Fun with small sample sizes: The worst Yankees offensive seasons of the last 20 years

Last week, I wrote a post highlighting some of the best seasons by a Yankee in a teeny tiny sample size. Today, I’m repeating this exercise for the worst seasons of the last 20 years. From 1994-2013, these Yankees had the lowest wRC+’s in a season in which they had between 50 and 100 plate appearances:

#5) Ben Francisco: 2013

PA’s HR’s Triple Slash wRC+
50 1 .114/.220/.182 13

After being cut by the Indians last spring, Francisco made the Yankees as the right-handed half of their DH platoon. Francisco was all sorts of bad for the Bombers out of the gate last year and was off the team by the end of May. The only thing memorable about Francisco’s stint with the Yankees was when Brian Cashman told a reporter to say he was keeping Francisco around “to piss everybody off.” Following his release, he spent the remainder of 2013 in triple-A with the San Diego Padres.

#4) Luis Cruz: 2013

PA’s HR’s Triple Slash wRC+
59 0 .182/.224/.200 13

It seems appropriate that two players from the 2013 squad appear on this list. Last year’s team was chock full of sub-replacement scrubs and Cruz was just one of the many infielders the Yankees brought into the fold over the course of the season to try to fill the void left by injuries to Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Kevin Youkilis. The Dodgers cut bait with the 29-year-old infielder after an atrocious 45 games to start the season, and the Yankees, desperate for infield help, quickly scooped him up. Cruz spent about three weeks in July playing everyday for the Yankees before a sprained knee ended his season. He’ll spend the 2014 season playing in Japan.

#3) Luis Sojo: 2001

PA’s HR’s Triple Slash wRC+
84 0 .165/.214/.190 7

Sojo closed out the 2000 season by sealing the World Series with a 9th inning hit against the Mets, but his 2001 season didn’t go nearly as well. Sojo spent the entire season on the Yankees’ bench, but ended the year near the bottom of the team’s depth chart. Unsatisfied with Sojo’s performance, the Yankees brought in Enrique Wilson and Randy Velarde, who often got the nod over Sojo. The following year, Sojo would become the manager of the Norwich Navigators, whom he led to the Eastern League championship.

#2) Wil Nieves: 2007

PA’s HR’s Triple Slash wRC+
66 0 .164/.190/.230 3

Nieves broke camp as the Yankees’ backup catcher in 2007, also serving as Mike Mussina‘s personal catcher. However, the Yankees cut bait on Nieves in July when they brought in Jose Molina to be Jorge Posada‘s caddy. Since his unimpressive stint in pinstripes, Nieves has managed to stick around the majors as a glove-first backup catcher.

#1) Dale Sveum: 1998

PA’s HR’s Triple Slash wRC+
64 0 .155/.203/.155 -6

The 1998 Yankees had an excellent season, winning 114 games, but none of that success was thanks to Dale Sveum. Sveum spent the first half of the year acting as depth at first and third base, but was jettisoned in July thanks to his atrocious hitting. Sveum would resurface with the Pirates the following year before calling it quits as a player. In the last few years, Sveum served as the manager of the Brewers and Cubs. This year, he’s serving as the Royals’ third base coach.

About Chris

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, and is an occasional user of the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell
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