Watching the Yankees jump up 8-0 on the Tigers in Wednesday night´s game is pure jubilation. Have you noticed how they have been racking up some big innings lately?
As strikeouts increase throughout baseball, and batters tee off for the fences, ESPN has come up with a stat it calls ¨The Smash Percentage.¨which it unveils in ¨The Numbers¨by Peter Keating in ESPN The Magazine.
Smash Percentage is the latest upgrade to measuring power potential. It basically measures a player´s total bases as compared to hits. Simply put, How hard did he ¨smash¨ it?
Interestingly, even though they have struggled at times to score runs in 2014, the Yankees have their share of Smashers. Going into Wednesday´s game, Brian McCann had a smashing percentage of 1.64. Carlos Beltran was at 1.76, Mark Teixeira was at 1.85 and Martin Prado smashed at 1.86. Perhaps the Yankees’ biggest surprise in 2014 is Brett Gardner, who is at 1.61.
To put it into perspective, had the stat been calculated in 1919, Babe Ruth would have been the first to break the 2.0 barrier with a 2.256 smash percentage. That would have remained the record until Roger Maris would have broken it in 1961 with a percentage of 2.302, adding even more testament to his wonderful production. Another memorable Yankee, Steve ¨Bye Bye¨ Balboni, would have finished in 16th place on the All -Time Career Slam Percentage list, just behind Mike Schmidt.
The Babe and Lou Gehrig would have made the 1927 Yankees the first team ever with two players with a percentage over 2.0. That was the year that The Babe had more home runs by himself than many teams had total.
Baltimore is leading the AL East with a team Smash Percentage of 1.6, not much higher than the Yankees 1.5. Even the Colorado Rockies, whose offense is excelling, are barely higher than the Yanks, also with a 1.6.
So what does this all mean? Let´s say this year´s playoffs become an extension of the regular season. And let´s say that teams rely even more on smashing it out as they face only the opponent´s best pitchers.
In that scenario, the Yankees are capable of playing smash ball with anyone. And the evidence is beginning to show. They just have to get there first.