The Yankees find themselves idle on Labor Day for the first time since 2005 and on only the second scheduled date in franchise history (1994 was victim to the strike, and rain postponed games in 1922, 1933, 1935). Considering how poorly this year’s offense has performed, the day off seems rather appropriate. Because of the team’s slumbering bats, the Yankees enter the home stretch with their worst record on September 1 since 1995. That year, the Bronx Bombers rallied to win the Wild Card. Unless the Yankees’ offense awakens suddenly, a similar turnaround doesn’t seem likely.
The Yankees’ season-long offensive malaise has been a surprise to many. “If only the players would hit to the back of their baseball cards” has become a common refrain from fans and pundits alike. A careful look at the numbers, however, tells a different story. With the exception of Brian McCann, every other Yankee hitter has at least performed close to a reasonable expectation. How did the mighty Bronx Bombers come to such a sorry state? Before answering that larger question, it makes sense to examine each component of the offense on an individual basis.
Yankees 2014 Offensive Performance vs. Career and Recent Rates
Note: Includes hitters with at least 100 plate appearances. Snapshots below are limited to hitters with at least 200 plate appearances.
Above is a summary and below are a series snapshots for each Yankees’ position player with at least 200 plate appearances this season. For each, 2014 OPS/OPS+ is accompanied by the player’s age as well as career and three-year production levels. This juxtaposition strikes at the heart of the “back of the baseball card” argument, and shifts the blame for the team’s poor offense higher up in the food chain. Continue Reading »