Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is It Time To Fire Kevin Long?

Greetings and salutations everyone. How’ve you been? I hope you’ve all been well. Things are pretty good with me. The family is well. The kids are getting big. The wife and I are expecting our 4th right around Halloween. We’re not finding out what we’re having but if it’s a boy and born on Halloween, I want him to have the first name Michael, middle name Myers. The wife has already put the squash on that dream. What’s up with that? Women.

Wow, it’s been a while since I last posted. It looks like my last post was in October of 2012. As I’m sure you can imagine a person with 3 kids (ages 3, 5, and 6) doesn’t have a ton of free time. But after the Yankees lost last night to the A’s I felt compelled to temporarily come out of retirement and fire off a blog post about Kevin Long’s ability, or possibly inability, to serve as the Yankees’ hitting coach. It’s been painfully apparent for years that the Yankees offense has been underperforming. They always seem to fail when it comes to hitting with runners in scoring position. They never seem to fare well when facing a pitcher they’ve never seen before. Those are my perceptions and I know many of you share those perceptions as well. Perception, as they say, is reality. It may not necessarily be true but that’s how it looks.

Now I’m not sure how much of these “failures” are the result of Kevin Long’s coaching. I was up until about 1:30am last night looking at the Yankees’ batting stats at a team level (You guys better appreciate this!! Insert smiley face emoticon here) I looked at totals for the 7+ seasons that Long has been the hitting coach (he was hired in 2007) and compared them to the team totals from 1996-2006 (I stopped at the strike). I know it’s not a direct apples to apples comparison as some factors change. Players come and go. Old Yankee Stadium vs. new Yankee Stadium. You get my drift. But Long has been a constant over the last 7+ years so there may be some merit in the numbers. I’m not going to pretend to be an advanced stats nerd either. I know a little about sabremetircs but not enough to know what I’m looking at. I also don’t have the time for that research. As that lady from the video says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” I looked at the basic stats. The newspaper stats if you will. It still paints a picture. And it’s not a picture I’m very fond of.

Team batting average under Long: .268
Team batting average from 1996-2006: .278

Team on base percentage under Long: .343
Team on base percentage from 1996-2006: .357

Team slugging percentage under Long: .438
Team slugging percentage from 1996-2006: .450

Team OPS under Long: .781
Team OPS from 1996-2006: .807

Seeing a trend here?

Average hits per season under Long: 828
Team average hits per season from 1996-2006: 890

Average doubles per season under Long: 286
Team doubles hits per season from 1996-2006: 298

Average triples per season under Long: 25
Team triples hits per season from 1996-2006: 22

Average HRs per season under Long: 202
Team average HRs per season from 1996-2006: 206

Average runs scored per season under Long: 828
Team average runs scored per season from 1996-2006: 890

Average walks per season under Long: 588
Team average walks per season from 1996-2006: 646

Average strikeouts per season under Long: 1101
Team average strikeouts per season from 1996-2006: 1013

Average sac flies per season under Long: 45
Team average sac flies per season from 1996-2006: 51

So the only statistic that works out in favor of the “Long Yankees” is triples (3 more per season on average under Long). I find that interesting. And again, let me restate, that I know it’s not an apples to apples comparison. But there is something there, right? Pretty much every basic offensive statistic is down under Long’s tenure as hitting coach.

We have to put some of this blame on Brian Cashman as he’s the man bringing the players to Long. It’s obvious something isn’t working. Things need to change. If only The Boss were around to make that happen. The Steinbrenner boys are soft compared to the old man. That needs to change.

I hope you guys enjoyed my return to blogging. I’ll try to do it more often but I make no promises. Until next time. Take care.

Peace, love and Pinstripes


PS: if you want you can follow me on Twitter at @jboogiedown. I tweet regularly and it’s usually about the Yankees.