The Yankees were great in May and they managed to continue that excellent trend in June – so important because Boston are showing no signs of slowing down. The Yankees are going to need to keep winning if they are going to finish ahead in this two-horse race. In June, they won exactly two thirds of their games. Let’s see who amongst the batters was lifting the most weight:
|New York Yankees 2018 – Batting – Month – June|
It is not so long ago that the Yankees would have regarded an injury that could put, first-choice catcher, Gary Sanchez on the disabled list as an unmitigated disaster. It is still bad news but there is the lingering hope in the Yankees’ managements’ collective minds that a couple of weeks off might break the trend of all Sanchez’s struggles. His batting performance in June was enough to make him second worst in batting average amongst those regularly taking the field for the Yankees. Only, infielder, Neil Walker is faring worse. Hitting only 4 extra base hits in the month and continuing to struggle behind the plate, Sanchez only has the memory of last season and the absence of anybody the Yankees would want to be picking most every date keeping him in the catbird seat. 2nd choice Austin Romine also had his worst offensive month of the season as he went from being the guy who catches Sonny Gray to the guy who takes up the tools of ignorance most every day. Kyle Higashioka is back on River Avenue as the best option to spell Romine but didn’t trouble the scorer’s pencil in June.
Greg Bird is back ensconced at the first base corner after his return from injury but he has yet to recover his stroke. In June, he batted only .184 but he included in that 9 extra base hits including 4 round-trippers which makes things look a little more positive. The previously mentioned Neil Walker was the second most common face to be spotted at the first-base corner. He has struggled at the plate all season and consequently lost the battle for more time at second to young phenom Gleyber Torres. Another first base option, Tyler Austin was sent to Scranton (Triple-A) as his playing time was greatly reduced. Indeed when the Yankees needed an extra option at first base, it was Brandon Drury that was called upon. Drury had been having a successful run at the Railriders after losing his job at the hot corner to another young pretender, Miguel Andujar.
Walker, who started the season as first-choice second baseman, has almost entirely lost his time there and is now seeing more time at first than in that middle infield position. Torres is defensively strong and hitting up a storm, making the Yankees need for Walker very limited. Torres’ batting average in June dipped a little, hitting only .245 on the month but he was one of a number of Yankees who was showing strong form in hitting for extra bases. This month saw him add 11 extra base hits including one triple and five home runs.
Miguel Andujar took the lion’s share of time at third base and has performed better defensively than was anticipated. He led the team in extra base hits in June (13) and was second in slugging percentage (.560).
Didi Gregorius had a much better month offensively in June than the time he had at the plate in May but he has still not quite recovered to the standard of hitting he was displaying in the earliest weeks of the season but the Yankees will take the current standard quite contentedly. He produced a strong .286.
Ronald Torreyes has still been mostly surplus to requirement, managing an appearance in only two games in June during a short stay in the majors between the 11th and 18th of the sixth month. Towards the end of the month he took leave from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders because of a family matter.
Brett Gardner played a little over 50% of the time at left-field this month and also saw a handful of games at centrefield. His .253 batting average was okay but Aaron Hicks is gaining playing time as Hick’s performance at the plate is heating up. Hicks played in 22 games in the centre of the outfield and produced a .279 average with 11 extra base hits overall in June.
Right-hander Aaron Judge continued to be the pre-eminent Yankee in rightfield despite his June batting average dipping to .234. His 12 extra base-hits means he will always be a fan favourite.
Clint Frazier is back and forth to the majors but he is quite low on the pecking order despite his strong performance on his occasional outings for the Bronx Bombers. In June, he produced .333 in 18 at bats but sooner or later the Yankees will need to make a decision on whether to make an opening for him in their long-term future.
Giancarlo Stanton quietly had his breakout month as a Yankee in June after a quiet start after joining from the Miami Marlins. He spent more time at designated hitter (DH) than anyone else but also played 15 times in the outfield. He hit a team-leading .577 slugging percentage and also 8 homers. His .298 batting average was team-leading amongst those playing in the majority of the games and tied for the team lead in extra base hits with Andujar – a total of 13.
Judge, Austin, Bird and Andujar also saw a little time at DH but this was a month with a number of inter-league games at National League stadiums, thereby marginally reducing the importance of the designated hitter role.
Jacoby Ellsbury continues to be unavailable due to injury and what the Yankees will do with him when he returns is as uncertain as the date he will be back and available. Tyler Wade who was on the opening day 25 man roster spent the whole month at Scranton.