When it comes to a situation like the Yankees face most every season these days, – getting ready for the post-season – they can make one of two choices. They can maintain momentum by choosing their best lineup every day, or they can rest the regulars and use the players off the bench. The latter is not as easy these days, because roster expansion is much lower numerically than it used to be a few years ago, but that still seems to be the route that the New York team chooses.
The thing that the Yankees would gain if they maintained that momentum, is that they would build the confidence of a line-up of a team who seem very, very conscious that they are likely to face the Houston Astros in the post-season. And the Astros, regardless of how they achieved some of their previous winning seasons, seem to have a hoodoo over the New York team which inhibits the Yankees performance.
So, once again the Yankees made their choices, and one again the season came to an earlier than hoped for end. The fans ran out of patience. They wanted to see the back of Aaron Boone, they treated Isiah Kiner-Falefa and his family badly. Hey, they even booed Aaron Judge.
Leaving that booing aside, let’s see who were really the good guys and the bad guys. The first table shows the batting performances in the last days of the regular season, The second shows the offensive statistics for the American League Division series where they defeated Cleveland, and the American League Championship series where they once again lost to Houston.
|Kyle Higashioka C||4||14||2||7||0||0||2||4||0||1||3||.500||.533||.929||1.462|
|Giancarlo Stanton of/dh||3||9||3||4||0||0||3||0||0||3||2||.444||.583||1.444||2.027|
|Gleyber Torres 2b/ss||1||5||2||2||1||0||0||2||0||0||1||.400||.400||.600||1.000|
|DJ LeMahieu if||4||13||0||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||.308||.400||.308||.708|
|Oswald Peraza ss||5||17||3||5||0||0||1||1||1||3||3||.294||.400||.471||.871|
|Harrison Bader cf||4||16||0||4||2||0||0||2||1||0||2||.250||.250||.375||.625|
|Marwin Gonzalez if/of||4||12||1||3||0||0||1||2||0||0||5||.250||.250||.500||.750|
|Oswaldo Cabrera if/of||6||18||1||4||0||0||1||1||0||2||5||.222||.300||.389||.689|
|Jose Trevino c||3||10||1||2||0||0||1||1||0||2||2||.200||.333||.500||.833|
|Aaron Judge of||5||16||3||3||0||0||1||1||0||3||7||.188||.350||.375||.725|
|Isiah Kiner-Falefa ss||4||12||0||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||1||.167||.286||.167||.453|
|Anthony Rizzo 1b||4||14||2||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||1||.143||.294||.143||.437|
|Josh Donaldson 3b||5||17||1||2||1||0||0||2||0||2||5||.118||.200||.176||.376|
|Aaron Hicks of||5||14||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||8||.000||.222||.000||.222|
… those post-season statistics:
|Harrison Bader cf||9||30||8||10||0||0||5||6||0||4||6||.333||.429||.833||1.262|
|Isiah Kiner-Falefa ss||6||18||2||5||1||0||0||0||1||1||4||.278||.350||.333||.683|
|Anthony Rizzo 1B||9||29||4||8||2||0||2||8||0||5||8||.276||.432||.552||.984|
|Giancarlo Stanton dh/of||9||32||3||6||2||0||2||7||0||2||9||.188||.229||.438||.667|
|Gleyber Torres 2b/ss||9||34||4||6||0||0||0||2||2||3||10||.176||.243||.176||.419|
|Josh Donaldson 3b||9||29||1||5||1||0||0||0||0||7||16||.172||.333||.207||.540|
|Aaron Judge of||9||36||5||5||0||0||2||3||1||2||15||.139||.184||.306||.490|
|Matt Carpenter if/of/dh||6||12||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||9||.083||.083||.083||.166|
|Oswaldo Cabrera if/of||8||28||2||2||1||0||1||2||0||1||12||.071||.103||.214||.317|
|Jose Trevino c||7||22||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||6||.045||.043||.045||.088|
|Marwin Gonzalez if/of||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000||.000||.000||.000|
|Aaron Hicks of||2||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||,000||.250||.000||.250|
|Kyle Higashioka c||3||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||5||.000||.143||.000||.143|
|Tim Locastro of||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.000||.000||.000||.000|
|Oswald Peraza ss||3||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||.000||.000||.000||.000|
Jose Trevino has been the gift that just kept on giving in 2022, and therefore to see him receive less playing time than Kyle Higashioka in final days of the season was not good. However, Higashioka did well, batting .500 with a pair of homers, whilst Trevino struggled. In the post-season, it was possible to reset the balance to its normal levels and Higashioka was poor (no hits, one walk), whilst Trevino was not much better with a .045 batting average. Given that Trevino wasn’t expected to be with the Yankees at all this season until Ben Rortvedt was injured in Spring Training, he had a phenomonal season, Higashioka will go into 2023 as second choice and Rortvedt remains an unknown factor.
Anthony Rizzo was another player who wasn’t given quite his full complement of at bats in the early days of October, but was one of the very few to excel in the two post-season series. He hit .276 there, with 2 homers and 2 doubles. DJ LeMahieu was also used at 1b in some final games of the regular season, and hit well (.308 across his appearances at all positions). Ironically, having him spot Rizzo in this way just proved that he needed to be left off the post-season roster.
Gleyber Torres at 2b featured in only one of the early October regular season games and hit extremely well (2 hits including a double). By contrast, he contributed a measly .176 in the post-season, playing in all 9 games. In addition, the already mentioned DJ LeMahieu was used at second along with Oswald Peraza, and Oswaldo Cabrera. Peraza fared the better of the latter two, but Carbrera’s higher versatility meant that it was he that was used more in the post-season games. Both of these struggled in the post-season.
Josh Donaldson‘s nightmare season continued in October. He was very poor in the last games of the regular season, and only marginally better in the post-season. He hit twice in 17 at bats in the last games of the season, and only hit 5-in-29 during the post-season. He remains the obvious choice at 3rd base at the end of the season, but the Yankees must be hoping that someone will take him off their hands, if they agree to swallow a sizeable chunk of his salary.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa struggled with the bat in the last days of the season. He was massively improved in the post-season, but this occurred as the Yankees who had defended him during the season finally gave up on his fielding. Peraza and Cabrera were both given one start each and Kiner-Falefa, himself, was moved over to third base in one game. Despite all the uncertainty this must have channelled, he hit .278 with a double in the post-season.
Aaron Hicks had 17 at bats across the last games of the regular season, and his few appearances in the post-season. He achieved no hits during this period but, like Donaldson, unless the Yankees can find someone to take his contract, he will be back in 2023.
Aaron Judge was a disappointment in the post-season, but we can’t really take away anything from his performance over the year – and booing him was outrageous.
Harrison Bader finally made his way to fitness, and seems to have overcome all the doubts some expressed about the risks that the Yankees took in acquiring an injured player. He is defensively excellent, and hit .300 in the post-season, as well as hitting well above his weight with 5 home runs.
Tim Locastro, Marwin Gonzalez, and Matt Carpenter all played bit parts in these final weeks, but like so many members of the roster made no real impact
Giancarlo Stanton did well in the last few days of the season, but he was well below par in the playoffs. He did, however, contribute 5 homers across these two periods, matching Bader’s contribution. The difficulty is that the Yankees would like to use Stanton in the outfield which would mean they wouldn’t have to depend as much on Hicks. When they use him in the outfield, he is very vulnerable to injury. It is beyond a quandary.
Best New York Yankee batters – in October (regular season and post-season) 1 to 5 (LtoR): Harrison Bader, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Higashioka