When you start to reflect on the season to this point; you have to start wondering how the Yankees are managing to hang in there and still lead the East. Our batting average as a team is pathetic; our baserunning is almost on par with a 9 year old Little League team and our bull pen is psychotic – but we are still managing to win ball games. Forget about everything you read; and all the drama in the clubhouse or the latest book – the real reason why the Yankees are winning is because we have one of the best Diamond’s in Major League Baseball.
The Diamond is simply this – if you draw a line from home plate to the shortstop; then center field to second base and end at home, you wil have a perfect diamond – where 70 – 75% of the game is played. This is the area where your core four (SS, CF, 2B, C) are evaluated every day and expected to perform at an All Star caliber level. In fact; amongst Major League scouts and General Managers, the core 4 of every team is dissected and evaluated from game to game to make sure their team is maintaining a competitive edge while comparing slippage or increased value based on fielding opportunities; stealing, hitting, runs batted in and slugging percentage. With this understanding; let’s take a closer look at the Yankee Diamond and their profound impact and results so far in 2011.
The Diamond begins with the catcher; and the addition of Russell Martin was a huge increase in value and has provided stability and spark to a battery that has been up and down. Martin has managed to calm the starting pitchers down; taken newcomers and made them feel at home as well as knock four home runs in the clutch that have won games. No one knew if he would bounce back from knee surgery and certainly didn’t expect to see a guy that is truely feeling his oats and having a super year since he donned the pinstripes. The team and the pitching staff to a man have recognized Martin’s contributions and he has developed great chemistry amongst his teammates. When you grade Russ; you have to give him an “A” in every facet of his game and he is certainly amongst the top 5 leading catchers in Major League baseball so far in 2011.
Next up would be Curtis Granderson; a young man that has made considerable changes to his approach and batting style to perform at a higher level in 2011. Well; mission accomplished! I can’t help but gush when I speak of Curtis because he is such a class act and a hard worker, that he would be a manager’s dream player right now for whomever he plays for. Did you ever think that he would hit 10 Home Runs the first month? How about 4 off lefty’s? Did you ever think he would put you in the win column five times with his bat? Did you know that he is the best home run hitter versus lefty pitching in the major leagues so far this year!? And how about his play in center field; he’s even won a game with his glove reminiscent of Willie Mays. Right now; Curtis is my choice for MVP – can you find a reason to argue? This young man gets an A+ – I’m not sure Josh could top his heroics and game winners if he were healthy right now.
Robinson Cano – need I say more? The third “crown jewel” in the Yankee Diamond; Robbie does it all and continues to lead the majors in hitting. In fact; he is so good that I just don’t understand why Girardi won’t move him to the three hole so Tex can take some pressure off and minimize the sparks flying out of his butt. When you need a hit; he is there and continues to contribute in the clutch and deliver Yankee wins with his bat and glove. Without him in the lineup; I’m not sure the Yankees would be hitting better than .225. The crown jewel; Robbie gets an “A” in my book and I believe he’s just starting to warm up.
Last; but certainly not least is our Cap’n DJ. I really don’t care what the analysts say because I would take Derek over any SS in the majors right now except Troy – which would never happen because I believe he’s signed through 2025;). Derek has intangibles that can not be dismissed – and the 5 rings are certainly an indication of what this man is all about. He is fine; and will be fine as he continues to make adjustments during this year. There are certain players out there that I would say “don’t bother” you are wasting your time but Derek is a proven winner; a guy I want to lead my team and a guy that can pull a team and team chemistry together. Even though this has been a tough start for Derek; I will go with him any day of the week and give him an “A” for being a leader; a catalyst and the fourth reason why the NY Yankees will be winners in 2011.
So remember one thing when discussing the Yankees issues with hitting as a team, their pathetic baserunning or the psycho’s in the bull pen – the 2011 NY Yankees have one of the best; if not the best Diamond’s in Major League baseball in 2011. The naysayers can argue till they turn blue but as long as this core four continues to perform; play at a higher level than the competition, the Yankees are going to win a lot of games and the division in 2011. There are teams that come close; but we are truely the envy of every competitive scout and GM today.
Never thought I would say this for a long time but the New York Yankees Diamond is the best I have seen since Bernie quietly left the building – and that’s saying a lot.