Out of left field is a semi-regular post for when there isn’t anything that requires 1,000 words of analyzation, but there are some informal, random observations I want to throw out there. In no particular order:
The Yankees can play defense.
I’ve seen more non-Yankee baseball this season than in any season in recent memory, and in addition to confirming my thoughts on the incompetency of the Yankees broadcast booth (minus Cone, who’s still one of the best in the business), I can tell you the Yankees can turn double plays with the best of them, and it rarely gets noticed. Torres, DJ, and Didi get two outs on many ground balls that a lot of teams don’t, and quite often they make it look easy. And if you’ve read my stuff before you know I don’t trust my eyes so I checked: Baseball Reference ranks them near the middle, but both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus have them second best in the AL at converting ground balls into double plays. Of course, defensive metrics are still evolving and it’s certainly possible I’ve seen some poor teams play defense that I’m comparing them too – but the Yankees are fun to watch turn two and certainly save the team a lot of runs in the process.
Have we seen this before?
I’m more forgiving than most fans when it comes to batter/runners who don’t run hard 100% of the time. Yes, it rubs me the wrong way a little bit, but I get in the big scheme of things it doesn’t have a huge impact on wins and losses.
That being said, Aaron Hicks’ propensity for running the bases with less than full effort is starting to get on my nerves. Last night, Hicks led off the 6th with a blast to deep right center. He felt standing in the box and looking at it was more of a priority than running apparently. (Hey, let the kids play, right?) As a result of his self-admiration combined with a good defensive play by Jeff McNeil, a sure triple was turned into a double. The next three batters all put the ball in play but the Yankees didn’t score. Don’t come at me with pseudo-intellectual silliness like “fallacy of pre-determined outcome” – Hicks very likely cost the Yankees a run in what was soon to be a game they blew.
I’ve called Hicks out on this before. I wish Aaron Boone would.
I told you so, part 78:
Zack, or Zach, or whatever his name is this week, has been an average pitcher at best for a long time. Anyone with ten minutes and a laptop could have told you this back in January – I know because I did – before giving him $39 million dollars. This is one of many decisions on which Brian Cashman can and should take heat – but does not, for some reason.
Down by two runs in the 9th with two outs, and Didi on first base. Didi decided attempting to steal 2nd base was a good idea. He was safe – barely – which of course is not the point. I’ve said for a while that Didi is one of the more overrated Yankees of my lifetime. I spent most of 2018 explaining to the internet that he was not one of the best SS in baseball – he’s good, but he isn’t top 10 in MLB at the position. On this team, he has no business being anywhere near the middle of the order, yet he bats there regularly. And I don’t think last night was an aberration. I think his baseball IQ can be questioned. A good player obviously, but seriously, what…the…?
Speaking of Cashman and Didi…
Shane Greene is an All-Star. Of course, a good everyday SS is more valuable than a relief pitcher – but Shane Greene is better than Britton. So although we’d all do the deal again, maybe we can temper our Cashman idolatry a little on this one.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
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