Inconsistent Start for 2018 New York Yankees

Didi Gregorius leads the American League in WAR (wins above replacement), on-base percentage, slugging percentage, extra base hits and total bases. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Finally. After a crazy offseason that felt like an eternity, the New York Yankees are back in action.

With just a few weeks of games under their belt in this new season, we have already learned a tremendous amount about the 2018 New York Yankees, both positive and negative:

Boone’s Easter Blunder

When the Yankees decided to move on from manager Joe Girardi after 10 seasons, I was thrilled to say the least. I had enough of the rigid managing “by the books” method and was ready for the Yankees to acquire a manager who in this shift oriented era of baseball; can take what the defense gives him.

Unfortunately, it only took until the fourth game of the year to see that yet again from first-year manager Aaron Boone.

On April 1, the Yankees were in Toronto and held a 4-3 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs and runners on second and third, Josh Donaldson stepped to the plate against Yankees reliever David Robertson. Instead of attacking the struggling Donaldson with one of his best relief pitchers, Boone opted to intentionally walk Donaldson who was 3-for-8 with two home runs and five RBI’s against David Robertson in his career. Boone, instead, chose to face the red hot Justin Smoak who was previously 0-for-5 with four strikeouts against Robertson. The move came back to bite Boone as Smoak would go on to hit a grand slam, propelling the Blue Jays to a 7-4 victory. 

Sure, statistics have some validity, but managers need to start using the eye test more and rely on statistics less. The MLB season is long and players go through hot and cold streaks. Because of this, managers need to adjust to how the players are playing on the field and not relying on what a stat book says.

Sir Didi Earning his Crown

Although early in his career, Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has already proven to be a more than worthy heir to legendary Yankee shortstop, Derek Jeter. Last year, Gregorius broke the home run record for a Yankee shortstop with 25, surpassing Jeter who tallied 24 in 1999.

Statistics show that Gregorius’ has only gotten better, increasing his batting average, home run and RBI totals significantly in his three years in pinstripes. Who knows what the ceiling is for this up-and-coming star.

This year, he is off to a ridiculous start. As of April 11, Gregorius leads the American League in WAR (wins above replacement), on-base percentage, slugging percentage, extra base hits and total bases.

Stanton’s Struggles

One of, if not the biggest free agent signings of the 2018 offseason was the Yankees acquisition of slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Last year in Miami, Stanton had one of he most productive seasons in MLB history. He led baseball in home runs with 59 and RBI’s with 132 en route to his first Most Valuable Player award.

After a historic opening day where he went 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI’s, Stanton has gone 4-for-38 since, with one home run and three RBI’s while leading all of baseball with twenty strikeouts. Furthermore, Stanton is the first player since 1920 to have two games with no hits and five strikeouts in the same season. It’s sill April.

With injuries to outfielder Aaron Hicks, third baseman Brandon Drury, second baseman Tyler Wade and first baseman Greg Bird, the Yankees cannot afford to have their stars go into long slumps.

With already so many surprises in this young season, we are sure to be in for an unpredictable, wild ride throughout the 162 game schedule. Let’s go Yankees!