2013 Yankees and baseballs in play

Flex those muscles Sori! - Tom Szczerbowski

Where do the Yankees' hitters send the ball when they make contact?

Note: all statistics are courtesy of Fangraphs and reflect the 2013 season up to 8/27. Other than that they're totally accurate, I swear.

During the Yankees weekend series I, like many of you, was wondering how many times they could possibly hit the ball solidly right at a Rays fielder. It seemed to be happening constantly. But those frequent misfortunes got me to pondering just how much the type of contact the Yankees have been making has impacted their struggles on offense this year. A lower team OBP is an obvious culprit in their general ineptitude, but what about balls in play?


BABIP

GB/FB

LD%

GB%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

IFH

IFH%

BUH

BUH%

2012 Yankees

.293

1.36

21.2 %

45.5 %

33.4 %

11.1 %

16.8 %

124

6.2 %

17

28.8 %

League Rank

18th

14th

13th

15th

17th

5th

1st

14th

21st

25th

7th


BABIP

GB/FB

LD%

GB%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

IFH

IFH%

BUH

BUH%

2013 Yankees

.287

1.31

21.4 %

44.5 %

34.1 %

11.7 %

9.9 %

107

7.0 %

21

31.8 %

League Rank

25th

15th

9th

16th

15th

2nd

21st

8th

5th

6th

7th

Interesting enough, the types of batted balls between the teams are not terribly divergent. Groundballs, flyballs and line drives make up similar percentages for both of the teams. Where you can really see the difference is the percentage of flyballs that stay in the park for the 2013 squad. Also notable is just how many of the hits for the 2013 team have come on bunts and infield hits, which is not surprising for a team that featured Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner for the entire campaign. Certainly seems like a tally in the win column for the long ball versus small ball debate.

But what of the individual Yankees in 2013? Does Eduardo Nunez hit popups in the infield as much as my distain for him would indicate?

(Minimum 100 PA)


BABIP

GB/FB

LD%

GB%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

IFH

IFH%

BUH

Alfonso Soriano

.286

1.03

19.8

40.7

39.5

0.0

26.5

1

2.9

0

Robinson Cano

.316

1.47

25.3

44.4

30.3

4.7

18.8

8

4.3

0

Travis Hafner

.244

0.84

19.0

36.9

44.1

8.9

15.2

3

4.5

0

Curtis Granderson

.338

1.07

22.7

40.0

37.3

10.7

14.3

1

3.3

0

Lyle Overbay

.297

1.27

21.9

43.8

34.3

6.9

12.7

7

5.4

0

Vernon Wells

.265

1.06

18.1

42.1

39.8

19.5

8.9

6

4.6

0

David Adams

.250

2.25

17.0

57.4

25.5

4.2

8.3

2

3.7

0

Kevin Youkilis

.292

0.97

20.3

39.2

40.5

3.3

6.7

2

6.9

0

Brett Gardner

.332

1.23

22.4

42.8

34.8

13.5

6.3

12

7.7

9

Ichiro Suzuki

.292

1.98

21.1

52.4

26.5

17.5

5.8

30

14.7

6

Austin Romine

.298

2.56

24.7

54.1

21.2

11.1

5.6

1

2.2

0

Chris Stewart

.254

1.12

19.1

42.6

38.2

12.8

5.1

3

3.4

4

Jayson Nix

.321

1.10

25.8

38.9

35.3

13.4

4.5

5

6.8

0

Eduardo Nunez

.292

1.16

20.1

42.9

37.0

16.2

1.5

8

10.1

1

I would say so, as Nunez, Ichiro, and Vernon Wells pop the ball up on the infield more than anyone on the team. This is particularly egregious for two players as fast as Nunez and Ichiro. And in a shocking upset, line-drive machine Robinson Cano is actually second in LD% to the fallen Jayson Nix. Also, Chris Stewart hits far too many fly balls for a player with the raw power of a damp napkin. Amazingly, over one quarter of all of Alfonso Soriano's fly balls hit go for home runs. He really is the quintessential "all or nothing" hitter.

So what do all of these numbers show? Other than being another example of the '13 Yankees having had to rely on an absurd number of powerless hitters for much of the year, not much. But if you have zero pop to speak of, do try to hit on the ground or on a line. Thankfully, with sluggers like Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and Curtis Granderson now in the lineup, the fly balls are traveling much further.

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