Mike Tauchman has become the face of the 2019 Yankees. The Replacement Yankees have played more than the expected and real Yankees this season and Tauchman’s breakout over the last five weeks has made him a household name in the Tri-state area.
Tauchman is batting .300/.381/.579 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs in 65 games and 215 plate appearances. Those numbers translate to 30 home runs and 102 RBIs over 162 games, and with a .960 OPS, Tauchman would be an MVP candidate, and a nine-figure contract candidate if he were entering free agency.
This has all essentially happened since July 4 and over his last 95 plate appearances, as he’s batting .417/.484/.821 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs in that time and a ridiculous 1.306 OPS.
This week’s questions and comments are focused on Tauchman, who has been the best hitter in baseball over the last month.
It’s important to apologize when we are wrong. But don’t feel ashamed. We as Yankees fans expect more out of our players than your average baseball fans. – Christina
Thank you, Christina. I appreciate the kind words in regards to my apology to Mike Tauchman last week for anything negative I have written or said about him this season.
Since his first day as a Yankee, I do not see how anyone had any doubt about his ability, desire and team focus. Maybe if they like controversy, loud mouths or flowing hair and jewelry, would one not like him, but from an understanding of baseball, no doubts. – Jim
Unless you’re Tauchman, a family member of his, the front office employee who suggested or recommended the Yankees acquire him or the biggest Yankees homer of all time, it’s tough to believe you didn’t have doubts about his ability. Tauchman has been the best hitter in baseball for the last month, but in his first 120 plate appearances this season, he was hitting .208/.300/.387. It was impossible not to doubt Tauchman earlier this year as a 28-year-old with minimal major league experience and no success at this level.
As for the comments about Clint Frazier without naming Clint Frazier, there was a debate between the two when it looked like the Yankees were giving away everyday at-bats to Tauchman (when he couldn’t hit) over Frazier (and his .843 OPS in the majors), but now that Tauchman’s hitting, he’s deserving of playing every day, while Frazier continues to work on his defense in Triple-A.
I don’t really think the Yankees have a problem with Frazier. They went with Tauchman at the end of June because they needed a fourth outfielder and they would rather have the 24-year-old Frazier playing every day. Then when Giancarlo Stanton got hurt, Tauchman was given a chance to play more and he ran with it. Had Tauchman continued to hit the way he had in April, May and June, Frazier would have been back up.
Right now, Frazier doesn’t fit on the roster. The four-man rotation is Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin and Tauchman. Judge is Judge, Gardner isn’t going anywhere and Maybin is playing the best baseball of his career. The next time we’ll see Frazier is in September.
Mike Tauchman has completely surpassed the punk Clint Frazier on the Yankees, in my opinion. – John
Tauchman’s roster spot in 2019 shouldn’t be about Tauchman vs. Frazier anymore. It was briefly when Stanton went back on the injured list before the London series, but it’s no longer. If another everyday spot in the outfield opened up, Frazier would get the call.
The Tauchman-Frazier debate will be back for the 2020 season, and it will be one wild and controversial debate, if both players are still Yankees then.
Tauchman should be a starter along with Frazier, Maybin and Urshela. – Keith
If your wish came true, the Yankees’ defensive alignment would be something like this:
C: Gary Sanchez
1B: Luke Voit
2B: DJ LeMahieu/Gleyber Torres
3B: Gio Urshela
SS: Didi Gregorius/Gleyber Torres
LF: Clint Frazier
CF: Cameron Maybin
RF: Mike Tauchman
That would mean one of LeMahieu, Torres or Gregorius wouldn’t start, and the one not starting would be up for the DH spot against Stanton, Hicks and Judge. That would be a lot of money and talent sitting on the bench.
We needed a lefty in this lineup. And once again Cash found a guy with no big name to make a big splash and I think could be our next year everyday left fielder to replace Gardy. – AJ
Brian Cashman and his team have done an outstanding job in recent years of finding diamond-in-the-rough position players like Tauchman, Luke Voit and Gio Urshela. If only Cashman and his team were as good at finding, acquiring, signing or developing starting pitching.
If you’re the general manager of one of the other 29 teams (or 27 really since the Yankees won’t do business with the Red Sox or Mets, or those two teams won’t do business with the Yankees) and Cashman calls asking about one of your Triple-A position players, you might want to hold on to that player and give them a chance to play.
Tauchman being a left-handed bat has helped balance the lineup with Hicks and Gregorius being the only other two left-handed options. If the Yankees ever get completely healthy for the playoffs, I don’t think Tauchman will be in the lineup despite how good he’s been. Stanton would be in left field and Edwin Encarnacion would be the designated hitter. Unless the Yankees go with right-lefty and lefty-righty matchups, Tauchman is going to be on the bench in October for bigger names and owed money.
As for next season, I will believe Gardner isn’t getting another one-year deal when he finally doesn’t. I was all for Michael Brantley over a Gardner return this season, and the Yankees went with Gardner as soon as free agency began. Gardner isn’t hitting like Brantley, but does have a career-best .817 OPS. There’s a good chance Gardner will be signed to be the Yankees’ “fourth outfielder” for 2020, and he will end up being an everyday player again since the Yankees’ outfield can’t stay healthy.
My book The Next Yankees Era: My Transition from the Core Four to the Baby Bombers is available!