If one thing has been consistent all year long for the Yankees, it's been the fact that Eduardo Nunez is a horrible defensive player. That wasn't something we were told by the scouts who called Nunez a top prospect in the MLB. It has certainly come to light in 2011, as Nunez made another big error, one that cost the Yankees the game yesterday.
The error came during the Yankees' 5-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, on a rainy, depressing day in the Bronx. The conditions would've made anyone not play the field well, but with Nunez, it's become a habit. One of his two errors, coming in the 11th, led to the go-ahead run getting on base and eventually scoring on a Mark Reynolds RBI single. Reynolds' single was the game-winner and Nunez was once again on the hook for making a huge error.
This is extremely troubling for the Bombers. Nunez, who was thought to be Derek Jeter's heir apparent, leads the Yankees in errors with 18. That is good for a tie for sixth in the league, and nine behind the league leader. Nunez has played in 40 fewer games than Mark Reynolds, who leads the league in errors.
Nunez's failures defensively are extremely alarming for the Yankees in 2011. Yes, he is only a rookie and will have plenty of time to correct his wrongs, but problem is that he isn't playing for the Royals. With the Yankees, you don't have much time to correct these mistakes when you're battling for a playoff spot and ultimately, a World Series. There's no room for costing your team games in a pennant race.
It seems the Yankees may have to hide their top utility infielder during the playoffs in order to avoid one of his inevitable fielding mistakes. Nunez's troubles in the field will certainly lessen his playing time come the division series and beyond.
Nunez's bat has been impressive for a rookie and shows a lot of promise moving forward. But that may not be worth him being a liability in the field. The Bombers will have to figure out a way to keep Nunez's bat in the lineup and his glove off the infield. It may be time to try out a new utility infielder in time for the playoffs; Nunez cannot be relied upon defensively.
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