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The Yankees are the best against the fastball


Everyone thought that the Yankee offense was going to be a major weakness of the 2013 team, and it still could be, but as of right now, they have the fifth most runs (49) and the third highest wRC+ (124) in the league. That's because the Yankees are currently the best in the league at hitting fastballs. Right now they have 2.39 fastball runs above average per 100 pitches, which is 0.16 runs ahead of the next best team.

Leading the charge is Brennan Boesch, with an astounding 18.82 runs in only 12 plate appearances. He only has 3 hits on the season, but that's enough to have the third best value against fastballs in the league. Next on the Yankees is Kevin Youkilis, with 8.92 runs, good enough to be the 16th most valuable against fastballs. Travis Hafner has the 29th most value in the league with 7.18 runs and Vernon Wells is up there as the 38th most value with 6.30 runs.

As a result they have the seventh highest fly ball rate (37.5%), the third highest HR/FB rate (17.9%) in MLB and are #26 in the league in ground ball rate (39.3%). The Yankees also have the sixth highest contact rate when pitches are in the strike zone (88.3%). This all means that the Yankee batters are waiting for their pitch to hit and aren't missing them. When the pitcher throws a fastball into the zone, chances are the Yankees aren't missing them and the ball is going in the air.

Most of the time, when a single player is hitting fastballs really well, opposing pitchers will throw him off speed stuff to keep him off balance. If the entire Yankee team is hitting fastballs well (they aren't) a healthy diet of change ups might destabilize the lineup. However, the team is also ninth in change up runs above average per 100 pitches (0.99), so they can hit everything. The problem is that the players who lead the team against fastballs don't exactly lead the team against change ups. Wells and Hafner both have negative value against them, so as pitchers adjust to hot hitters, expect some of these guys to cool off, unless they can make adjustments of their own.

The Yankees weren't expected to do a lot of hitting, but right now it seems like they might be able to get the job done. They're slugging against the fastball, but if they can't hit consistently against off speed stuff too it will be all for naught. The fastball hitters just need to hold on until players like Robinson Cano, Ichiro Suzuki, and Brett Gardner can catch up to the fast stuff. The offense has scored 32 of their 49 runs in the last three games, so we might have already made it there.

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