The Yankees’ time in the playoffs was short and sometimes not so sweet. They beat the Oakland Athletics in the one-game wildcard game but then were out of their depth in the 5 games series for the American League Division Series (ALDS) losing 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox who would eventually go on to take the World Series.
The performances of the batting line up were not far from how the players had performed in the regular season. Let’s take a look:
|New York Yankees 2018 – Batting – Post-Season|
One of the most interesting factors for the Yankees was seen in their managerial decisions relating both to batting and pitching. We’ll come to the pitching later but first let’s look at how it impacted the offensive line-up.
One of the issues facing the Yankees, going forward is their confidence in third baseman, Miguel Andujar and his ability in the field. There is, of course, no question about his bat weighing in heavily, but in the playoffs, he was lifted earlier and earlier in the games for a defensive substitute. This was usually Adeiny Hechavarria but in the final game, Andujar was left to warm the bench to make room for Neil Walker. Now, all our figures here are very small samples by the very nature of the playoffs, but our table shows that Hechavarria went hitless. Walker’s batting figures were more respectable, but he was as likely to be seen subbing for Luke Voit at first base in the final inning. Now all the talk is that Andujar may well win the “Rookie of the Year” award. At the same time, the Yankees may be looking to upgrade third base or even trade Miggy. It’s quite a bizarre situation. I have watched Andujar from my seat overlooking home-plate and he is not a great third baseman, but he is not terrible. He is, however, a potentially great batter who regular delivers extra base hits. The Yankees really need to settle this situation rather than risk continuing to undermine his confidence.
At the head of our table sits Aaron Judge. Judge, as you will know, returned from injury in the final days of the regular season. When he first returned, he could only be a late innings option in rightfield and couldn’t be used as a batter. When he returned to the batting line-up, he was pressing too hard and achieved little. All of those problems disappeared in a puff-of-smoke when the playoffs began. He hit for .421 with 8 hits, half of those were extra base hits: of which three were home runs. Welcome back, Aaron. Let’s not mention the boombox.
Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit were solid presences doing exactly the things you hoped they would. Voit struggled to get the home runs but he managed a clutch of singles and a triple. Didi Gregorius struggled a little but we didn’t know then that he was heading for Tommy John surgery at the end of the season. He will be missed through most if not all of 2019. It will be interesting whether the Yankees go for a temporary fix or enter into a bigger plan. It is, no question, a key moment in Gregorius’ career.
Andrew McCutchen and Brett Gardner, who were two of the possibilities for left-field, failed to produce, managing 2 hits in 26 at-bats between them. Aaron Hicks did a little better but not much.
The last player to speak of is Gary Sanchez. Now all the news reports said how he broke out of his slump. However, 3 hits in 18 at bats do not tell that story. Indeed, his most crucial moment was in the 9th inning in game 4 of the ALDS, when he came up to bat with the bases loaded and the opportunity to at least prolong the series. All the papers were full of how he nearly did this, nearly did that. After the dreadful season he has had, nearly doesn’t cut it. He will have so much to prove in 2019. I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather see him trying to achieve his bounce-back in another uniform – but the Yankees are not going to let him go.
So, i guess the Yankees achieved what they deserved based on the regular season. There were a lot of players that did worse than Giancarlo Stanton, but Stanton will take most of the flak because this is New York. It is difficult to see Aaron Boone as an upgrade on Joe Girardi at this stage – some of his substitutions and changes were perplexing but he will be back along with most of these players. Next, we will look at the pitchers.