Seven of the eight regular position players saw their O-Swing% increase by over 4%, and Brett Gardner, who made an obvious attempt to draw more walks, increased his by exactly 1%. This obviously isn’t good as more swings at pitches out of the zone leads to softer contact, if any at all, and more outs. It’s also troubling for the older players because it could be a sign of decline—as players age and lose bat speed, they start their swings earlier to catch up to hard fastballs, making it more difficult to stay back on breaking balls and pitches out of the zone. Aging doesn’t seem to tell the whole story, however, as this seems to be a team-wide problem, which indicates that the hitting philosophy has changed.
But I’m not sure that’s it, either. Kevin Long has been the hitting coach since 2007, and it seems unlikely that he would switch his philosophy now. If being more aggressive was his philosophy, you would imagine that the Yankees would have seen an increase before this past season, but as you can see, it just happened this past season.… Click here to read the rest