On-Base Perception

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Yankees' average, on-base percentage among worst of last 18 years

Raul Ibanez jumps to get out of the

Raul Ibanez jumps to get out of the way of a pitch in the eighth inning. (July 24, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Robinson Cano hit a grand slam for the Yankees on Wednesday, just another home run for the team that leads the majors with 166 long balls.

The power numbers put up by this Yankees team are astounding. Their isolated power sits at .197; the next highest is the Blue Jays at .181 (isolate power is an advanced metric that measures a batter's pure power, removing singles from the equation). Their slugging percentage is .461; the next highest is the Rangers at .444.

That .461 slugging percentage is also tied for fourth best among Yankee teams over the last 18 seasons, dating to 1995 when the most recent Yankees run of greatness began. The isolated power of .197 is the highest ever among those teams.

But this Yankees team is slowly becoming a monstrous version of Dave Kingman: all or nothing.

Forget their well-publicized failure to hit with runners in scoring position. There's simply a failure to hit this season.

The team's .264 average is one point higher than it was in 2011, but that still makes it the second-worst mark over the last 18 seasons. The Yankees have only had a team average in the .260s five times during that span. They've hit no worse than .277 years that they've won the World Series.

Derek Jeter (.316) and Cano (.312) are the only players with averages above .300, among players who've recorded at least 150 plate appearances. Injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez is next at .276, and after that it's a precipitous drop to the tandem of Eric Chavez and Nick Swisher, who are tied at .263. The five other players with at least 150 plate appearances are hitting .256 or worse.

But batting average wouldn't be a tremendous issue if it wasn't for the fact that this team isn't walking anymore.

The Yankees' .336 on-base percentage is their second-worst mark in the last 18 years, and only the second time that number has dropped below .342. The other year was 2001, when they lost in the World Series.

Rodriguez, Cano and Jeter are the only players with at least a .350 OBP, and only two other players are in the .340s.

The team's 8.9 percent walk rate is the lowest mark since 2008 (8.6), when they didn't make the playoffs. It's been below 9.0 just three times in the last 18 years. The third occasion was 2001.

Their OBP has never been below .354 and their walk rate has never been below 9.9 during years that they've won the World Series.

Meanwhile, swinging for the fences is costing the hitters the ability to put the ball in play.

The team has a strikeout rate of 18.9 percent, the highest in the last 18 years. It has only been above 18 one other time during that span.

Even in 2009, when the Yankees posted their highest slugging percentage of the last 18 seasons (.478), they only had a 15.7 percent strikeout rate.

Keep those numbers in mind the next time the Yankees smash a home run. You shouldn't have to wait long.

Tags: Derek Jeter , Robinson Cano , Alex Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira , Eric Chavez , Nick Swisher , Yankees

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