The New York Yankees are currently languishing in the basement of the AL East, and it has been a frustrating season in the Bronx. Former Yankees prospect Ben Ruta has pinned some of these struggles on the organization's all-in approach to analytics.
During a recent episode of the "Foul Territory" podcast, host Scott Braun read out some comments from Ruta, who said big changes are coming for the franchise after its drastic pivot toward analytics did not work out. In particular, Ruta said the MiLB coaches hired by recently fired hitting coach Dillon Lawson may need to be replaced.
"Fully expect them to clear house in the minor leagues," Ruta wrote, per Braun. "All the coaches were brought in by Dillon Lawson and the analytics guys. Lawson is the hitting coach who was let go. They will change developmental culture back to old Yankees days. Keep in mind, I played in the Yanks org. before analytics in '16 to '18, and then after in '18 to '20. Stark difference in development."
Ruta, a 30th-round selection by the Yankees in the 2016 MLB Draft, played in the organization's minor-league system from 2016 to 2020. Ruta said the team did a worse job emphasizing fundamentals after it chose to take a deep dive into analytics.
"Here's all you need to know: In 2020, before COVID, we played a game called pitchers vs. hitters," Ruta wrote. "The only way to win was to walk or hit a ball 95-mph-plus. There is no baseball being taught there anymore. No baserunning, moving runners, fundamentals, etc."
Ruta offered some further explanation on social media, where he said that analytics certainly have a place in baseball. However, he asserted that the frustration stems from the team pointing to the underlying numbers as a reason for optimism when the team is in last place with 41 games left.
"New York is a tough market," Ruta posted. "Fans and media. Analytics are fine BUT when you have a bad product (and it's obvious) and it gets defended by constantly telling you it's not as bad as it looks b/c so and so analytic is actually really good. This is how a fan base gets frustrated."
The Yankees currently rank 31st in team batting average (.231) and 26th in team on-base percentage (.306). They have just over a month left to make some kind of playoff push as they sit 6.5 games back of the final AL Wild Card spot.