Yankees Hitting Coach Says Best Lineup in Baseball Can Do Better

jeter granderson cervelliVia Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:

Despite the Yankees scoring an MLB-leading 859 runs (the Boston Red Sox, with 818, were a distant second) and 201 HRs, third-highest in the league, KLong believes seven of the nine regulars in the Yankee lineup can have better seasons in 2011.

The only two players he excepted from the assessment were Robinson Cano, who had a breakout season batting .319 with 29 HRs and 109 RBI, and Nick Swisher (.288-29-89). “It would be hard for Cano and Swisher to duplicate what they did last year,” Long said. “If they stay even close to that, great. But I expect the rest of them to do better.”

For the record, here are the Yankees regulars 2010 statistics (not including Russell Martin):

Rk G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2 Mark Teixeira# 158 601 113 154 36 0 33 108 93 122 .256 .365 .481 .846 125
3 Robinson Cano* 160 626 103 200 41 3 29 109 57 77 .319 .381 .534 .914 142
4 Derek Jeter 157 663 111 179 30 3 10 67 63 106 .270 .340 .370 .710 90
5 Alex Rodriguez 137 522 74 141 29 2 30 125 59 98 .270 .341 .506 .847 123
6 Brett Gardner* 150 477 97 132 20 7 5 47 79 101 .277 .383 .379 .762 106
7 Curtis Granderson* 136 466 76 115 17 7 24 67 53 116 .247 .324 .468 .792 109
8 Nick Swisher# 150 566 91 163 33 3 29 89 58 139 .288 .359 .511 .870 130
10 Jorge Posada# 120 383 49 95 23 1 18 57 59 99 .248 .357 .454 .811 116
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/9/2011.

As a group, these guys lead baseball in runs scored. But, they were down from 2009 and there were a few, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, who had career worst seasons.

But if the bulk of these players stay healthy in 2011 it is reasonable to expect at least Jeter, A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson to all have better seasons in 2011. That’s four players who expecting a bigger year from is not nearly out of the question.

The other three players would be Martin, Jorge Posada, and Brett Gardner. Martin is getting a change of scenery and his non-tender from the Dodgers may act as a wake-up call. Posada could benefit from playing an entire season as the DH and Gardner was hurt last year. So while these three players not be a great bet like the other four are – there is reason to be optimistic for all.

Obviously this is a wait and see type of thing, but the fact that it is reasonable to expect that there could be as many as seven Yankees who have better offensive seasons this year is reason to be optimistic. Maybe the Yankees don’t have the best rotation in baseball, but they should win their fair share of games by slugging their way through them.

In Matthews’ article, Long also talked about Jesus Montero. He had heavy praise for his bat and said that he could help the Yankees immediately. Adding him into the mix because he could pick up the slack for either Martin or Posada if one of them has a poor season.

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2 Responses to Yankees Hitting Coach Says Best Lineup in Baseball Can Do Better

  1. David K. says:

    Agree with you overall but take issue with the line that Alex Rodriguez had one of his worst seasons. Actually, he had a pretty good year offensively. His batting average was down but .270 is a lot better than Mark Teixeira's .256. A-Rod drove in 125 RBI in just over 500 ABs. That's the most important stat, and it's pretty good by any measure. And he also seemed to try to make more contact and swing less for the fences than in years past. The stats reflect that: he struck out less and put the ball in play more. Now defensively, that's another story….

  2. I would rather have had A-Rod in any other year but 2010. He set career lows in batting average, OBP, and it was his second lowest slugging percentage year. Considering that his defense declined and he stopped stealing bases, 2010 was easily A-Rod's worst year.