With Aaron Judge sidelined, the Yankees are looking for offense in every corner of their roster. Let’s think about their search for offense through the lens of our This Week in Statcast series, taking a look at a few batted balls from the past week to see what they might unearth and how the Yankees could proceed.
Jake Bauers: four 107.5+ mph batted balls in 10 days
In his career, the outfielder has hit 20 balls in play with an exit velocity of 107.5 mph or more. Before last week, however, that number was just 16. This is the strongest indication yet that Bauers might be different — as Malachi detailed, he’s finding the sweet spot more often with a flatter swing. Since that article’s publication, Bauers has gone back to his career-average groundball rate, but his hard-hit rate has remained elevated: 50 percent of his balls in play have left the bat at 95 mph or more, compared to 33.5 percent before this season. Oh, and those four balls he’s absolutely pummeled over the past 10 days? They led to a pair of doubles and a pair of homers. On the season, his 115 wRC+ indicates he’s been 15 percent better than the league-average hitter.
Josh Donaldson: 112 mph max exit velocity since returning
It’s no secret that Donaldson’s first season in pinstripes was a disappointment. He returned a below-average wRC+ for just the second time in his career and the first time since 2012 en route to being outperformed by the man he replaced at the hot corner in the Bronx, Gio Urshela. His bounce-back campaign was put on hold due to a hamstring strain and an ensuing setback, but since returning, he’s hit the ball hard. Case in point: his homer against the Red Sox on Friday was hit harder than any ball he crushed last season.
It was also the sixth-longest homer of his career (his longest since 2017) and fourth long-ball in his first six games off the IL, something the former All-Star has only done in a span of that length one other time since he last garnered MVP votes in 2019. He’s gone 0-for-8 since the homer against Boston, but five of his six balls in play during that stretch have gone off the bat at at least 95 mph.
Giancarlo Stanton: 112.3 mph max exit velocity since returning
If Donaldson’s 112 mph scorcher has him primed for a rebound, Stanton’s 112.3 mph double against the Dodgers on June 4th paints an even rosier picture for the former Marlin, right? Well, relative to Stanton’s standards, a 112.3 max EV is paltry. In fact, back on Opening Day, Stanton bested that with a 113.2 mph grounder. Whereas Donaldson makes enough contact that he can get by with a max EV around 112 mph, Stanton only succeeds when he hits the ball really, really hard. Of course, as I write this, Stanton is having a great day against the Mets, but his homer Tuesday night was still only 110.2 mph off the bat; of the 228 homers he’s hit during the Statcast era, that one falls in at a merely average 116th-hardest.
If Stanton has a ways to go before he can be the solution to the Yankees’ offensive woes, Bauers and Donaldson could represent plausible alternatives. No one is Aaron Judge, of course, but the Yankees simply have to survive until their captain returns. This trio of hard-hitters will play a big role in determining whether or not that comes to pass.