The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Friday, April 14, 2017 Hicks, Severino lift Yanks to sweep of Rays

Aaron Hicks homered from both sides of the plate and Luis Severino struck out a career-high 11, leading the Yankees to their fourth consecutive victory Thursday, a 3-2 win that completed a series sweep of the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

Hicks accounted for all of the Yanks’ scoring, homering off right-hander Matt Andriese in the first inning before slugging a go-ahead two-run shot on a hanging curveball from left-hander Xavier Cedeno in the seventh. Hicks said that he is working to adjust after a subpar first season in pinstripes.

“I’ve got to keep my swing short. I can’t have a long swing,” Hicks said. “If I play every day, then obviously I can get a little bit more loose with my swing, but when you don’t play every day the timing goes away fast. I’ve got to make sure I have a short swing and solid contact.”

Hicks’ heroics helped make a winner of Severino, who limited the Rays to two runs over seven innings, picking up his first win as a starter since Sept. 27, 2015, against the White Sox in Chicago. Severino whiffed five of the last seven batters he faced.

When Cashman dealt for Hicks, it seemed like Hicks was on the upswing (but it also seemed like the guy Cash traded for Hicks, J.R. Murphy, was ALSO on the upswing), but he sure didn’t look like a guy who could be a regular last season. It’s obviously too early to say that anything’s changed, but for now, we’ll gladly take any performances like this one that Hicks would like to offer up.

That goes for Luis Severino, as well, who looked like a real starter tonight. He wasn’t just getting by with his top-level stuff (although the stuff continued to be there right until the end of the start), but he was also locating it well. This was a fine, fine win. The Rays are not a good team, but a sweep of any team is impressive.

The only upsetting thing about this win is that Greg Bird continues to look lost at the plate. Doesn’t this whole thing just seem like the sort of thing that the Yankee medical staff is going to handle wrong somehow? Like Teix’s infamous “bone bruis…oh, wait, never mind, it’s a broken leg. We’ve been trying to make you play on a literal broken leg” incident from 2015. It’s not inspiring a whole lot of confidence when Bird looks so awful out there after being so dominant during Spring Training (they made the guy the #3 hitter out of Spring Training for a reason, ya know?). Maybe a slump is a slump is a slump, but it is still worrisome.

--Posted at 1:07 am by Brian Cronin / 10 Comments | - (0)


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Completely agree about Bird. Get that man an MRI, stat.

At least the rotation doesn’t seem to suck as much…

I recall hicks being a much better player the last 2-3 months of 2016 than the first 3 months. Maybe he actually just had a slump as a part timer and really can be a decent 280 hitter with 20 HR?

Hicks being a “decent .280 hitter with 20 HR” with his defense is a 5-WAR player. So, no.

[2] Yes, he hit .271/.333./.424 over August and September, which I think is a fair approximation of what he could do as a full-time player.  An average guy on the corners and above average if he’s playing center.

My concern with Bird is that the trouble with the above the belt fastballs doesn’t seem new to me. Didn’t he have that issue in 2015? Maybe he’s hurt (and ill), but he may still have a significant adjustment to make.

[3] If his defense is good enough to assume that he’d be a 5 WAR player based on no other information than “decent .280 hitter with 20 HR’s”, then you’re crediting him with being a hell of a defensive player.

I can see him as a 90-100 OPS+ hitter, with good-but-not-great defense and baserunning, adding up to a 2.5 - 3.5 WAR player over a full season. Like an outfield version of Didi Gregorius.

Hicks is +5 DRS and -2 UZR in the equivalent of roughly two full seasons of defensive playing time.  I don’t think a .280 and 20 HR Hicks is a 5 WAR player.  Now, the question is if Hicks can hit .280 and maintain an IsoD of .058 like he has so far in his career.  Then he’s a .280/.340/.410 or so guy who can play all three outfield positions.  That’s maybe a 2.5-3 win player I guess.

Maybe 20 HR is 5 too many. But I think 280 is do-able.

What is interesting about Bird is that he looked just fine in the final game vs. Atlanta which was after the Clearwater game. I think he is just without confidence just as he was in Arizona last fall.  It’s hard to believe considering how in charge he looked last month.  He honestly looks like someone trying to just not strike out rather than being ready to kill the ball.  This kind of thing happens to great players as well- even in mid career.  Remember Jeter’s start to the 2004 season? He went about 34 abs in April without a hit slumping so bad that he made the cover of Sports Illustrated.  He busted out by hitting a bomb off of Zito and had a great year thereafter.  I hope Bird hasn’t some hidden contributive injury and I hope this doesn’t end up with him going to AAA.

.280 with 20HR is only .130 ISO? I thought the HR spike meant an associated ISO spike, i.e. more doubles and triples along with.

[9] Yeah, you are correct.  Although I think you assume some 2B will become HRs, not that he will hit more of both.  But yeah, boost that to maybe .160?  I am not sure.

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