed to reach the necessary mark. Batters up first!
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – April|
Robinson Cano. It took Cano about three days to settle into his stride but after that there was no holding him. He led the team in batting average, doubles and home runs. He was less prone to appearing nonchalant in the field and was a great example to everyone else on the club.
Travis Hafner. Hafner brought power to the DH role and achieved the necessary in a number of clutch situations. Not only did he tie for the lead in RBIs and take joint second in homers but he was also joint leader in walks to round out an accomplished first month in the pinstripes.
Chris Stewart. Stewart could have felt aggrieved about being passed over for first choice catcher when Russell Martin departed for Pittsburgh. Instead, without grumbling, he got on with the task in hand and added a strong streak of hitting-for-average and he became even more of a vital component when new first choice Francisco Cervelli broke his hand.
Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli, as mentioned above, headed for the disabled list before the month was out but that shouldn’t make us lose sight of how well he delivered before that injury. As well as strong defence, he spent most of the month above the .300 line cooling to .269 with 3 homers before his bad luck struck again.
Ben Francisco. Francisco was one of those signings that looked slightly desperate at the time which looks more so at the end of the first month. Francisco flirted around the .100 line for the last weeks of the month, finishing out at .103 with no extra base hits and only 3 walks. If the team is drawing up a list of those most likely to be released when the big names start to return, Ben’s name must be at the head on current form.
Brennan Boesch. Boesch has also not set the world alight although he has far exceeded Francisco’s performance. 4 of his 7 hits have been for extra bases but it is the lack of singles that is most telling.
Eduardo Nunez. Nunez doesn’t get his spot on the team for his fielding ability and the team have made it clear that their time of experimenting with him in a utility role is a thing of the past. So when he reaches the last day of April with a .203 batting average and only three extra base hits then it is not hard to imagine where he would be if it wasn’t for the injury to Jeter.
Jayson Nix. Nix is another who has struggled offensively. Little in the way of hitting and leading the team in strikeouts. He needs to improve.
Vernon Wells. When the Yankees signed Wells to cover the gaping hole left by the injury to Curtis Granderson, there were those who took it as further evidence of how desperate the injury-ravaged Yankees were feeling. In fact, Wells looks back closer to his old self as he delivered 6 home runs and 27 hits.
Ichiro Suzuki. He spent most of the month struggling and batting an unaccustomed 6 or 7 in the batting line-up. However, by the middle of the month, the trend was changing and he looked more his usual standard. He completed April batting .268 which is no mean achievement given how pedestrian he looked for the first two weeks.
Brett Gardner. Gardner hasn’t looked his usual self either. He struck out way too often and wasn’t his pesky self on the base paths. The team will be looking for more from him before the season is much older.
Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis took the opposite trend to Ichiro. He started the month solidly and was obviously enjoying his role on his new club. By the 20th of the month, the gradient was distinctly downhill and he began to sit out games with back problems. The end of the month sees him as one more name on that burgeoning disabled list.