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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Should Yanks replace Ellsbury and Drew/Ryan with Heathcott and Refsnsyder?

Yesterday two friends continued to beseech me with pleas that the Yankees make changes at two of the eight non-pitcher positions.  I assured them that manager Joe Girardi rarely, if ever, consults me but they persisted.

My basic reply was that such moves in mid September would be and would be perceived to be panic moves, which without tangible results would do more harm than good in reducing morale and confidence among the veteran players who have worked so long and hard all season.

Jacoby Ellsbury's job is to get on base batting leadoff and field well in center field.  His batting is deficient but his fielding is superb, which may be a little bit of why Girardi is sticking with him.  Like any batter, Ellsbury will not emerge from his batting slump on the bench and Girardi is supporting his player through a difficult time.

This season second base has been played primarily by Stephen Drew with Brendan Ryan as his backup.  Both are good fielding shortstops who have adapted well to second base.  Girardi may now be looking at them more as a platoon combo.  Ryan has never hit well but Drew has been a decent hitter for a shortstop; OPS+ 94 career, 111 in 2013 as the starting shortstop on the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.  In 2015 Drew has OPS+ 80 but he's hit 17 home runs.  Drew's batting average is .203 and on base average .273.  Ouch!
Photo of Rob Refsnyder
Rob Refsnyder is the Yankee second baseman of the future.

Slade Heathcott is an outfielder who won the game Monday with a three run homer in the 9th inning.

Both are 24 years old but with such limited major league time that I can list from baseball-reference.com all their games:

1187 (86)Jul 11NYY@BOSL,3-5CG330000000000000100.
2288Jul 12NYY@BOSW,8-6CG441200120000000000.286.286.7141.0009.85-0.0031.2719.007.502B
3389Jul 17NYYSEAW,4-3GS-8320000000010000000.222.222.556.7789.95-0.039-0.300.00-0.502B
4490Jul 18NYYSEAL,3-4CG330000000010000000.167.167.417.58391.01-0.081-0.570.00-0.752B
55139 (48)Sep 11NYYTORL,5-119-GF110000000000000000.154.154.385.5389.07-0.002-0.230.00-0.25PH
1141 (40)May 20NYY@WSNL,2-38-GF00000000000000030.0000.000.000.00PR CF
2242May 22NYYTEXL,9-10CG431210000010000000.667.6671.0001.6679.510.0160.6310.003.75CF
3343May 23NYYTEXL,4-15CG440100010000000000.429.429.5711.0009.02-0.002-
4445 (1)May 25NYYKCRW,14-1CG552200120010000000.417.417.7501.1679.040.0071.2821.008.25CF
5546May 26NYYKCRW,5-16-GF110000000000000000.385.385.6921.0776.06-0.002-0.350.00-0.25CF
6647May 27NYYKCRW,4-2CG440100000010000000.353.353.588.9418.51-0.037-0.463.000.25CF
77143 (95)Sep 14NYY@TBRW,4-18-GF111100130000000000.389.389.7781.16754.420.4852.6818.008.00RF
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre AAA: Year, PA, OPS:
2014 333 .845
2015 525 .761
2015 271 .657

So, Yankee fans, please, calm the heck down.  Take a cold shower.  With only 18 games remaining is it even fair to these inexperienced players to expect them to play well under the pressure of a pennant race?  What contending team has asked comparably inexperienced players to replace non-injured regulars so late in the season?

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