The New York Yankees spent most of April buried in injuries. It didn’t get much better as the season rolled along but that didn’t stop the team from growing in confidence. With their young call-ups flexing their muscles, their May record was 20 wins to 7 losses. Ending April at 17-12 and in second position in the American League East, they scorched to 37-19, headed the table and were showing a one and a half game lead by the end of the month of May!
Let’s see which batters led the way:
|New York Yankees 2019 – Batting – Month – May|
The Yankees used two men behind the plate with Gary Sanchez taking roughly two-thirds of the time in that position. Sanchez was also given 4 appearances at designated hitter (DH). This is a very different Sanchez than the one we saw in 2018. In May, he batted .286 with 10 extra base hits. This put him third in extra bases and 4th in batting averages – performances that he could only dream about last season as he seemed mired in a never-ending slump. Austin Romine, still strong defensively, was struggling badly at the plate batting .184 with only one double in his 38 plate appearances with no walks.Infielders
Luke Voit was still very much the first choice first base man – particularly with the perpetually injured Greg Bird showing no evidence of leaving the injured list anytime soon. He featured in 21 of the 27 games in that position and also appeared 5 times at designated hitter. Second in extra base hits, he made up what he lacked in batting average in exuberance and his buoyant presence – a real fan favourite. Also playing the first base corner were DJ LeMahieu and Kendrys Morales who we will come to in a moment as they played more at other positions.That moment is a short one in the case of LeMahieu who was the player of choice at second base whilst also seeing time at third and first. LeMahieu has been a tremendous find for the Yankees. Signed along with Troy Tulowitzki and perhaps expected to compete for time, the situation has changed drastically with Tulowitzki injured, LeMahieu’s chance opened up and he has taken it with both hands. In May, he built on a promising April with a .323 batting average and 5 home runs. He will be a fixture somewhere in the Yankees infield for the foreseeable future. His defense is excellent and his offense is far more than the New York team could have anticipated. Thairo Estrada is another surprise. The 23-year-old, Venezuelan infielder who can also play a little outfield, was one of the players called up to cover the holes in the roster as the number of injuries ballooned. This month, he played mostly at second but also some shortstop and had one appearance at DH. Whilst very much a bench player, he seems to have moved ahead of Tyler Wade in the pecking order. Batting .276 with six extra base hits this month, he is showing great promise. The aforementioned Tyler Wade made just two appearances in May – both at second base. In these games, he only made a mark on the box score once and that with a sacrifice hit.With Didi Gregorius still absent (albeit heading for a rehab assignment at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre by the end of the month), Gleyber Torres continued to man shortstop and did so excellently in every regard. His .295 batting average was sparked by 14 extra base hits and consequently a team-leading .632 slugging percentage amongst qualifiers (one decimal point ahead of Sanchez). Estrada was the only other player to see time at shortstop during May.The third-base corner was the residence of Gio Urshela. LeMahieu saw a little time there and there was a short-lived attempt to reactivate Miguel Andujar which led only to him being added to the injured list again and prepped for surgery. Urshela has had two previous stints in the Major Leagues (first with Cleveland and then with Toronto) and the only thing we learned was that although he excelled in the field, he could not bat. His highest batting average was during his short-term residency in Canada where he hit .233. The bottom line was “a little power but can’t hit for average”. That was until the Yankees took him in hand. This season, he has been a phenomenon and May was no exception. He batted .333 with 7 extra base hits, leading the team in hitting for average – and these Yankees are no slouches. We keep waiting for him to slow down, but it doesn’t look like it is going to happen. OutfieldersAfter Cameron Maybin arrived from Cleveland in the latter part of April (in exchange for our old friend “Cash Considerations”),he quickly demanded a regular spot in the outfield and with superstars Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge injured that meant he was given quite a considerable time at leftfield and rightfield. Maybin actually made more appearances in right than left but tied Brett Gardner for game appearances in left overall. It was a convoluted situation because injury to Aaron Hicks meant that Gardner was mostly active in centre field. Gardner batted .263 to Maybin’s .254 and Brett had 10 extra base hits to Cameron’s 5. Hicks struggled to bounce back from injury, managing only .217 with one home run.Clint Frazier was the main man in rightfield, but most fans were left wondering why this month. He batted only .219. He did produce for power – 7 extra base hits including 4 home runs but his work in the field was alarmingly poor.
Mike Tauchman was very much the back-up outfielder, playing across all three fields. His .273 was well ahead of Frazier’s figures and he was a more than competent fielding presence. It seemed like only a matter of time before he was given a bigger responsibility but every time there was a man too many on the roster, he was the one on his way to Scranton.
Designated Hitters7 players were used at DH with the recuperating Miguel Andujar most used. He was laboured when used in a fielding position and didn’t regain his batting poise like the team hoped (.088 batting average) and as previously noted, further examination revealed the need for surgery. Kendrys Morales who was struggling at Oakland was sent over to New York for a player to be named later… and his struggles just continued. In 6 games at DH and 5 at first base, he batted .128.Also at DH were the previously mentioned Voit, Sanchez, Frazier and Estrada. Mike Ford who had played a little 1b and DH earlier in the season, was given one more appearance at DH this month. His month saw him having 4 at-bats and one hit.