It took a $278 million last-place finish for Hal Steinbrenner to finally conclude that there is something rotten in the Yankee hemisphere. Not so rotten to change Brian Cashman’s title as the Yankees’ eternal general manager, but rotten enough that Hal hired a consulting firm to look into all the elements of Cashman’s analytics department.
In particular, Hal wants to know what the value of exit velocity is for batters if they can’t hit the ball consistently. (See: Giancarlo Stanton), and what is the value of pitchers’ speed if they cannot control the strike zone? That’s how the Yankees and so many other clubs spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on analytics devices that measure pitchers’ speed and spin rates as well as batters’ bat speeds. And why? At the same time, they don’t teach pitchers how to pitch, or batters how to be picky, or the fundamentals of baseball.
In addition to the overemphasis on analysis, Cashman strayed from all the principles of team building that Gene Michael had taught him. In particular: left-handed hitters for Yankee Stadium, disciplined and selective hitters with high on-base percentage, above-average defense at every position, solid on fundamentals. The 2023 Yankees are none of that. Playing most of the season with just one left-handed hitter in the roster, they rank 26th in the majors in on-base percentage, second-to-last in base hits and batting average (.228), last in double, 25th for the race. running percentage and are tied for fifth for the most runners out on base (14).
It will take some time to fix this mess created by Cashman’s analytical masterminds and it will mostly take an infusion of talent from the system – not more money spent on long-term free agent deals. The Yankees’ player development department has been largely helpless in recent years, plagued by the same analytical paralysis that exists with the big club — the lack of teaching the basics of baseball amid the all-consuming obsession with cycling.
But there are glimmers of hope in the Yankee system.
In addition to announcing plans to bring in an outside firm to “deepen” Cashman’s baseball analytics and operations departments, last week Hal took matters into his own hands and ordered the two Yankees’ top prospects, changing center fielder Jasson Dominguez and left-handed receiver Austin Wells. At the same time, the Yankees waived center Harrison Bader and released third baseman Josh Donaldson with some $6 million still owed to him – both symbols of two other Cashman deals gone wrong. .
It remains to be seen how the two kids fare, but at this point, with a disastrous season declared by Cashman and a boring team on the pitch, Hal decided there was nothing to lose by giving them a months of major league experience and “Yankees fans get a glimpse of the future”. In the Gene Michael era, the Yankees had a center back by the name of Bernie Williams, and since he signed a record $5.1 million bonus four years ago, 20-year-old Dominguez has was touted as a similar talent in terms of power and speed. He had a terrible start at Double-A Somerset this year, then realized it mid-season, earning a promotion to Triple-A Scranton where he hit .419 with 10 RBI in his first nine games. .
And then, in his first major league at-bat on Friday night, Dominguez homered a two-run homer against Justin Verlander of the Astros.
As for Wells, the Yankees’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft, scouts all seem to agree that his power bat (16 home runs in 96 minor league games this year) will play in the majors, but that his work behind home plate needs further polishing. . But I’m sure in Hal’s mind, who would the fans rather see right now: a powerhouse young left-handed receiver or more Ben Rortvedt, .113 hitter, the darling of Cashman’s analytics department?
And speaking of left-handed hitters in the Yankee system, there’s 24-year-old catcher/first baseman Ben Rice, who is having a stellar season at Double-A Somerset, scoring .332 with an OPS of 1.080 on Friday. on three. levels, which scouts find intriguing. Drafted as an outfielder in the 12th round of the 2021 draft from Dartmouth, Rice missed the first month and a half of the season with an oblique draw before taking off. A scout said: “I really like it. This year, he regained power. He is a good receiver but his arm is not very strong. The guy can hit and he has good discipline at the plate. I can see him at the Yankees sometime next year as a pinch receiver, first baseman and DH.
The Yankees’ No. 1 prospect, 6-6, 235-pound corner outfielder Spencer Jones, is also left-handed, but right now there’s too much of a resemblance to what’s plaguing the Yankees right now — he’s not very athletic and strikes more than three times. more than it works. As we said, it will take some time for the Yankees to get back to Gene Michael’s face and if he finds out again, Hal Steinbrenner will soon have to agree to eat the remaining years of Stanton’s contract. They can’t continue to have Stanton, who epitomizes everything that’s wrong with this team’s composition, crowding the middle of the roster.
IT’S A MAD, MAD WORLD
Has anyone noticed this Chris Bassitt And Taijuan walker, the Mets’ No. 3-4 starters last year, are 27-12 combined this year. Additionally, Bassitt will likely reach 200 innings with the Blue Jays while Walker has pitched six or more innings 13 times for the Phillies. It is somewhat understandable that Mets GM Billy Epler didn’t want to pay Walker the four years/$72 million he received from the Phillies and it looks like he made a good sign with Jose Quintana to replace him. But in today’s baseball environment, there’s no more valuable asset than a pitcher giving innings to a manager and Bassitt’s 181 2/3 led the Mets last year, knocking out many depression. Buck Showalter a pen every five days. … Miguel Andujarwho is still just 28, has one more chance to fulfill the promise the Yankees made to him after hitting .297 for them in 2018 and finishing second behind Shohei Ohtani when voting for AL Rookie of the Year in 2018. The Pirates, who categorized him outright as a minor at the start of the year after hitting just 0.161/0.212/0.387 in the first 13 games, voted him added to the roster for September after slashing .341/.408/.541 with 16 home runs in 102 games at Indianapolis. After shoulder surgery brought him down for most of 2019, Andujar was never able to regain a regular spot with the Yankees, dropping from Triple-A to the majors before eventually being traded to the Pirates l ‘last year. …Chairman of the White Sox Board of Directors Jerry Reinsdorf is criticized by the Chicago media for promoting a farm manager Chris Getz as general manager and not leave the organization after firing its longtime baseball operations chiefs Kenny Williams And Rick Hahn. But as Reinsdorf explained, hiring someone from the outside would have meant wasting a year while that person assessed the entire organization. At 87, we understand why Reinsdorf does not want to lose a year. The deed is now done and the Chicago media should give Getz a chance. For at least a year.