3 Yankees players on short leashes as struggles continue

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 11: Joey Gallo #13 of the New York Yankees walks in the dugout before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on April 11, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

So far, so decent for the New York Yankees, who looked a daunting seven-game home set with the Boston Red Sox and AL favorite Toronto Blue Jays dead in the eyes and ended up with a winning record.

That’s a tough early-season slate for many reasons. It’s a measuring stick against top competition before you’re all the way out of bed, for one thing. Perhaps more importantly, though, AL contenders are supposed to perform well in the home games against their top competition, but might scuffle through things in the early going. The Yankees had to bring their A Game from minute one, lest they waste one of very few opportunities to get a jump on their chief competition.

That 4-3 homestand did not come as a reflection of the Yankees clicking on all cylinders, though. Far from it.

In fact, the Bombers won several of those games thanks to their absolutely sterling pitching staff, and in spite of a few black holes and bumps in the road from the rest of the roster.

Early-season knee-jerk overreactions are not to be trusted (yes, especially if the data portends a breakout’s coming…). We know. That being said, due to these players’ recent history in the Bronx, as well as their actual production thus far, it won’t be long before early-season optimism turns to scorn.

Regrettably, none of these three did much of anything in the season’s first two series to quiet down the rumblings.

Patience isn’t necessarily wearing thin, but it’s thinning. This isn’t a warning or a demand. It’s just a statement of fact, and there’s not quite as much leeway for these three parties as they might think.

3 Yankees on short leashes who are struggling in 2022

3. Joey Gallo

All the data in the world says Joey Gallo is about to reenter the upper echelon of major league hitters after a brutal August and Sept. 2021.

Good. He needs it.

Because, for everything that’s clear about Gallo’s player profile (special power, elite exit velocity, affable persona), when the ball’s not carrying, he is a certified impossible watch.

There’s a sect of the fan base he’ll never win over even after carrying the offense for a week at a time. That’s what comes with poor-as-hell optics and a pile of Thurman Munson traditionalists.

That being said … for the rest best-in-class Statcast profilesof us to start sounding a little more confident when defending him, he’s going to need to turn his into production sooner rather than later. The theoretical argument only holds up for so long.

Gallo’s Savant page may be Turning Red, but he’s still missing the whole “being comfortable with yourself” narrative. Through the first two home series, where Gallo played six of seven games, he batted .158 without a home run or RBI, striking out eight times in 19 at-bats. In order to win over the fan base (the reasonables, not the unwinnables), he’ll need to inch that production up towards the projections sooner rather than later.

A 98th-percentile hard-hitter should not be this difficult to defend.