Yanks threaten record for balance of power

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jeter_090903.jpgThe New York Yankees pretty much have everything going for them this season – aside from some minor complaints about bullpen depth, but whatever.

One impressive piece of information in relation to the Yankees’ title hopes is their balance and depth, as illustrated nicely by this handy-dandy wins-over-replacement pie chart (thanks UmpBump).

No matter where you look, someone can beat you. Andy Pettite, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes are all making significant contributions on the mound. And in the lineup, it’s a minefield from top to bottom. Shut down Mark Teixeira, there’s Alex Rodriguez, or Derek Jeter, or Robinson Cano to beat you.

And when it comes to power, the Yankees’ offense is closing in on a historic achievement. With one more home run by Jorge Posada (Posada reached both marks tonight) and three more by Derek Jeter, and a handful of RBIs by each, the Yankees will have eight players with 20+ home runs and 70+ RBIs.

No team has had eight players reach those marks in the same season, and only the 1996 Orioles had more than six (Cal Ripken, Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Bonilla, Robert Alomar, Brady Anderson, B.J. Surhoff and Chris Hoiles.)

Those Orioles didn’t win a championship, of course. But then again, that Orioles team also had a horribly suspect pitching staff, with only one regular starter possessing an ERA below 5.00 (Mike Mussina, 19-11, 4.81).

I know the 1996 Orioles, and these Yankees are not the 1996 Orioles. They’re far better equipped with arms to survive a dip in offensive production in a postseason series. Then again, can you really see A-Rod jinx coming to an end?


If you Twitter, and have a hard time keeping up the facade, feel free to follow me at @Bharks.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.