May 31, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann (34) hits a double to right field scoring center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (not pictured) in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Rise And Decline: McCann, Robertson, Suzuki, and Soriano


Every year there are players who are start the season on a cold streak and eventually get hot. There are other players who get off to torrid starts, only to slow down as the season progresses. In “Rise And Decline”, I will try to either predict a decline before it occurs or spot one as it’s just beginning. Here are my picks for this week:

RISE CANDIDATES

Brian McCann: The $85 million man has yet to show his worth this season, but a hot streak may not be far off.

McCann is hitting only .232/.288/.384 thus far, but he’s hit 7 home runs and 24 RBI. He’s also been done a great job at preventing stolen bases as his caught stealing percentage (34%) is well above league average (27%.) Still, Yankees fans expect more.

The good news is that over his last four games, McCann is hitting .400 (6-for-15) with 3 doubles (one of which drove in the game-winning run on Saturday.)

This pick was kind of a no-brainer. Anyone who believes that Brian McCann will end the season with an OPS below .700, which has only happened once in his career (2012), doesn’t know much about baseball.

Now would be a perfect time for McCann to get hot because now that Mark Teixeira might be sidelined (wrist), the Yankees will need someone to provide a threat in the middle of their lineup.

David Robertson: Since taking over as the closer, Robertson has saved 12 games in 13 opportunities and has pitched to an ERA of 2.08 and a 0.92 WHIP. He’s also held opponents to a .185 batting average against him. Lately however, he’s taken his game to another level.

In his first 7 games of the season, he struck out only 6 batters in 7 innings pitched. Over his last 10 games, he’s struck out 24 batters in 10.1 innings (including 12 in his last 4.1 innings).

Robertson has ended all speculation about his closing ability and has been exactly what the Yankees were looking for.

DECLINE CANDIDATES

Ichiro Suzuki: So far this season, he’s been a nice surprise for the Yankees. He’s played his way into the everyday lineup (at least until Carlos Beltran returns) by hitting .321 with a .756 OPS. Though it’s nice to see him get off to a good start, there may be trouble looming for the forty-year-old outfielder.

Over his last 10 games, he’s hitting only .240 and has only 1 hit in his last 10 at-bats.

This could be a decline, but maybe it will be fixed with some time off when Beltran returns to right field. It’s just something to keep an eye on for a little while.

Alfonso Soriano: Since the season began, Soriano has looked like a different player. He’s hitting only .235/.262/.408 as well as striking out a stunning amount (52 already).

The slugger has been even worse over his last 10 games, hitting a mere .154 (4-for-26) with 10 strikeouts and only 1 walk. He’s also hitless over his last 8 at-bats.

This is either a tremendously bad slump, or the beginning of a major decline for Soriano in what might be his final season.

 

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