I've probably asked this question in one of my previous articles last year, but has anyone here ever watched college baseball? If you haven't, I don't recommend it. It can be painful. To give a perfect example, a co-worker of mine last night had a game between Clown College (Princeton to Sideshow Bob) and St. John's University. The final score was 17-2 in favor of St. John's. I don't know all the details, but I remember him telling me that seven batters were hit and there were three errors. Errors are the most painful part of watching college baseball, it makes the game go longer and can sometimes lead to scores like 17-2. It sucks to watch in college baseball just like it sucks to watch in regular baseball. Thankfully, we have not had to watch that many in Yankee Baseball.
I have been observing Yankee Baseball these past few weeks and I've noticed that our defense has been performing pretty well thus far. Just to check, I did the unthinkable and actually looked up fielding statistics to back up my observations. Lo and behold, I was right. Hurray for Greg. The Yankees rank 10th among all major league baseball teams with a .987 fielding percentage, with only six errors on the year. Not too shabby. Deciding to press on further, I wanted to see who committed those errors so we could flog them. David Phelps and Francisco Cervelli both have one a piece, and Jayson Nix and Kevin Youkilis both have two a piece. Let the flogging commence.
Actually, no flogging for them. Errors are going to happen and, considering our record thus far, none of them have really been that costly. A .987 fielding percentage is very encouraging to see early on. It was pretty much a given that the defense was going to have to step up and perform during the supposed dark offense of April looming over our heads. The defense is doing its job and the offense has performed above our expectations. That's not to say the stats tell the whole story. Defensive Hogwarts Alumni Chris Stewart does not have an error and I would still rather shield my home plate with the Cervelli Shield. He simply blocks the plate much better than Stewart has.
Another thing I've noticed is how much more relaxed Eduardo Nunez seems at shortstop. Perhaps sending him down to work on his mechanics at one, and only one position, has helped him out. Derek Jeter's going to be out longer than expected. I'm not saying that Jeter back at shortstop is going to be that much of a defensive improvement, but the Captain is most likely going to be spending more time as a DH this year, so Nunez needs to get it together just like Q-Tip and the Beastie Boys instructed. So far he has. Keep up the good work, Nunez.
While Jeter returning might not be an improvement, getting Mark Teixeira back at first over Lyle Overbay will almost instantly improve the infield. Curtis Granderson's return will sadly move the Gritty and Gutty Brett Gardner back to left field. Still though, a Granderson, Gardner, Ichiro, not Raul Ibanez outfield is definitely nothing to scoff at. Overall, with the offense exceeding expectations it's very nice to get some good defense to back it up so early on.
We're going to need it while Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes figure themselves out.
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