I know. You are tired of me writing about the Yankees' offense. I have railed all year about it and I don't blame you for being sick of it. It's just that misery loves company. If I have to watch this team hit every night and drive myself to distraction, then I might as well take someone with me. Frankly, I hate this offense. As thrilling a win as Monday night was with Slade Heathcott's three-run dinger to win it, the Yankees had just four hits. Last night they had five. Just a random couple of games? Hardly. The Yankees have had five or less hits in a game 29 times. That is tied for sixth most in the Majors. That is also 20% of their games or a fifth of them. Is that a lot? Well...the 2009 Yankees did that only fourteen times all season. Which is also how many times the Blue Jays have done it this season.
So what, exactly, drive me crazy? The approach to hitting drives me crazy. If you face a guy with a good change-up (which describes everyone on the Rays), then the best approach is to think away and then you are still back enough to hit the change up hard. It is my observation that the Yankees give away more outs that most teams and certainly less than their closest opponents. But is that an accurate observation?
I think the numbers back it up. Which team has the lowest BABIP in baseball? You guessed it. The New York Yankees at .284. BABIP is the batting average of balls in play. An average BABIP is considered around .300 and fluctuates a percentage point from year to year.
We have eye evidence that nearly every Yankee batter has a shift employed against him. And, gosh, that makes so much sense. Why? Because the Yankees easily have the highest pull percentage in baseball at 44.8%. At the same time, the team has the lowest opposite field percentage in baseball. Of course the teams are going to shift! Of course, the Yankees are going to keep doing what they are doing and the result is an offense that (outside of homers) drives me crazy.
The Yankees of 2015 also rank tied for seventh for the highest percentage of soft contact. The Yankees have only two batters in the top fifty players (with 300+ at bats) in hard contact percentage. Alex Rodriguez comes in at 37th and Mark Teixeira is 41st. The Yankees' oldest offensive player leads them.
The Yankees have three players in the top fifty with the lowest percentage of hard contact. Jacoby Ellsbury is 16th lowest and leads the team in that dubious statistic. He was supposed to be good, right? See Brad's post yesterday for more on that wayward notion.
Three of the Yankees' homers in the last two games have not been pulled. Heathcott's dramatic homer was to the opposite field. A-Rod's from last night was opposite field and Greg Bird's blast was to center. It's a beautiful thing. Take what the pitcher gives you. Hit it the other way. Make it harder to defense you. Why is this such a difficult concept?
I can see how it would be hard to have much leverage talking to a Mark Teixeira about his 55+% of pulled baseballs and Brian McCann about his 51.5%. But seriously? It's okay with you that Chris Young pulls the ball 60.5% when he makes contact!? A guy that close to the edge of having a job cannot be convinced to try something different?
Yes, this team can bop the homers. They do it more often than all except two teams. That's great. You cannot beat a homer for effectiveness. But what about the rest of the at bats? Wouldn't it be nice to have Ellsbury on base in front of A-Rod's homer? Wouldn't it be great if your two top guys in the lineup could get on base once in a while?
I can't help it, folks, and I apologize. This offense drives me batty. Except for the occasional homers, the team cannot string together hits, it has no desire to fight what the defenses are doing and they just keep thinking they can hit that slow stuff thrown on the outside corner by rolling over on it. It is infuriating. But, gosh, a playoff spot is still well within reach. So I should just shut up.