Just like in any other team in the midst of a playoff race, a team will have their top hitters demonstrating their talent and consistency at the top of lineup. What they might also have are guys who exceed expectations or will give the team a boost come games in a crucial playoff race. For the Yankees, Chase Headley and Ronald Torreyes have stepped it up for them in the 2nd half.
For Chase Headley, he had a really up and down 1st half as he came right out of April hitting .301, had an OPS of .896, and had 3 homers which is the most he’s had in a single month this year. He followed that with a putrid May as he hit .165, had an OPS of .446, and hit no homers. That seemed like the end of his regular playing time, but Joe Girardi stuck with him a bit longer. He went on to have a decent June where he hit .296 and had an OPS of .793. So things started to look up for him heading into the All-Star break.
After the All-Star break, he has a slash line of .314/.384/.482 and has matched his home run total from the 1st half with 4 homers. Could make an argument that the move from regularly playing 3rd base to becoming the starting 1st basemen was helpful towards his offensive game as he’s slashed .306/.377/480 since being moved there. His defense has also improved as he’s only committed 1 error at 1st. Granted, he hasn’t played too many games there, but still made an impact both offensively and defensively. Possibly his biggest game in the 2nd half was when he hit a pinch-hit go-ahead homer last month against the Rays. Although the Rays tied the game two innings later, it woke up the offense and sent a huge adrenaline rush throughout the stadium. In the 1st half he was one of the most loathed players by the fans, but with his 2nd half play, fans see him as a crucial contributor, for the most part at least.
Now for Ronald “Toe” Torreyes who had a decent 1st half as he slashed .278/.308/.364 and spent the April filling in for the injured Didi Gregorius at shortstop. He was just looked at by many as utility-bench guy who started when others needed rest. Sounds obvious, but that soon changed. Fast forward to the 2nd half, where he received more playing time after Starlin Castro was sidelined with a hamstring injury. He is slashing .333/.341/.407 after the All-Star break while playing tremendous defense. The argument can be made that moving him to regularly play 2nd helped him offensively, since he’s slashing .336/.359/.432 when he’s played there this season. He has been really big offensively helping out whenever he can and defensively by playing multiple positions and playing them well. He’s quickly become a super utility-man providing tons of value for them.
After having 1st halves that probably won’t be heavily remembered, Headley and Toe have proved to be valuable players among the Yankees other stars on its team. If they continue to keep it up, they may as well factor in whether or not the Yanks win a wild card spot or the division.
Photo Credits: Newsday