Insider sounds alarm on Yankees’ offensive resurgence in 2024

Juan Soto bows down to fans during his first Yankees game at Yankee Stadium on April 5, 2024.
Sara Molnick
Saturday April 6, 2024

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The New York Yankees are presenting a fresh face in 2024 under the leadership of manager Aaron Boone. Gone are the days of a stoic demeanor and a focus on past disappointments. This team, fueled by an enthusiastic energy, is determined to leave the ghosts of their disappointing 2023 season behind.

But two shut-out losses in the first eight games have raised eyebrows about their offensive outlook this season. Joel Sherman of The Post raised red flags and felt that the 2024 offense didn’t look much different from their 2023 offensive slump.

“What happened Friday — what has happened a lot even within a strong 6-2 record — is that the Yankee offense has too often resembled the organization’s least favorite subject: 2023,” he wrote.

The insider admits a shift in attitude is evident even in the pre-game routines. Pitching newcomer Marcus Stroman and slugger Juan Soto have openly acknowledged the cheers of the legendary Bleacher Creatures, embracing the passionate fan base in a way that was absent from some previous Yankees players.

But, according to Sherman, a major question mark remains about the offense. Despite a respectable 6-2 record and the addition of offensive powerhouses like Soto and Alex Verdugo, the 2024 Yankees have not yet translated their star power into consistent scoring.

Through their first eight games, he claims, the Yankees’ offensive production, as measured by On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) and runs per game, has actually fallen short of their performance in the disappointing 2023 season. This offensive drought continued in their home opener, a disheartening 3-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. The usually vocal crowd of 47,812 fell silent alongside the silenced bats.

While the Yankees’ spirit is high and their record reflects a strong start, the ability to translate that energy into consistent offense will be the true test of their success in 2024. Can they overcome this lingering offensive weakness and become a true contender, or will the ghosts of 2023 resurface at the plate? Only time will tell.

Yankees’ offense fizzles in home opener letdown

Despite a promising 6-2 record to start the season, the New York Yankees’ bats fell silent in their home opener, leaving manager Aaron Boone frustrated and the crowd of 47,812 subdued.

“The fans were electric tonight,” Boone acknowledged, “but we just couldn’t give them enough to truly get behind the game.”

The Yankees’ offensive woes continued, mirroring a concerning trend from the early part of the season. Against Blue Jays’ southpaw Yusei Kikuchi, they mustered just six singles, failing to advance any runners past second base and going a dismal 1-for-8 with men on base.

This struggle against starting pitchers is becoming a recurring issue. Through their first eight games, the Yankees have only managed a single home run and 13 runs against starters, compared to a much more productive six home runs and 19 runs against relievers.

Several key players are contributing to the offensive slump. With the exception of Anthony Volpe (.423), Oswaldo Cabrera (.346), and even the usually dependable Juan Soto (.303), the Yankees’ batting averages are hovering below .226.

Giancarlo Stanton, despite entering the season at a lighter weight and promising less lower-body strain, hasn’t delivered on those hopes. He’s currently batting a meager .125 and has struck out a staggering 13 times in just 24 at-bats.

While Boone remains optimistic, highlighting Stanton’s historical boom-or-bust tendencies, this echoes a familiar refrain from the disappointing 2023 season. With such a lackluster performance – particularly striking out in seven of his eleven at-bats with runners on base against lefties – Stanton’s role as the cleanup hitter versus left-handed pitchers may need to be reconsidered.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Yankees. Their 6-2 record showcases their ability to capitalize against bullpens in the later innings, and their strong pitching has kept them in games. Still, the Yankees will need to address their early-game offensive woes to maintain their early-season success and avoid reliving the ghosts of 2023.

Shaky bullpen adds to offensive doom in Yankees’ loss

Marcus Stroman starts his first Yankees game at Yankee Stadium on April 5, 2024.
NYY

The New York Yankees’ bullpen, already dealing with the recent loss of key setup man Jonathan Loaisiga to a season-ending flexor tendon injury, had a shaky outing in their latest defeat.

Relief pitcher Caleb Ferguson gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, Ernie Clement, sparking early concerns. Later in the ninth inning, Nick Burdi allowed two runs, largely due to three wild pitches. These shaky performances highlighted the depth issues the Yankees might face in the absence of Loaisiga.

However, the true story of the game lies in the Yankees’ offensive struggles. This loss marked the second time in eight games they were shut out. Manager Aaron Boone’s decisions in the late innings became a point of discussion.

Down 1-0 with two outs in the seventh, Boone opted to leave Jon Berti, a right-handed hitter, at bat against righty Trevor Richards. Similarly, he chose not to pinch-hit with a left-handed batter in the eighth inning, despite Yankee Stadium’s notoriously short right field porch that could benefit lefty hitters. This decision came even though Richards historically struggles more against lefties. Additionally, the Yankees now have more potent left-handed options available compared to last season.

While the three right-handed batters who faced Richards ultimately struck out twice and failed to get on base, it’s worth noting that Richards also struck out the only left-handed batter he faced – Juan Soto – to end the eighth inning.

The Yankees’ inability to generate offense and the bullpen’s struggles combined to deal them the loss. Moving forward, Boone will have to find solutions to address both the pitching void left by Loaisiga and the team’s lack of offensive firepower.

Juan Soto’s frustration boils over

Juan-Soto-new-york-yankees
AP

New York Yankees slugger Juan Soto’s emotions ran high following their recent loss. His visible frustration manifested in a forceful bat and helmet spike, a stark contrast to his usual pregame routine of embracing the passionate Bleacher Creatures.

Addressing his outburst, Soto acknowledged disappointment in not being able to deliver for the fans. He expressed a strong desire to be the spark that ignites the team but admitted his personal struggles left him feeling incredibly frustrated.

Despite his anger, Soto took ownership of his actions, recognizing that such displays, while understandable, were ultimately unnecessary. He acknowledged that the heat of the moment can sometimes lead to these emotional reactions.

This incident highlights a larger concern for the Yankees: their continued offensive woes. Even with a respectable 6-2 record, the lack of consistent scoring is uncomfortably reminiscent of the underwhelming 2023 season, a topic the organization has been eager to leave behind.

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