Making sense of the Yankees offense

Should you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to need a glass of milk. Should you give Hal Steinbrenner a microphone, he’s going to say one thing that makes me confused. It’s their nature.

“Our offense — simply inconsistent at taking part in as much as their potential, to me”, Hal stated in his State of the Franchise commentary on Tuesday’s The Michael Kay Present. He goes on to increase this to the final ups and downs of the Yankees, which I’d counter with the purpose that 60 video games is much less helpful than 162 at evaluating a crew’s consistentcy, however the comment in regards to the offense specifically caught my consideration.

For the reason that starting of the Child Bomber period — properly, in fact, earlier than that however we’ll use the arrivals of Choose and Co. as our marker — the chief criticism of the offense has been that it wasn’t contact-oriented sufficient, too reliant on house runs and too accepting of strikeouts. This growth or bust method led to inconsistency and publicity by high pitching, or so the narrative goes.

The crew was really extra disciplined than any 12 months of this core. They didn’t make any extra contact — connecting on 75.8% of swings this 12 months, the very same charge in 2019, and 75.7% in 2018. They did, nonetheless, simply swing much less on the whole, particularly at pitches out of the zone — their O-Swing charge of 26.8% was by far the bottom of the Child Bomber period.

It’s arduous to have a look at that and never see a transparent plan of assault — the Yankees didn’t chase balls, and though they didn’t swing at strikes as usually as they did final 12 months, they did go after strikes greater than in 2017 or 2018. Being aggressive on strikes is as necessary as being disciplined on balls.

So if it’s not plate self-discipline and putting out an excessive amount of, what prompted this offensive inconsistency?

Oh. The Yankees made contact, however they weren’t making the correct of contact — arduous hit balls within the air are nice for offense, arduous hit balls on the bottom much less so. To drive that house additional, let’s simply have a look at the baseline, anticipated Statcast outcomes for the Yankees this 12 months vs. others.

As a crew, the Yankees had a median exit velocity of 89.2 mph, and launch angle of 11.8 levels. Batted balls with that mixture carry a wOBA of .720, and a couple of 5% likelihood of being an additional base hit. Nevertheless, final 12 months the Yankees had a median exit velo of 90 mph, and crucially, a launch angle of 13.5 levels, which carry a wOBA of .915 and a 12% likelihood of being further base hits. Small modifications within the angle of a ball’s flightpath, over just a few hundred toes, quickly change the anticipated final result of these batted balls.

So actually, the explanation we’re not as thrilled with the Yankees’ bats in 2020 is basically, they couldn’t get the ball off the bottom. Even the Yankees’ finest participant, and the one most frequently held up for example of a contact hitter, follows this completely:

DJ LeMahieu had a extremely good first half of the season — no one would complain a couple of .428 wOBA. However you possibly can see how his groundball charge decreased because the 12 months went on, and what that did to his offensive manufacturing — he had a extremely sturdy July and August, however completely hammered the ball in September, ending the season on a tear largely pushed by getting the ball off the bottom.

The Yankees had been extra disciplined than we’ve seen them be with this core. The driving force of offensive inconsistency wasn’t putting out an excessive amount of, it was hitting the ball on the bottom. Elevate and have a good time, people.

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