With all the attention Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are getting -- rightfully so of course -- Chase Headley has started to resemble the player the Yankees thought they were getting when they signed him over the winter. Headley started off horribly both in the field and at the plate, but has seemed to turn it around on both ends in July.
Headley came through big yesterday going 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. He also contributed in Saturday's big rally with a sac fly in the seventh inning and a single in the ninth. Headley has hit .333/.371/.421 in July with a .346 wOBA and a 120 wRC+. He has always been a second half player in his career, as he has a .279/.362/.442/.804 slash line in his career in second halves. Maybe, he's just one of those guys who just takes awhile to get going.
Whatever weird throwing issue Headley had going has mostly gone away recently. That was just one of the strangest things you'll ever see from a guy who was unreal with the leather last year with the Yankees.
The biggest difference overall for Headley at the plate has been impatience and an inability to hit lefties. His walk rate is down to 6.5 percent this year from a 10 percent career mark and he only has a .281 wOBA and a 75 wRC+ against lefties.
The Yankees need Headley to keep his hot July going throughout the rest of the season to lengthen the lineup. They pretty much know what they're getting from the top four in the order, so if guys like Headley, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran can hit behind them it can make the lineup that much more dangerous than it already is. McCann has quietly had a very cold month of July, so it would be nice to get him back going with Headley at the same time.
Casual fans and saber guys seemed split on the Headley signing last winter. The casuals were all screaming the myth that the only good season he had was his MVP level season in 2012. We know that season is an outlier for his career, but that doesn't mean he isn't a good player or hasn't had other good seasons. He had a 121 wRC+ and a .340 wOBA in 2011, although in only 113 games. In 2013, Headley had a 3.6 WAR and a 114 wRC+ and last year he had 4.2 WAR and a 103 wRC+. So, he had never been below league average on offense, nor was he even close to being until last year when his back was bothering him in the first half.
With all that being said, it's certainly hard to understand why Headley was so bad early on and it was certainly disappointing. However, he still has a chance to be a big part of this season with the position the Yankees find themselves in His hot month of July could be the beginning of another strong second half for Headley.