The Yankees in September – Part One – At the Plate

The New York Yankees have had substantial problems in 2013 both with their batting and their pitching. If we add this into the amazingly high number of injuries they have suffered throughout the season, it is so surprising that they stayed in contention for a wild card place until the last week of the season. They cannot possibly suffer as many injuries next year. There should be huge plaudits to the management team for keeping them in the reckoning so long. All of this makes it very apparent why the owners and general manager were keen to make sure Joe Girardi was offered a new contract ASAP and why they can look forward to 2014 with some optimism. Nevertheless, it is true that in the last month of the season, only two players who played in the majority of the games batted over .250. Let’s look at that final month……….

New York Yankees – Batting – Month – September
Name G AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB SO SH SF SB BA SLG OBP
Cano, Robinson 26 106 9 36 18 13 0 2 3 11 0 0 0 .340 .519 .358
Gardner, Brett 12 42 10 13 10 6 2 0 5 14 0 0 2 .310 .548 .396
Nunez, Eduardo 21 78 11 23 8 7 1 2 3 9 0 0 2 .295 .487 .321
Soriano, Alfonso 25 89 12 22 15 5 0 5 14 32 0 1 2 .247 .472 .346
Ryan, Brendan 17 59 7 13 1 2 0 1 2 13 0 0 0 .220 .305 .258
Suzuki, Ichiro 23 66 7 14 3 1 0 0 4 14 0 1 2 .212 .227 .254
Rodriguez, Alex 22 74 10 15 9 5 0 3 15 21 0 0 1 .203 .392 .337
Jeter, Derek 7 25 4 5 4 0 0 0 4 5 0 1 0 .200 .200 .323
Reynolds, Mark 23 70 11 14 12 3 0 4 4 19 0 0 0 .200 .414 .253
Adams, David 4 11 0 2 2 1 1 0 0 8 0 0 0 .182 .455 .182
Granderson, Curtis 26 96 12 17 6 6 2 3 7 36 2 0 1 .177 .375 .233
Overbay, Lyle 23 49 2 8 8 1 0 1 6 14 0 1 2 .163 .245 .250
Stewart, Chris 18 37 6 6 1 1 0 0 7 5 0 1 0 .162 .189 .319
Wells, Vernon 19 50 5 8 7 1 0 0 4 8 0 0 2 .160 .180 .222
Murphy, JR 15 26 3 4 1 1 0 0 1 9 0 0 0 .154 .192 .185
Almonte, Zoilo 8 18 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 .111 .111 .111
Romine, Austin 9 16 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 .063 .063 .063
Hafner, Travis 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .000 .000 .333
916 111 203 106 53 6 21 79 230 2 5 14 .222 .361 .288

Good

Robinson Cano. Cano had a great time at bat in September, coming in 1st in batting average and second in slugging and on-base percentage. He is out of contract with the Yankees come the end of October and there is reportedly a huge gap between what Cano is seeking and what the Yankees are offering. He is an important piece of the Yankees puzzle but only time will tell what happens next.

Eduardo Nunez. Eduardo played most of the days in September with the season-ending injury to Jeter meaning that players were needed to fill in at shortstop and third-base. That regime seemed to suit him as he did reasonably in defense and was majorly improved in terms of his batting performance. Ten extra-base hits (tied for third in the team) and a .295 batting average were impressive but he could use a little more patience at the plate where walks were few and far between.

Alfonso Soriano. Soriano didn’t maintain the performance that he gave the Yankees after joining them from the Cubs but he still managed to lead the team in home runs on the month. Also hidden in his statistics you will notice that he was second on the team in walks which was inconceivable in his first stint in New York. He still had too many strikeouts but we can’t have everything.

Brendan Ryan. When we’re looking for good players on the team and we have to include a player with a .220 batting average, it does help us to notice how few strong batting performances there were in September. The reason that Ryan makes this list is that he was simply outstanding in the field and brought some magic to the shortstop role.

Bad

Vernon Wells. We have to preface this paragraph by noting that Wells is contracted through 2014. He batted .160 in September with one extra base hit (a double) in 50 at bats. His season has got worse as it has gone along and if they can’t trade him he can’t hope to be more than a bench player next season.

Mark Reynolds. Reynolds gave much reason for encouragement when he arrived in New York but September was his worst month since he joined the Pinstripes. He batted .200 (albeit with 7 extra base hits).

Lyle Overbay. If you weren’t going to pick Reynolds, at first-base, during the slump we’ve just mentioned then the obvious place to turn was to Overbay who unfortunately was mired in a slump of his own and struggling more than most in what was his worst month of the season.

Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro seemed to have warmed up after a very lukewarm start to the season but if so he tailed off again in the later months. September saw a batting average of .212 which was high on the list for this team but for a player who is only ever going to achieve mostly singles and who is no longer the threat he once was on the base paths, it is very worrying. This would normally leave him as fourth outfielder for next season but we’ve already put Wells there so there is a conundrum of a team overstaffed with sub-standard and under-achieving outfielders.

Surprising

Brett Gardner. Having struggled in August, Gardner surprisingly rebounded in September but then went down with another of a catalogue of injuries. .310 but with no home runs and only 2 stolen bases. He has one more year to go on his contract but his rocky year makes it debatable whether the Yankees should try to sign him to an extension or consider his trade value or allow him to become a free agent after 2014. This outfield situation is looking very complex and I’m glad it is not my problem to sort.

Austin Romine. Romine missed the end of the season with concussion but what shouldn’t be missed is that before this, his batting figures had fallen away quite alarmingly. In the last month, Stewart batted .162 (horrible) but Romine managed only .063 (doubly so). All this while Russell Martin was performing heroics for the Pirates. Now I don’t think Martin was a good fit in New York but I also do not think that the Yankees can get away another season without a catcher who is some kind of offensive threat.

Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod is currently suing everyone and complaining about the rest. Amongst those to face his ire are those who, he says, caused him to comeback too early in 2012 when, he says, he was still injured. I have no comment on that but I notice that his batting figures tailed off alarmingly the longer he played in 2013 and that he ended the season only available to the Yankees as a designated hitter.

Curtis Granderson. Granderson batted .177 for the Yankees in September and aside from his 11 extra base hits there was little to cheer. He is out-of-contract with the Yankees and a whisper has the White Sox interested in acquiring him. I wouldn’t rule out the Yankees offering him a further year but some on-going injury concerns will have to be resolved and it would have to be at the right price.

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