I said the Yankees would right the ship a few months ago. It was 15 games into the season at that point, i.e. nowhere near a big enough sample to make a judgment on a team. I saw positive regression coming. I saw valuable players coming off the IL. And I didn’t think Aaron Boone was in any sort of trouble.
It seems I’m gonna be eating crow at the end of this season, so I’ll just get ahead of it by saying I no longer think the 42-41 Yankees will be able to right the ship.
Yankees Pitching Issues
Gerrit Cole hasn’t been as effective since MLB started cracking down on foreign substance-usage. It’s fair to wonder if he’ll be able to make enough adjustments in the middle of the season in order to recapture his old form. That’s troubling for Yankees, since every starting pitcher besides Cole has been average to below-average.
Then you have Aroldis Chapman, who has been imploding over the past month or so. He’s far and away their best reliever, but if he can’t figure out his sudden and severe control issues, the Yankees will have lost the anchor of their bullpen.
Corey Kluber, Pedro Severino, and Zack Britton are three arms who can provide an immediate boost when they return from the IL. Even so, none of them can carry a pitching staff at this point in their careers, due to a mix of injuries, age, or both. The Yankees pitching staff needs the guys they have right now to do better. It just doesn’t seem like that is going to happen fast enough, not with how much ground they have to make up (5.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card spot, and slipping fast).
Healthy Yankees Hitters Not Enough
Aaron Judge has played 78 of 83 games this season. Giancarlo Stanton has played 63. Gary Sanchez is at 64. Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela are at 72. D.J. LeMahieu is at 70. There have been some injuries in their lineup, make no mistake. But for the most part, the Yankees’ run producers have been pretty healthy this season.
Nevertheless, they have a mediocre offense.
They are 14th in baseball in OPS, at .715. Stanton, Sanchez, Urshela, and Judge have held up their end of the bargain, but even they have not produced quite as much as they usually do. There is plenty of room for improvement from LeMahieu and Torres, especially for the latter. It’s fair to wonder if this will just be a snake-bitten season for them.
The spectrum of the Yankee offense ranges from good-but-not-good-enough to season-long slump. Put those two together and you get an average offense, as indicated by their 42-41 record.
Running Out of Time
Like I alluded to earlier, Aaron Boone’s squad is running out of real estate. It seems sacrilegious to think the New York Yankees might be sellers at the deadline, but the reality is this is a very expensive .500 team that is in fourth place in their division. That sure sounds like a seller to me.
I like Aaron Boone, but I imagine he’ll be out of the job after this season if things don’t turn around. He’s always been good at rallying the troops in one way or another, but his antics don’t seem to be having the same effect anymore. The Yankees might benefit from a new voice in the clubhouse. I hope they turn it around and Boone gets to keep his job, but color me a skeptic after what I’ve seen recently.
Oh, how the turntables.