The New York Yankees third baseman, Chase Headley, has suddenly caught fire and has hopefully made his ghastly slump a matter of history.
By Christian Kouroupakis
The slump that seemed as though would last forever has officially become no more, and no one is more thrilled about it than New York Yankees‘ third baseman Chase Headley himself.
It was the kind of struggle that would make little leaguers turn to their teammates and yell “move in” or maybe even “going to be one out” and quite honestly, you truly started to feel for the man who once finished fifth in the National League MVP voting.
Coming off a year in which featured as a severe disappointment thanks to a career-high 23 errors and a .259/.324/.369 slashline with only 11 home runs, his team had no idea that the worst was yet to come.
In the month of April here in 2016, Headley remained not only below the Mendoza line but didn’t even hit his body weight as he slashed .150/.268/.150 and failed to record an extra-base hit. In fact, New York Mets‘ pitcher Bartolo Colon recorded his first extra-base hit before he did.
General manager Brian Cashman traded for the man who hit 31 dingers, won a gold-glove, and was an all-star back in 2012 but what they got was merely a shadow of it.
Thankfully for his organization and the sanity of the Yankee world, this homestand became a turnaround for the switch-hitter.
First, on Thursday, he snapped a gruesome streak of 126 plate appearances without an extra-base hit that began towards the conclusion of last season. He has three of them in the past four days.
Since recording his first extra-base hit, he has seen his batting average rise 26 points (from .174 to .200). In the past week, Headley owns a .350 batting average (.333 in last nine) including two home runs and six RBI.
He capped off the home stretch in dramatic fashion by slapping a pinch-hit, two-out, go-ahead RBI double to the center field in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the Yankees to victory on Sunday afternoon.
“He went through a really hard time,” manager Joe Girardi told MLB.com. “And it was for a while. But he has pulled himself out of it, and he had a huge hit for us today.”
The truth of the matter is, every ballplayer experiences a cataclysmic slump. After all, it’s a part of the beautiful yet backstabbing game of baseball.
All slumps reach a finish line at one point or another, but while they are occurring every aspect of the game (maybe even life) becomes helpless for the victim. Sleepless nights, different routines, bad habits, and sometimes pondering if you’ll ever record another base hit again are just some of the many things you’d do while in a slump.
A greater amount of people assumes a slump’s source is located by a flaw in mechanics but in reality, what causes an ongoing absence of production is all mental. Physical predicaments are far more simple and identifiable and can be corrected within a day or two.
So how does one just break out of something that has an incredible amount of wear and tear on your mentality? It’s basic, yet it’s what the New York Yankees third baseman has been doing throughout this dismal period of time. Think positive.
I know, I know. What’s so positive about his conventional statistics for anything beneficial to be pulled out? Well, it’s not conventional, but Stat Cast’s exit velocity had a lot of uplifting numbers to show Headley.
As of right now, Headley’s average exit velocity is at 86.5 MPH which means that he deserves more favorable results than the ones he’s been getting. Of course, the fact that his ISO figure was .000 heading into May, the exit velocity numbers could be proved to be a fallacy.
Nevertheless, all it took for Headley was a positive attitude, a little rest on the bench, and even some encouragement from his teammates.
“It’s been a strange year,” Headley told Biran Hoch of MLB.com. “I think my numbers are probably better left-handed which is crazy because I’ve felt unbelievable at the plate right-handed this year and just haven’t gotten any hits that way. Who knows? I’ve gotten to the point where it’s time to look forward and stop worrying about that. You can’t go back and change that.”
If he had remained in a negative mindset and constantly think about the failures that occurred in the month of April, Headley would be setting himself up for more failure. Failures, regardless of who you are, are needed to earn the result of success.
Everyone knows that Headley will be nowhere close to the former All-Star he once was, but he truly has developed a tactic to conquer his current state of failure.