Missing Judge? (and what’s next)

Much has been mentioned about the Yankees surprisingly good performance since losing Aaron Judge to a broken wrist.  18-12 record, 2nd in the AL in runs scored ain’t too shabby.

I don’t think it needs to be said that 30 games is a small sample size.  All players and all teams can and have been very good and very bad over stretches of 30 games.  I think most people understand this, so a lecture isn’t necessary.

However, I did want to dig a little deeper at individual performances to see what will be sustainable for the rest of the season, whether Judge returns or not.

Since losing Judge, here are the OBP and SLG of the Yankees most important seven players over that stretch: (.318 and .416 are league average, FYI)

Player OBP SLG
Miguel Andujar .344 .605
Aaron Hicks .419 .446
Giancarlo Stanton .355 .559
Didi Gregorius .380 .500
Neil Walker .330 .442
Gleyber Torres .322 .392
Brett Gardner .312 .312

 

What can we learn from these performances?

Expect regressions from Andujar, Hicks and Didi.  The only players to consistently do what Andujar had done for 30 games (> .605 SLG) are named Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Bonds, Foxx and Greenberg.  Yes, literally.  Hicks is a very underrated player and a high OBP guy but the only CF with a career .419 OBP in baseball history was also was a switch hitter for the Yankees.  Love HIcks but he hasn’t turned into the Mick.  Didi has had a roller coaster season and will be returning from injury soon but I think it’s safe to say he won’t maintain a .380/.500 line.

Interestingly, both Stanton’s and Walker’s numbers are virtually identical to their career numbers, so we can expect more of the same from them.

Glass half full:  Expect Torres and Gardner to play better.  We’ve already seen glimpses of Gleyber’s return to being Gleyber, and Gardner’s numbers are well below his career averages.  I’m going with he didn’t just forget how to hit when Judge got hurt.

Bottom line: Add Gary Sanchez’ bat to the lineup and he, Gleyber and Gardner should offset Andujar, Hicks and Didi cooling off.  Assuming we get more of the same from Stanton and Walker we can expect the same team production overall over the remainder of the season.

That’s without a return of Judge.  If he returns as himself, this team is a major offensive force.

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