The New York Yankees did not quite maintain their May level of performance in June but they weren’t still far off that pace.
In June, they had the somewhat bizarre London series which produced 50 runs in two days to inflate the earned run average (ERA), runs scored and batting average columns.
Despite winning those two “road” games, the Yankees finished the month 17-9, compared to 20-7 in May.
However, they had finished May only one and a half games ahead in the division. Now with Tampa Bay falling off the pace, they led by 7 games.
Let’s see who led the way with the lumber:
|New York Yankees 2019 – Batting – Month – June|
Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine split the catching time again just as they had done in June. Sanchez appeared in 22 games at catcher and 2 at designated hitter (DH) and Romine featured in nine games. In most other regards, everything was the same too. Sanchez went from 10 extra base hits in May to 11 in June. Romine who had struggled at the plate in May continued to do so this month, although he saw a slight improvement to a .211 BA.
One significant difference, however, was seen in Sanchez’s on base percentage which fell from .348 to .324. This was due mainly in a reduced capacity to hit for average (.286 to .255). But with a player who is second in the team in extra base hits on the month and so significantly improved in every area on last season, I am sure that it is a trade-off the Yankees will accept.
Two months ago, if someone had suggested to the Yankees’ coaching staff that DJ LeMahieu would be leading the team in one of the batting categories as well as given them solid defense at three different positions, they would probably be forgiven for being more than a bit surprised. But it is a trick he keeps pulling off and this month he led the team in the following categories:
Games played (joint leader), At-bats, Runs, Hits, Runs Batted In (RBIs), Doubles, Triples, Home Runs (joint leader), Extra Base Hits, Stolen Bases, oh and Batting Average.
Not a bad little collection then. He could perhaps be a little more patient at the plate and earn a few extra walks but that is a minor consideration. He is proving to be a great free agent signing for the Yankees. This month, he featured in 6 games at first base, 13 at second base and 8 at third.
That meant that LeMahieu wasn’t first choice at any of those three positions, even if he was guaranteed to be pencilled at one of them. Luke Voit led the way at first and in his 18 appearances (also 5 at DH), he produced another great month. He batted .333 with 10 extra base hits. His home run numbers were halved on last month and during the “London Series”, he picked up an injury which will see him start July on the Injured List.
The Yankees also used Kendrys Morales (who has since been designated for assignment) and new signing, Edwin Encarnacion at first base for two games each. Encarnacion came in from Seattle and saw more time at DH than first base and we will consider his contribution when we come to that category.
Gleyber Torres saw marginally more time at second than LeMahieu, as well as playing 9 games at shortstop. He was another tour-de-force of the June line-up. Like Voit, he hit ,333, but was the only player to achieve more walks than Luke (19-17). With Voit’s drop in home runs, he was also ahead of him in that category, 5-3, meaning that he led qualifying players in on-base percentage.
Didi Gregorius returned from the 60-day injured list on the 7th of June. This made Thairo Estrada who has done so well, the odd man out and he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders. Estrada played only two games in the month. Gregorius, as expected, took a little time to get up to pace but he did more than respectably, hitting .290 with 5 extra base hits.
Gio Urshela took the lion’s share of time at third base. His .232 with 6 extra base hits was by far his quietest month since arriving with the Yankees and his stats looked much more like they had during his two previous (short) stints in the Majors than they had during the earlier months of the season. Time will tell if he rebounds from this dip.
In leftfield, the Yankees used 4 players. One of these was Giancarlo Stanton who returned from the injured list on the 18th, did well in 6 games (dividing time between leftfield and rightfield) and then returned to the injured list. Another was Mike Tauchman who was recalled when Morales headed to the injured list and then returned to Scranton when Aaron Judge and Stanton became available again on the 18th. Tauchman was recalled again when Stanton injured himself once more. Let’s just say, in every regard, that it was a month to forget for Tauchman.
Brett Gardner was the main leftfielder with Cameron Maybin the supporting player who divided his fourteen games between left and right. Ironically, in the malaise of injuries that is the Yankees’ outfield, it was Maybin who has begun to impress. Gardner showed some power but not a lot else.
Centrefield belonged to Aaron Hicks with Gardner picking up the other days when others took over left. Hicks is impressive defensively and has power (5 doubles, 5 homers) but he has not regained his ability to hit for average since he returned from injury as his .217 BA cannot hide. The Yankees will be hoping for a better second half from a play that they recently signed to a seven-year contract.
Rightfield was the most complicated of all the Yankees’ fielding positions. The early month saw Clint Frazier taking the lead. He continued to impress with the bat (.320 BA/ 6 XBHs in June) but his glove seemed to have holes in it. He was headed to a new location on the 17th of the month to work on that when the bigger names returned. As well as being seen as a fielding liability, Frazier has a tendency to upset things in the clubhouse. It will be interesting to see what the future brings.
The aforementioned Estrada, Tauchman and Stanton all saw a little time in the rightfield, but the Yankees’ management were very glad to see Aaron Judge return to availability. He came back on the 21st and played 7 of the games through to the end of the month, which was not least a commercial advantage when it came to those days in London. He batted .333 with 2 home runs. What’s not to like?
Edwin Encarnacion played in 9 games at DH after he arrived on the 15th. He had been struggling at the Mariners and the Yankees were hoping that a change of scenery would do him good. This had been the plan with Kendrys Morales and as with Morales the early results were not promising. Encarnacion batted .140 with 5 XBHs as it began to look like Morales might be heading for the door marked “exit”.
Frazier saw a little time at DH because that was preferable to watching him making fielding errors. Stanton saw a little time at DH because that was preferable to watching him injure himself.
The best laid plans of mice and men and all that…