New York Yankees: Derek Jeter, 4 Other Bronx Bombers Who Need to Step It Up
Despite a dismal start by Boston early in the season, the Red Sox are merely a half game out of first place, and the separation between first and last place in the notoriously brutal AL East is just four games.
Although the Yankees are third in runs scored and first in slugging percentage, their .254 overall batting average ranks just 11th in baseball, which isn't going to cut it for such a stellar lineup.
Additionally, the Yankees' pitching staff ranks 18th in WHIP and 17th in BAA.
Derek Jeter was a .334 hitter in 2009 and has a .313 career average. However, his 2011 average currently sits at .268.
The Yankee captain has never been a power hitter. Even with his two-home run performance against the Texas Rangers on May 8, his home run total still sits at two.
His power isn't going to compensate for his wavering average or his inability to get on base. As a leadoff hitter, Jeter needs to improve his OBP, which currently sits at just .318.
He is almost certainly going to get his 3,000th hit this season, but it needs to come sooner rather than later.
In his last two combined starts, Ivan Nova has only managed to go 8.1 innings, allowing 14 hits, five earned runs and an additional four unearned runs.
Although he had a fantastic start against the Texas Rangers on May 6, going 7.1 innings and allowing just two hits, this is an anomaly for the young right-hander. Out of nine starts this season, Nova has only managed to pitch 43.2 innings, averaging under five innings a start.
A 4.29 ERA, 1.55 WHIP and .281 BAA just isn't going to be enough to be a mainstay in the Yankee lineup, particularly with the resurgent Bartolo Colon.
Even Rafael Soriano has dropped his ERA from 7.84 to 5.40 by not allowing a run in his last five appearances. Hopefully Nova can follow his lead.
A-Rod's .284 batting average is leading the Yankees. Robinson Cano should clearly be leading this category.
Cano has displayed good power the last several seasons and currently has nine home runs and 28 RBIs. However, the issue is his unusually low .273 batting average, despite spending the last two seasons at .320 and .319.
He has also only been walked eight times this season, and his current OBP of .317 is lower than his batting average from last season.
Cano is an excellent defensive second baseman with a great arm, but he has shown too much promise at the plate for numbers this low.
Jorge Posada is now 39. After 17 seasons in pinstripes, it appears he is really showing signs of slowing down.
With the addition of Russell Martin at catcher, putting Posada at DH was supposed to be the perfect move. He was expected to maintain his veteran power and clutch bat and improve the Yankees defensively.
However, the former didn't happen.
Posada is batting just .178 with six home runs and has spent the season hovering around the bottom of the lineup. He is not a threat to steal, won’t be ripping triples off of the center field wall and won’t be throwing out people trying to steal at second.
Posada needs to improve his bat to remain relevant and continue to be a threat in the Yankee order.
Nick Swisher quickly won over the hearts of Yankee fans due to his charisma, but I don’t think his .214 batting average or two home runs will be enough to keep them.
The only thing allowing him to remain somewhat productive is his impressive eye at the plate, which has led to 25 walks this season and kept his OBP at a reasonable .330. However, his slugging percentage is down about .200 points from the last two seasons.
Swisher doesn’t have the job security Posada, Jeter or Cano has. He will be a free agent in 2012, and without a significant improvement to his numbers at the plate, he’ll be finding a new home next season.
The pitching struggles for the Yankees, as well as the absence of Phil Hughes, require increased offensive production from the right fielder. Coming off of his first All-Star season, Swisher has been an unfortunate disappointment.