The New York Yankees offense was mediocre, to put it lightly.
They ranked 19th in MLB in runs scored, with 711.
Many of the Yankees’ stars struggled offensively.
The situation resulted in the team not renewing hitting coach Marcus Thames’ contract.
His replacement Dillon Lawson will have a mission: work with the position players as a whole, but especially with these struggling hitters, to get them back on track.
3. DJ LeMahieu
If we consider wRC+, DJ LeMahieu was an average hitter.
The wRC+ stat allows us to assess a player’s offensive contributions in one number, adjusted to ballpark, era, and other factors.
The “average” offensive player has a 100 wRC+, and guess what was LeMahieu’s wRC+?
Average, however, won’t cut it for the Yankees, as LeMahieu was a star in his first two seasons in the Bronx.
In 2019, he had a .327/.375/.518 line with 26 home runs, 109 runs, and 102 RBI.
His wRC+ was a pretty solid 136.
He hit .364/.421/.590 with a stellar 177 wRC+ during the 2020 pandemic season.
However, he slumped all the way to .268/.349/.362 this season, the first of a six-year, $90 million contract.
LeMahieu is extremely talented as a hitter, and it’s hard to see him struggle for two years in a row.
With a full offseason to work on his craft, he could be much improved.
There is a chance his decline phase has started, but he should at least be above-average in 2022.
2. Gleyber Torres
To this day, Gleyber Torres’ power still hasn’t returned since the 2019 season, when he hit 38 homers.
In 2020, he slashed .243/.356/.368 with a 106 wRC+, and he was even worse in 2021, with a .259/.331/.366 and a 94 wRC+.
This year, he hit only nine homers in 127 games.
That .366 is the slugging percentage of a backup middle infielder, not of a player who was supposed to be taking over the league at 22.
Now about to turn 25, Torres knows he has a lot of adjustments to do.
He appears to be having issues hitting high-speed fastballs, but he was much better down the stretch this season and that gives the Yankees hope for 2022.
He had a 115 wRC+ in the second half, and it was 144 in August.
With the help of Lawson, he could have a bounce-back campaign next year.
I think this will help a lot of guys have bounce back years specifically Gleyber. Lawson had a huge hand in the “hit strikes hard” methodology in the minors and he’s very very big on not swinging at pitches outside the zone
— Jay🇵🇷🇳🇮 (@Jay_Torrez22) December 3, 2021
1. Joey Gallo
Of all the Yankees hitters listed here, Joey Gallo is the most likely to return to his peak level in 2022.
For all his issues in a Yankees’ uniform in the second half (he spent the first part of the season with the Texas Rangers), he was only slightly below-average: he hit .160/.303/.404 with a 95 wRC+.
Yes, that average looks atrocious, but his ability to take walks and enormous power – 13 homers as a Yankee – gave him a solid floor even if it doesn’t look like it.
The issue is that Gallo is capable of much more, like what he did for the Rangers, for example: .223/.379/.490, 139 wRC+, and 25 homers in 95 games.
That is the form he should be aiming to regain, and Yankees fans will surely be happy with it.
Let this be known: I have been, and always will be a Joey Gallo fan. With Texas, I loved and appreciated his talent. I was over the moon when the Yankees grabbed him. Even when he struggled I had hope he would bounce back. 2022 will be his year, and we’re just here to witness it. https://t.co/Dht3UoOp94
— PapaJiggy 🐢 (@papajiggy_) October 25, 2021
The issue for him is keeping his strikeout percentage around 30 percent as opposed to the 38.6 percent he had in the Bronx.
He has shown in the past that he is capable of making adjustments, so he should be much better in 2022.