Monday, June 10, 2013

Jayson Nix: The Most Important Replacement-Level Player Around

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Almost as if to troll the growing group of writers and fans out there who keep wondering what he sees in Jayson Nix, Joe had him out there again last night starting at third base and batting 7th.  This came a day after he started Nix at shortstop and batted him second.  The constant usage of Nix in spots better suited for better players is starting to become a bit of a running joke in Yankeeland, as Joe's preference for a guy he constantly tags with the "just a ballplayer," "just knows how to play" label continues to defy logic or any kind of statistical analysis.  Naturally Nix came up with 3 hits, 2 RBI, and 2 SB in those 2 games - both Yankee victories - and so continues one of the stranger replacement-level seasons in recent memory.

Nix currently sports a .256/.324/.311 batting line on the season (.284 wOBA, 73 wRC+).  That's obviously not good and in a normal situation he'd spend most of his week glued to the bench.  The Yankees' situation this season has been anything but normal, though, and Nix is actually 6th on the team in games played (54) and plate appearances (187).  He's had to play more at third base than the team first anticipated because of Kevin Youkilis' nagging back issues, and he's recently been combined with Reid Brignac to form one of the most pathetic SS platoons this side of the Little League World Series.  His status as a warm healthy body is the sole source of his value and I guess you could say he's using it to his advantage.

Jayson Nix is not a good baseball player.  Far from it.  Despite a decidedly below-average offensive performance and some absolutely brutal errors in the field, he's still registered as a positive fWAR player this season at 0.3.  That value has come almost entirely from his high amount of playing time, and that playing time has come from a combination of injuries and Joe's loyalty to him that Nix continues to reward with games like Saturday's.

Nix has actually had 10 hits in his last 10 games, and has scored or driven in a run in 8 of those games.  He keeps doing just enough to keep himself on the field and just enough to turn his obvious lack of talent into something positive.  As long as he stays healthy, he's going to continue to be one of the most frustrating and also important players on this roster.


jay robertson said...

Why SHOULDN'T Joe put him out there every day? As you yourself just pointed out below, Jayson, for the last ten games or so, has been remarkably better than Robbie. But Robbie keeps going onto the field and killing rallies, ending the inning.

Bases loaded, one out - I'll take Nix over Robbie right now. Nix will try; Nix will at least flail at a ball that's in the air, not on the bounce.

I think the only reason Wells and Youk are still on the team is so there will be someone worse than Cano in uniform.

Anonymous said...

It just amazes me that the yanks would value reid brignac over say an alex.gonza:lez who was just released by the brewers...13 yr veteran...slick fielder who has some pop and has a. 246 lifetime ave??? But yet they cry and moan about having brignac and the injuries...yanks have the lowest batting ave of any team out of their.combined ss play....also remember they said they had no betancourt who has won 3 or 4 games for the brewers with walk offs and clutch late inning hits....remarkable and incompetent..frankly