The 2013 New York Yankees season is winding down and the glimmer of hope for a wild card spot is much like that sad flower in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And after losing two of three to a Toronto Blue Jays team, even saying that sounds overly optimistic. The series in Toronto typified this season’s version of the Yankees. This team simply cannot hit.
The Yankees make guys like Todd Redmond and J.A. Happ look like All Stars. It is easy to blame the poor offensive season on injuries. But you also have to question approach. When a third or more of your lineup engenders an infield shift every game, that might tell you something. The injuries might save batting coach Kevin Long’s job. But he does not get off the hook so easily here.
Consider how bad this offense really is. Only two positions on the field, second base and center field, have an OPS over .700. The catching position only makes J.P. Arencibia look good and has an OPS of .596. First base is supposed to be an offensive position, but Yankee first basemen have a .699 OPS with only 20 homers. And it goes on and on.
The OPS of all total third basemen is .619. Shortstops combine for a .606 OPS. Left fielders come in at .686, right fielders at .681. But wait, I have saved the best for last. Or perhaps better stated, I have saved the last for last.
Yankee designated hitters have a total OPS of .588. You think Chris Stewart and company have been bad as hitting catchers? The DHs have been worse. The total batting slash line for Yankee DHs is, .191/.277/.312. That is like a total season of the 2012 version of Andruw Jones.
To put this in perspective, Chris Davis of the Orioles has a higher slugging percentage than four of the nine Yankee positions have in OPS for the season.
Only the 2013 Chicago White Sox have a lower slugging percentage than the 2013 New York Yankees. Only the Astros and White Sox have a lower team OPS in the American League. The Yankees are thirteenth out of fifteen AL teams in home runs hit and fourteenth in doubles hit. And this is for a team that plays half its games at Yankee Stadium.
Because of its park factor and combined with the offensive results the Yankees have compiled, the team has the second lowest OPS+ in the American League, one point below the Astros. When the Astros, Twins and Mariners are all considered to have better offenses, that is a pretty putrid offense.
The not-so-fun stats go on and on. How about when the Yankees have played interleague games? The team has an OPS of .541 in those games. Yeesh. Oh, and for obscure statistics, in twenty-one plate appearances, Yankee pitchers have one walk and no hits.
Sure, you could point to injuries to Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and even Francisco Cervelli as the major factors in this season of offensive offense. But you would expect replacements to at least hit at replacement level, wouldn’t you? This Yankees’ offensive season has exposed the team’s lack of minor league depth and the spuriousness of depending on castoffs from other teams. To find a worse Yankee offense, you have to reach back into the early 1990s. .
You can blame the lack of a playoff push at the end of this season on the lack of shutdown starting pitching or the collapse of the bullpen. But scoring runs makes it easier (in most cases) to pitch. The Yankees simply did not hit enough this season and did quite well to finish the season above .500.