Sean Casey’s ineffective Yankees comeback will be hindered by Aaron Judge

If we’re being honest, there’s no other way to root than for the best-case scenario when it comes to Sean Casey, the new hᎥtting coach for the Yankees. During his twelve years in the major leagues, Casey was a fantastic player. He was a lifetime.302 hᎥtter who continued to hᎥt well into his late years, finishing his career in Boston in 2008 with a.322 average. He was named to three All-Star teams.

When visiting New York from Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, or Detroit, Casey was also the kind of guy who would go to the ballparks there. He would frequently hold court in front of his locker, in the dugout, or behind the batting cage. The baseball writers could have dubbed the yearly “Good Guy Award” after him if he had ever played in New York.

He goes by “The Mayor,” for gods’ sake. You support men like that. So, let’s assume Casey starts off strong on Friday night in Coors Field, a hitter’s dream, and maintains it there for the remainder of the season. Assume he is as natural at this as he was on television. Let’s assume that the players heed his counsel, value his lengthy and illustrious career as a batter, and award him just A-pluses at the end of the season.

What is the over/under on further wins for the Yankees even if all of that occurs? One? Maybe 1.5? Two? Faith healers are not hᎥtting coaches. On Wednesday, Casey said, “I’m not crҽzy enough to think that I’m gonna come in and all of a suddҽn all nine guys are gonna start hᎥtting because Sean Casey has arrived.” So there’s no need to hazard a guess when we can truly determine that. Judge has only played 49 games this season, little over half of the 91 played by the Yankees, yet according to Baseball Reference, he has a WAR of 2.3. With the exception of Harrison Bader, all of the other Yankees regulars have played much more games and have a WAR of 3.8. Combined.

Now, WAR is one of those statistics that causes some baseball fans to feel uneasy, yet it generally offers an unbiased and impersonal assessment of a player’s worth. In reality, it stands for “wins against replacement.” Even though Judge’s speed this season wasn’t quite as fast as it would be in 2022, he was still on pace for an 8.4. Judge’s number was an astounding 10.6 last year. Judge and virtually an entire crew of Judge’s replacements have already been spotted. Which should clarify the following obvious fαct:

Yankees require Judge to return. To properly break free from the team-wide batting slump that has prevented the Yankees from fully capitalizing on the Rays’ recent cooling off and has actually put them in dangҽr of missing the playoffs entirely, they need him back as soon as possible, but they also need him back healthy.

Was Dillon Lawson a convenient victim? Of course he was. The team average for the Yankees is.231. Josh Donaldson (.152), Giancarlo Stanton (.203), Jose Trevino (.211), Anthony Volpe (.216), DJ LeMahieu (.220), and Jake Bauers (.224) are frequently included in Aaron Boone’s batting order. Is that the fault of the hᎥtting coach?

It’s on his record, I suppose.

Will Sean Casey wave his magic wand and add 40 points to each number? No, he won’t. And none of those guys, not even Donaldson, Stanton, or LeMahieu, who each have two batting titles, can match Aaron Judge’s accomplishments.

That is why the Yankees have such a strong desire for the real Judge. Baseball isn’t basketball, that much is clear now. Baseball’s logic demands that one great player shouldn’t be able to make as much of an impact as one can in basketball.

But if you’ve watched Judge over the past two seasons—and, perhaps more importantly, if you’ve observed how opposing pitchers, pitching coaches, and managers are constantly adjusting their plans while figuring out where they’ll need to pitch Judge late in games—then you know how crucial Judge is to what the Yankees do and who the Yankees are. As astute as ever, Casey made sure that when he was recruited, Judge was his first call. He is undoubtedly the leader, therefore I was very interested in hearing his comments on the offensive.

That is all very wonderful. It’s all for the best. Given that Judge is the team captain, all of that is appropriate. But Casey really only needed to ask Judge one crucial question.