The New York Yankees’ ability to hit home runs is helping them overcome a league-worst average of hitting with runners in scoring position.
A Major League Baseball-best 51.8 percent of the Yankees’ runs this season came on homers, nine percentage points higher than 2011, according to Bloomberg Sports data. The team’s batting average with runners in scoring position -- on second or third base -- is .225, 48 points below their 2011 average and 13 points lower than the Seattle Mariners, the next worst American League team in that category.
“It’s a great sign,” said Aaron Boone, the former Yankees third baseman who is a now an analyst for ESPN. “They get on base and they hit home runs, which is going to lead to a lot of crooked numbers. Runners in scoring position is something that over time is going to balance itself out a little bit, just because they’re too good of hitters.”
The Yankees, leading the American League East with a 46-28 record, have 117 homers, the most in baseball and almost twice as many as the New York Mets (62). Center fielder Curtis Granderson’s 21 homers lead six Yankees with more than 10, joining Robinson Cano (18), Alex Rodriguez (13), Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira (12), and Raul Ibanez (11).
Cano, who is leading the American League All-Star balloting at second base, has a .174 batting average with runners in scoring position, the worst of those six players. Rodriguez is next lowest at .206, followed by Teixeira (.217), Granderson (.226), Ibanez (.230) and Swisher (.275).
Shortstop Derek Jeter, whose seven home runs already top his six from all of last season, has a .293 batting average with runners in scoring position, below his .302 career mark.
Sixth in RBI
The Yankees’ 339 runs batted in are sixth in baseball and 56 fewer than the Texas Rangers, who lead with 395.
The Rangers, who’ve been to two straight World Series, and the Los Angeles Angels are going to be New York’s stiffest competition in the playoffs, said Boone, whose Game 7 American League pennant-clinching home run sent the Yankees past the Boston Red Sox and into the 2003 World Series.
“The way this team is shaping up, they look like a great team built for the regular season,” Boone, speaking from Los Angeles while promoting a Little League Baseball initiative with Subway Restaurants, said in a telephone interview. “Is their rotation dominant enough to be a great Yankee postseason team? That’s the question that I have that remains to be seen.”