What in the world is wrong with Eduardo Nunez?

Shortstop envy? - Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Fix yourself, dude

Eduardo Nunez is just not good. Among shortstops, with at least 60 plate appearances, he is currently tied for last place in WAR (-0.4) with the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera and Brendan Ryan. The latter is the only shortstop to have a worse wRC+ (6) than Nunez (37). Basically, the Yankees have needed him to step up for the injured Derek Jeter and he has done absolutely nothing with this opportunity.

Nunez was originally on this team for his supposed ability to hit lefties, despite the fact that he's not especially good at hitting them, but just not noticeably bad against them. For his career he has a 95 wRC+ against lefties, which is just below average, so that might make him look like a lefty masher compared to his career 75 wRC+ against right handers.

Eduardo Nunez has basically been an average hitter sometimes and a below average hitter most of the time, but this season he's been terrible. It's still early, but so far he has a -5 wRC+ against left handers and a 65 wRC+ against right handers; he's basically taken the only thing he was not bad at and become awful at it and managed to be worse at the thing he was already bad at.

There has to be a reason why he's been so bad. He could just be this bad, but he could also just not be very good at the moment.

Right now his batted ball rates are out of whack. He has a 14.6% line drive rate, which is less than his 17.8% career rate, so he's not squaring the bat on the ball. He has a 41.5% ground ball rate, which is lower than his 46.8% career rate, so he's not hitting the ball down as much as he usually does and not getting the ball through the infield. What he is doing is hitting the ball in the air. His 43.9% fly ball rate, compared to his 35.4% career rate, says that he's getting under the ball and lofting it into the outfield, which is not something he normally does. Nunez is all about the ground balls and the stinging line drives.

The problem is that he's just not making contact with the ball. He's been swinging at pitches outside of the zone 30.3% of the time, which is slightly lower than his 33.3% career rate, and he's swinging at balls in the strike zone 65.6% of the time, compared to his 62.5% career rate. Basically, he's being more selective by swinging at strikes and not swinging at not strikes. That's a good thing.

Unfortunately, he's not hitting anything, in or out of the zone as his contact rates are down from his career numbers. He's coming into contact with just 72.2% of pitches out of the zone, as compared to an 80.3 career rate, so he's usually better at reaching out at something and getting the bat on it. He's making contact with only 88.5% of pitches in the zone, as compared to 92.3% for his career, so he's either getting blown away by or misreading the strikes that he swings at.

The only thing he seems to be hitting well is the fastball, based on his 0.22 fastball runs above average per 100 pitches, so he's not being blown away. He is getting fooled by off speed stuff though, considering he has a -5.52 value against sliders, a -1.29 against curveballs and a -4.82 against change ups.

Nunez might not be getting blown away, but he's certainly getting fooled by secondary pitches and is either hitting them in the air or missing them completely. It's still just April, so he can definitely get better, but it's unclear why he's missing off speed pitches. Maybe he's becoming a fastball hitter, maybe this is just a product of a small sample size at the beginning of the year and he simply needs to get his timing back. Whatever the issue is he needs to figure it out if Jeter is going to be out for half the year.

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