Saturday, August 20, 2016
A major new theory of Yankee time and space: Does the short Yankee Stadium RF porch kill our offense?
Posted by el duque at 7:30 AM
The short right field porch at Yankee Stadium is killing us.
OK, let's think this through.
The Yankee tradition - from Ruth to Maris to Giambi to McCann - is to lard the lineup with lefty slugging beef that - in the name of Curtis Granderson - can flick 35 home runs a year down the RF line, without wasting an erection. Thus, we signed lefty pull-hitting beef.
But in this era of defensive over-shifts, these lefty free-swingers lose 50 points off their batting averages - sliding into mediocrity. I believe it even reduces their HR totals, because they're stressed out, seeing these crapola batting averages on the Jumbotron.
Case in point: Brian McCann. When we signed him, the Yankees figured on 30 HRs per season with a batting average around .270. That short porch would become his Sean Hannity. But over-shifts turned McCann into a .220 butter cookie, and we'll be lucky to get 20 dings. He's a not a DH. He's not a 1B. He's not anything.
So, under my theory, McCann would hit more poorly at home, swinging for the porch and into the over-shift. Well, that's exactly what happens.
In Yankee Stadium, where you'd think McCann should be more productive, he's worse. He's batting .218 with 7 HRs. On the road, McCann hits .247 - with 8 HRs. The porch hasn't helped him. If anything, it's hurt him.
OK - let's look at Mark Teixeira, the switch-hitter. Under this theory, he should generally hit better from the right side, overall. And he does. Batting RH, he's at .228 with 9 HRs. From the left: just .182 with one ding. (At home, he's hitting slightly better .206, compared to .188, but frankly, both stats are so miserable - this guy is sooo done - what's there to compare?)
Let's do one more - Chase Headley: Overall, he hits with more power left-handed - .250 with 8 HRs - compared to .268 with 3 HRs from the right. But in Yankee Stadium, he's hitting only .227, compared to .286 on the road.
But frankly, screw the numbers. To prove my quantum theory, I go with boners - and mine tell me is this: Over the last 10 years, we've seen way too many LH hitters get homer-happy. Jason Giambi went from .320 to a one-dimensional pull hitter. The Grandyman became a 200-K season. Even Brett Gardner got bitten and - in my opinion - has not been the same. Will it happen to Didi? It's worth worrying about. (I thought Greg Bird last year, in his short time, began swinging for that porch.) With defensive over-shifts, dead pull hitters become liabilities. And the porch inspires dead pull hitters. Tex's inability to solve the over-shift ended his career prematurely. He still whacks hard line drives. Defenders wait for them.
In the over-shift era, is the porch killing us? I dunno. But it's worth considering. And I'm glad Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge all bat right-handed. Hopefully, when they see that porch, it will remind them to use the entire field.