Home News 3 thoughts on the Yankees: Jose Trevino’s hot hand, DJ LeMahieu’s return,...

3 thoughts on the Yankees: Jose Trevino’s hot hand, DJ LeMahieu’s return, and the pen’s K%



The Yankees stole a win on Wednesday, avoiding a sweep in Toronto with a few home runs and a ninth-inning rally.

The victory pushed the first-place team to 13-6 on the season. Following a Thursday off day, the team will begin a seven-game homestand against the Rays and A’s. Saturday’s afternoon at Yankee Stadium will also feature a celebration of John Sterling, who announced his retirement earlier this week.

Before all that begins, here a few thoughts on the Yankees as they return home.

TREVINO HAS THE HOT HAND

While Juan Soto and Giancarlo Stanton’s homers and Aaron Judge’s game-winning single received the most credit for the Yankees’ 6-4 comeback win on Wednesday, it was Jose Trevino who tied the game with a pinch-hit single in the ninth.

“He did a good job of making sure he got the ball up,” Aaron Boone said of Trevino, who lined one off of a leaping Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s glove. “With the infield in in that situation, worst case scenario, you want to get the ball in the air to the big part of the field. You could see him really discipline himself to do that. Got a pitch and smoked it.”

Trevino, who pinch-hit for fellow catcher Austin Wells, has gotten ahold of a few pitches lately, as he’s hitting .500/.539/.750 with six hits, one home run and five RBI over his last four games and 13 plate appearances.

That’s not a large sample by any stretch, but Wells is slashing .097/.250/.097 and has yet to pick up an extra-base hit this season. While Wells’ metrics are better than his surface numbers — the lefty swinger’s xwOBA is in the 88th percentile — Trevino has the hot hand.

The two catchers were more or less expected to platoon heading into the season. Wells has played in two more games than Trevino, so it will be interesting to see how the Yankees deploy their backstops the rest of the way, especially when one is out-hitting the other.

WHO SHOULD DJ’S RETURN IMPACT MOST?

DJ LeMahieu is inching closer to his season debut after suffering a non-displaced right foot fracture in spring training. The versatile infielder was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Somerset on Friday, and he hoped to play in less than five minor league games.

“It’s possible,” Boone said of LeMahieu’s timeline. “We’ll see. Let’s get through the first one first. We’ll just see how the buildup goes.”

LeMahieu entered camp as the Yankees’ everyday third baseman and Boone’s preferred leadoff hitter. However, a lot has changed in his absence.

While that may happen some more during LeMahieu’s rehab assignment, Anthony Volpe has taken over the first spot in the order. Boone said he’s “probably not” pulling the shortstop from the one-hole this week.

Meanwhile, Oswaldo Cabrera is hitting .309 as the team’s primary third baseman.

Cabrera made a few sharp plays ranging to his right on Wednesday, which begged the question: will LeMahieu be able to do the same once back?

LeMahieu is a four-time Gold Glover. But he was already slower than Cabrera before his injury, and side-to-side fielding was a hurdle he had to clear during his rehab.

LeMahieu’s bat has also been inconsistent at best since the second half of 2022. With Cabrera thriving at the plate, should his playing time really take a back seat to LeMahieu’s?

The veteran can also play second and first, so there are other ways to get LeMahieu into the lineup once he returns. That’s especially true if Gleyber Torres doesn’t pick things up. The second baseman, an impending free agent, singled during Wednesday’s rally, but Torres is hitting just .208 with zero home runs and two RBI.

THE BULLPEN’S K%

While the Yankees’ bullpen entered Thursday with the fourth-best ERA (2.62) in baseball, the unit ranked 24th in K/BB (1.80), 26th in K-BB% (8.0), 28th in overall strikeouts (54 over 72 innings), and 30th in K/9 (6.75) and K% (17.9).

Simply put, the unit isn’t striking a ton of people out.

“The group as a whole is largely designed to manage contact quality,” pitching coach Matt Blake told the Daily News. “I think that’s probably what their strength is. Do you wish they’d punch more guys out? Sure. But it’s really more about the walks for me than anything. We’re walking too many guys if we’re not going to strike guys out. You gotta do probably two of those things really well, and right now we’re probably doing [contact quality] really well. The other two are more marginal.”

As Blake mentioned, the Yankees’ pen is thriving when it comes to inducing desirable contact. The team was sixth in soft contact percentage (20.2), seventh in groundball percentage (46.7), ninth in hard-hit percentage (36.2) and 10th in infield flyball percentage (11.7). However, the bullpen also ranked 17th in BB% (9.9).

Some early-season errors from the Yankees’ infield have also highlighted the bullpen’s lack of strikeout stuff, but Blake said he expects marginal improvement.

Still, this bullpen isn’t built to blow people away.

“There’s probably spots where we could execute better with two strikes,” Blake said. “We won’t stay near the bottom of the league in strikeouts, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily a high strikeout group in general.”

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