During the 2022 season, the Yankees had many incredible offensive performances. Most of those may have come from Aaron Judge, but there were other hitters that had great performances of their own. From the second week of May all the way through the end of the season, I covered many of these games by zooming in on particular at-bats where hitters put on an impressive display of swings, takes, and pitch to pitch adjustments. However, since I limited myself to one at-bat in each week, many were missed!
With just under two months till and catchers reporting, it’s a good time to dive back into the ins and outs of mid at-bat hitting and reflect on some of the great at-bats from the Yankees’ 2022 season. On a weekly basis, I’m going to cover what I thought was an extremely impressive and/or crucial at-bat from various players. Since Judge was basically a traveling circus for much of the season, I’ll do my best to cover other Yankees hitters, but don’t be surprised if he makes his way back into this series.
To start, I want to remember Anthony Rizzo’s opening month when he was the Yankees’ home run king with nine bombs and a 196 wRC+. Rizzo’s ability to have a quality at-bat propelled this team in many games, especially in April. At the end of the month, he made Jordan Lyles look like he was throwing beach balls when Rizzo took him deep twice in one game, including one where he used his patience to his best ability, waiting to strike on the right pitch when up in the count. Lyles didn’t attack the zone, and Rizzo made him pay. Before saying anything else, let’s jump right into the first pitch.
This was an easy take for Rizzo. Lyles backed up a curveball and let if fly to his arm side, far away from where Rizzo is zoned in on. Heading into the second pitch, Rizzo will sit on a fat fastball that plays into the same zone as his ideal swing plane, and that is inside. Lyles had other things in mind though.
This is what I was referencing when talking about Rizzo’s patience. In a 1-0 count, some hitters can get over aggressive and attack a changeup like this moving across the zone. Rizzo isn’t one of those hitters. He shook this pitch easily, showing he had a stable control of the zone. Heading into pitch three, expect the same approach from Rizzo.
I always get a laugh out of the way Rizzo leans into some pitches. This changeup was way out of the zone and he still had the initial thought it could be a good pitch to take off his back. Silly Rizzo. This bad changeup gave him a 3-0 count and plenty of time to pick his zone and pitch.
This really wasn’t a great 3-0 swing from Rizzo. He was too pushy with his hands when trying to pull the ball. He made contact out in front of the plate as he intended to, but his barrel went far over the top of the ball and he drilled it into the ground. To adjust, he would have to lengthen out his depth, and take a better swing on a 3-1 meatball.
Ah. A bit of an overcorrection on this one. He took the complete opposite swing, but not in a good way. This time around, he came far under the ball and barely made contact as he fouled it back. He needed a happy medium between these swings if he was to do what he wanted and deposit the ball over the fence. Instead he has a 3-2 count now. Lyles stumbled his way back but was only a strike away from getting the out.
You can only make so many mistakes when facing an above-average major league hitter. Even though Rizzo took two below-average swings, he was able to adjust when getting a pitch in a zone that he could barrel up. It may have only been a wall scratcher, but a dinger is a dinger. Rizzo flexed his patient eyes and took advantage of a mistake making pitcher. This is a professional hitter doing professional things. Great job by Riz. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this in 2023.