Written By: Jose Rohdin
The New York Yankees 2021 campaign has a lot of hype surrounding it, it is one of the best rosters the Yankees have assembled since 2009, the last time they made it to the World Series. This is why so much hope rides on this team to make it out of the American League finally, and to finally capture that elusive 28th World Series.
Despite the hype, this Yankees team has been slow out of the gates, going 5-5 in its first three series, and a lot of that has been because of the Yankees’ offense not yet hitting its stride.
With a lineup that consists of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Garry Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres, one would expect the Yankees to be at least near the top of the league in most offensive statistics to start the season. However, the Yankees rank 11th in hits and 9th in OBP (On Base Percentage), and have struggled to drive in runs, only scoring 38 times, which ranks 18th in the MLB, and just 9 Home Runs, which is tied for 21st.
One of the team’s most significant issues has been batting with runners in scoring position, scoring 26 of their runs with runners in scoring position, again for 18th lowest in the league. The more concerning thing is that all of the team’s batting stats get worse with runners in scoring position. The Yankees go from a .240 batting average to a .227 batting average and an OPS (OBS+SLG) of .698 to .678.
Even though this has been an issue early in the season, it seems like the Yankees bats are just shaking off the spring training rust. The Yankees have been hitting the ball hard, especially Judge, who has been unluckily hitting hard rollers into perfect double plays. Judge still has a .310 batting average with an OPS of .892. Next, Sanchez, who had the most prominent question marks after two horrible back-to-back seasons, seems to be back to his usual self, possibly better. His numbers are headed back to his breakout rookie season, posting a .296 batting average with a .962 OPS. Both Judge and Sanchez have been driving forces for the Yankees’ offense.
The players who have been struggling mightily are Stanton with a batting average of just .188 and Aaron Hicks with a batting average of .129. However, both are in the top three of runs batted in by the Yankees (Stanton leading with 7 and Hicks tied with Judge with 5). Torres has also struggled, tying with Stanton for most strikeouts on the team with 11, but he is coming off a hot spring training and will hopefully return to form shortly.
What is beneficial for Yankees fans is that the team has also cut down on strikeouts, only striking out 82 times this season for the 11th fewest in the league. Over the last few seasons, the Yankees have been one of the leaders in strikeouts, and this is at least a trend in the right direction.
It is early in this hopeful MLB season for the Yankees, and even though it has been a sloppy beginning, the Yankees lineup has a history of being one of the best over the last few years. It is more likely that it will improve than continue on this slump for the rest of the season.