Yankees offense hoping to overcome putrid June

Gleyber Torres yankees
New York Yankees’ Gleyber Torres reacts after grounding out against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 24, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

It’s a long baseball season, but as we enter the summer months, the Yankees’ offense is beginning to run out of time to get things right. 

While the pitching rotation has been hit hard by injuries to starters like Carlos Rodon, Frankie Montas, and Luis Severino, it’s been the offense that has been a major issue. 

Coming into Wednesday’s game, the Yankees are 20th in runs scored, 28th in batting average, 15th in strikeout rate, 23rd in OPS, and 21st in weighted runs created plus (wRC+). 

Things have gotten even worse in June. 

Of course, that’s to be expected with Aaron Judge on the sidelines. Since Judge went down with an injury on June 4th, the Yankees are dead last in baseball with a .201 batting average in 18 games. They are also dead last in runs scored, dead last in offensive Wins Above Replacement (WAR), dead last in OPS, 28th in the league in slugging percentage, and 20th in ISO. 

In almost all aspects, the Yankees have been one of the worst, if not the worst, offenses in baseball in the month of June. 

In fact, the Yankees’ two best offensive players in June have been Billy McKinney and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, which is certainly not something the team planned for. 

McKinney is hitting .281/.305/.579 across 17 games with four home runs, seven runs, and seven RBI while Kiner-Falefa is batting .303/.303/.424 in 16 games with six runs and three steals. 

Billy McKinney Yankees
New York Yankees’ Billy McKinney reacts after hitting a home run against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 24, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

The team is, unfortunately, getting no production from its biggest bats. 

Giancarlo Stanton is batting .091/.180/.145. He has just five hits with one home run and 21 strikeouts in 55 at-bats. Anthony Rizzo is hitting .193/.333/.263 with no home runs and five RBI. Gleyber Torres is batting .217/.288/.417 but does have three home runs, while DJ LeMahieu has a triple slash of .171/.209/.317 with one home run and four RBI. 

Josh Donaldson, who received a dreaded vote of confidence from Yankees manager Aaron Boone, is batting .114/.200/.386 with a 26% strikeout rate but does have four home runs in the month. 

Many of these players are veterans with a long track record of success, so one would need to assume that the ship will be righted, but time might be running out for that to happen. The Yankees are currently 9.5 games out of first in the AL East and are tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the final Wild Card spot. With Aaron Judge not expected to be back for perhaps another month, the other hitters in the lineup are going to need to step up. 

At this moment, the team is being carried by a bullpen that leads baseball with a 2.83 ERA while throwing the 9th-most innings. 

If the veteran hitters are not able to show signs of life prior to the August 1st trade deadline then general manager Brian Cashman will have to decide whether he wants to try to trade away players like Donaldson and LeMahieu and bring in veteran reinforcements from teams no longer in contention or if he himself wants to turn the page on the 2023 season and look to strengthen the lineup for 2024. 

Obviously, the health of Aaron Judge will go a long way toward determining what path the Yankees choose, but the other hitters in the lineup could make the call easier if they were able to turn things around when the calendar flips to July. 

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Josh Donaldson New York Yankees
Josh DonaldsonAP Photo/Frank Franklin II