Memorial Day weekend has arrived, and whereas in the true world it serves because the unofficial starting of summer season and an opportunity to get away for an extended weekend, within the baseball world it serves as the primary actual benchmark of a 162-game marathon.
Over the primary two months of the season, it may be troublesome to know which early numbers are an indication of issues to return and which may be written off as being a small pattern measurement that may even out because the season goes on.
However Memorial Day weekend provides groups an opportunity to return up for air and consider the place they and their gamers are, almost a 3rd of the way in which by means of the season.
With that in thoughts, listed below are three tendencies the Yankees have established heading into the vacation weekend, with a take a look at whether or not they’re actual or not:
Aaron Decide may give his 2022 season a run for its cash
Beginning in spring coaching, every time questions on private expectations had been posed to Aaron Decide, most had been prefaced by a caveat that it was unrealistic to suppose he may repeat his 62-homer season from 2022.
And more often than not — whether or not he mentioned it or his face did — Decide’s response was, “Why not?”
Over the previous two weeks, that reply has come to thoughts as Decide has returned from his IL stint and gone on a tear. He’s batting .288 with a 1.032 OPS and 14 residence runs.
“I’m not gonna examine, particularly to some of the historic seasons ever,” Kyle Higashioka mentioned. “However he’s pretty much as good as anybody’s seen him this 12 months. We love seeing that from him. He’s particular to observe.”
OK, we’ll examine simply barely.
Final 12 months, getting into Memorial Day weekend, Decide was batting .313 with a 1.065 OPS and 17 residence runs. However one disclaimer: As a result of the lockout pushed again the beginning of the season, these numbers had been by means of 45 group video games. This 12 months — including within the 10 video games he missed whereas on the IL — Decide’s numbers getting into the vacation weekend are by means of 52 group video games.
It nonetheless stays unrealistic to anticipate anybody to hit 62 residence runs in a given season. That’s what makes it so monumental when it does occur.
However Decide appears to be like primed to place collectively one other monster season, even when it could not rise to the historic, record-breaking stage.
The Yankees are utilizing a closer-by-committee
Clay Holmes entered the season because the incumbent nearer, although Aaron Boone did say in spring coaching the Yankees wouldn’t be afraid to make use of him within the eighth inning if sure matchups dictated it.
Nonetheless, it has been notable how a lot the Yankees have really blended and matched the late innings this season. Not together with a three-inning save from Deivi Garcia, the Yankees have used six completely different relievers to document saves.
Holmes nonetheless leads the group with 5 saves, however solely considered one of them has come since April 14. In between Holmes’ fourth and fifth saves, the Yankees acquired saves from Wandy Peralta (three), Michael King (three), Ron Marinaccio, Ian Hamilton and even Ryan Weber.
“I like [Holmes] not strictly within the ninth,” Boone mentioned not too long ago. “There’s going to be days the place it does line up the place he’s closing the sport. However I like placing him in conditions that we really feel he can thrive in.”
Transferring ahead, anticipate to see extra shared ninth-inning obligations, with one wild card: If the Yankees get to some extent the place they really feel comfy utilizing Michael King on back-to-back days, he may change into an intriguing and constant closing choice.
They’ve been getting nearer to probably utilizing King on back-to-back days, however stay cautious about dashing that course of in mild of the damaged elbow he suffered final July.
For now, King stays useful as a multi-inning risk who can pitch each few days.
“I feel, at its finest, you bought a number of actually good, complementary choices that complement each other with who they’re extra geared up to get out and who they’re extra dominant, probably, towards,” Boone mentioned. “Whenever you match these issues up, it places you in a great spot. Particularly once we’re entire, I really feel like we now have 4 or 5 guys I’m actually comfy handing the ball to within the ninth inning in the event that they’re in the precise state of affairs.”
Anthony Volpe’s hot-and-cold begin
When the choice was made to have Anthony Volpe break camp with the massive league group, the Yankees knew that struggles can be inevitable. They occur for almost each rookie, no matter his prospect rating or how effectively he did in spring coaching.
The 22-year-old Volpe is now batting .199 with a .649 OPS and 7 residence runs. The ability has been an even bigger issue than some anticipated, and his baserunning instincts have been evident in going 13-for-13 on stolen-base makes an attempt. With optimistic protection at shortstop, he ranks fifth on the group with 1.2 bWAR.
However after Volpe was getting on base at a strong clip early within the season — he ended April with a .333 on-base proportion — his OBP has fallen to .284.
Two issues to bear in mind: Volpe was a gradual starter throughout his minor league profession, and the Yankees consider he has the baseball IQ to make changes effectively and the mindset to not get slowed down by the struggles.
So although we’re not anticipating Volpe to rise all the way in which as much as be among the many league’s hitting leaders, he ought to end the season together with his batting common and OPS bit larger than it’s now — maybe alongside the strains of .240/.750.
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For a man who was so out of sight over his first year-plus with the Yankees that social media believed he won’t really exist, Ben Rortvedt has delivered a strong first impression.
The 25-year-old catcher, who came to visit from the Twins final 12 months together with Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa within the commerce for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela, was referred to as up final week when Jose Trevino landed on the injured record with a hamstring pressure.
Rortvedt has began two of the Yankees’ six video games since then, and has made the many of the alternatives. He went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in a win over the Reds on Saturday, and in Thursday evening’s loss to the Orioles, he walked in each of his plate appearances earlier than being lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Boone was additionally impressed by Rortvedt’s work behind the plate, which included getting integrated into the Yankees’ signal system, attempting to cease the Reds’ working sport and studying to catch some new pitchers on the fly. That included the sinker-balling Holmes, whom Rortevdt caught for the primary time ever within the ninth inning of a 4-1 sport with the shadows in impact at Nice American Ball Park.
“[That] was a bit of completely different,” Rortvedt mentioned with a smile.
Trevino is anticipated again earlier than lengthy — probably by the point the Yankees start a highway journey on Monday in Seattle — however Rortvedt has made himself a extra intriguing choice, if nothing else.
In fact, had Rortvedt not been injured for all of camp final 12 months after the Yankees acquired him, they might not have ended up buying and selling for Trevino on the finish of that spring coaching.
“His capacity and athleticism behind the plate [stands out],” Boone mentioned. “He’s compact like Trevy a bit of bit, actually good receiver, actually good palms and may actually throw. Good athlete again there. All these issues are why we acquired him. It’s good to see him wholesome and contributing.”
A big portion of the fan base gave the impression to be celebrating final Saturday when the Yankees designated Aaron Hicks for project.
The transfer was destined to occur in some unspecified time in the future this season, barring an enormous turnaround from the veteran outfielder, however that didn’t make it any simpler for Hicks to swallow.
He appeared shell-shocked and nonetheless had tears in his eyes as mentioned his goodbyes and exchanged hugs with teammates within the visiting clubhouse at Nice American Ball Park earlier than heading again to the group lodge to await his subsequent directions — the Yankees are within the midst of a seven-day interval by which they need to both commerce Hicks or place him on waivers (which can end in his launch).
Hicks’ ultimate three seasons with the Yankees had been principally brutal, due to accidents and underperformance.
For probably the most half, although, he didn’t run from his struggles, remaining out there and sincere (maybe an excessive amount of so, from the group’s perspective) with reporters — together with on Saturday, when he agreed to talk with The Submit for a couple of minutes earlier than heading out of the clubhouse together with his luggage packed. From this reporter’s perspective, at the very least, that was a lot appreciated.