The Yankees have been basically a middle-of-the-road lineup this season. They’re somewhere around eighth in the American League — sometimes a couple spots higher, sometimes a couple spots lower — in a lot of key offensive categories like batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs, runs and OPS. That’s a pretty underwhelming performance for a team that’s used to being one of the better offensive teams in the league (even a night like last night when the Yankees scored seven runs, they had just one extra-base hit).
Here are the players with the most starts at each spot in the lineup. Can’t say the disappointment rests solely on one guy.
1. Brett Gardner
Wasn’t supposed to be the leadoff hitter, but Gardner has been in this spot more often than Jacoby Ellsbury. And Gardner’s done a nice job. He’s basically hitting like he did last year, except he seems a little more willing to steal a base. The very top of the order hasn’t been the Yankees’ problem.
2. Derek Jeter
One game Jeter hit leadoff. Otherwise, he’s been in the No. 2 spot all year when he’s played. His .269/.337/.320 slash line is pretty self explanatory. Jeter’s been basically a singles hitter who’s gone through a few spurts of production but has mostly hit more like a No. 8 hitter than a No. 2 hitter.
3. Jacoby Ellsbury/Carlos Beltran
After last night, Ellsbury and Beltran have the exact same number of starts in the No. 3 spot (24 games apiece). This is where the heart-of-the-order problems begin. Beltran was terrific for a few weeks, then he slumped and got hurt. Ellsbury was also terrific for the first few weeks, but his production has slipped in a big way as the Yankees were asking him to take on this key spot in the order. He’s a No. 3 hitter who’s slugging well below .400. “I didn’t envision him hitting 20 a year,” Girardi said. “I didn’t. I don’t think that’s the type of hitter that he is.”
4. Mark Teixeira
This should be an absolute high point of the Yankees batting order this season with Teixeira hitting for good power with a good on-base percentage (not his old MVP-caliber production, but still a good middle-order bat). Problem is, Teixeira been on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and has missed the past three games with a sore wrist. He’s missed roughly a third of the season so far.
5. Brian McCann
With Beltran and Teixeira each spending time on the disabled list, the Yankees have to find power somewhere, and McCann would seem to be a logical place to find it. But although he’s hit seven homers this season, McCann’s overall production has been a significant disappointment. His OPS is more than 150 points lower than his career OPS. Not the decline you expect from a 30 year old.
6. Alfonso Soriano
Actually, Soriano and Yangervis Solarte have the same number of starts in the No. 6 spot. This spot is supposed to be Soriano’s though, and his .240/.263/.417 shows decent power without much else. Soriano was one of five Yankees to homer on May 17. Since then, the team has four home runs in 11 games.
7. Yangervis Solarte
For a while there, Solarte was playing so well the Yankees couldn’t keep him out of the lineup. The opposite was true on Wednesday when Girardi decided to sit him after a two-week slump. Solarte is hitting just .152/.204/.217 in his past 50 plate appearances. Overall numbers are still good, but he’s certainly come back to earth in a big way.
8. Brian Roberts
Bottom of the order changes a lot, but Roberts has 21 starts in the No. 8 spot and Kelly Johnson has the second-most with just nine. Roberts has steady healthy enough to be an everyday player, but his offensive production has come and gone. When the DH returns this weekend, Ichiro Suzuki could fit in this spot, and his production has been pretty good.
9. The pitcher
Kind of amazing, but the Yankees have actually had their starting pitcher in the No. 9 spot more often than any single player. The Yankees have played 10 interleague games on the road — all with the pitcher batting ninth — while no single player has hit ninth more than eight times. That’s going to change going forward. Last night was the Yankees final road interleague game. “I’ve got to believe we’re one of the only American League teams that are at this point, to have the National League schedule done where you’re at a National League ball park,” Girardi said. “So yes I am (happy), actually.”
Associated Press photos