The New York Yankees are on a hot start to begin the 2017 season, with much of that being thanks to third baseman Chase Headley.
Following Sunday’s victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Yankees have moved their winning streak to seven consecutive games. Much of this could be accredited to third baseman Chase Headley.
So far to begin the 2017 season, Headley has done everything the Yankees have asked of him and more. He currently sits second in the American League for batting average and first in on-base percentage.
A .410/.531/.615 slash line is not quite what the Yankees were expecting from the switch-hitter to begin the season, but they will definitely take it with no problem.
While this type of production will obviously not be sustainable for Headley throughout the season, there is no reason fans shouldn’t expect him to remain a solid piece in the lineup. Who knows, maybe he is feeling like it is 2012 all over again.
In 2012 with the San Diego Padres, Headley slashed .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs and 115 RBI’s while finishing fifth in National League MVP voting.
It is still too early to say that the third baseman will finish top five in MVP voting in 2017, but by the looks of it so far, he certainly has a chance to do so.
In his at-bats to begin the year thus far, Headley has taken a vintage approach to getting on-base. He is letting the game come to him and not trying to do too much, which is the reason for his high on-base percentage.
It has also been beneficial to the 32-year old that Aaron Judge is batting behind him, so he has been getting much more pitches to hit than he did last season, and he is taking full advantage of this.
While Headley producing at this type of level offensively is something to take note of, fans should also take into account how the third baseman is proving himself to be a legitimate threat on the basepaths.
So far, the former silver slugger has three stolen bases in just 11 games this season. Considering he only had eight all of last season, this is pretty encouraging.
Also, it should be noted that Headley did not single bag during the 2015 season, which leaves many wondering where the speed has come from.
There is a simple answer to these questions, it’s not that Headley’s speed has changed, it’s that he has become a much more aggressive player for whatever reason this season.
Part of Headley becoming more aggressive could have to do in part with top third base prospect Miguel Andujar, who is currently knocking on the door to Headley’s spot in the Bronx.
MLB Pipeline currently ranks Andujar as the Yankees tenth top prospect with an estimated big league debut of 2018. After seeing his talent in spring training, Headley might have realized that in order to keep his spot he would have to step up a bit.
Headley has certainly done this, going from the weakest link in the lineup last year according to many fans to the most solid hitter so far in the lineup this season.
The bottom line to be drawn from all of this is that Chase Headley is no fluke, he has the aggression and the past to keep up this spectacular play and help bring the Yankees back to postseason baseball in 2017.