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The Yankees’ fielding problems are not as bad as they seem

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The Yankees have not fielded the ball very well, but it’s better than you might think.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

On last night’s broadcast of the game, the YES booth pointed out that the Yankees now lead the American League in errors with 22. They committed four errors in the game, and made another dumb play that should have been a team error. Just when we thought this team had enough to worry about with pitching problems and an inconsistent lineup, now there’s a problem with the glove work. It’s certainly not a good look, but if we actually examine that number, it’s easy to see how overblown the whole thing is.

Yankees Need More PFP

Right away, five of those errors can be chalked up to a lack of pitcher’s fielding practice. Luis Severino and Dellin Betances have two, and Sonny Gray and Tommy Kahnle each have one. Most pitchers are not very good at the fundamentals of baseball, which is why they make terrible hitters and try to avoid making any kind of defensive play whenever possible. The Yankees are no different, but that doesn’t mean it should be tolerated moving forward.

This is something that should even out over time, but it still has to be dealt with. Severino already has as many errors as he had all of last season. A lot of things went wrong to start the season, especially on the mound, so hopefully it was just nerves trying to overcompensate. The Yankees should have a chance to iron things out, though.

Still a Work in Progress

Another five errors can be blamed on guys who are still trying to figure out their defensive abilities. As of right now, Brandon Drury leads the team with three errors. He has only played eight games this year, and still he has that many. For all his reported potential with the bat, Drury has never been a good fielder. On top of that, he’s playing a position he has only played a handful of times before this year. The Yankees had to know going into the season that this was to be expected.

Miguel Andujar is another player who needs to get more experience in the field. So far he has contributed two errors of his own. Andujar is just 23 and we knew that he was going to need some work. Gleyber Torres committed a particularly ugly error last night that was nearly blamed on Gary Sanchez. This is easy to forgive, though, because Torres is only 21 years old and just three games into his big league career. He’s already shown to be a gifted fielder, but Torres still has some nerves to deal with, and the prospect of getting an important out in an exciting play can get the better of you.

Who is Really to Blame?

Ronald Torreyes, of all people, already has two errors. Given his role on this team, he’s one guy who should be rock solid on defense. It’s not like he’s playing any more or less than he did this time last season. So far he’s hitting the ball well, but that will pass in time. His glove is the reason that he remains on this team, and he will have to improve if he wants to stick around. The other culprits are Tyler Austin (no surprise), Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, and Tyler Wade.

Right now the Yankees have a -3.3 defensive rating over at FanGraphs, but that has to change before long. They haven’t finished with a negative number since 2012, and while this squad hasn’t been in the same vicinity as some of the younger, more athletic teams in baseball, they are better than this.