Before the second half officially gets underway, I thought I would take the time to go over the Yankees report cards. This is just fun so please don’t jump all over me if you don’t agree with the grades. I would however like to hear from you if you don’t feel the same way, or even if you do.
OFFENSE – A: The Yankees rank 2nd in all of baseball in runs per game (5.17 R/G), 1st in home runs (123), 5th in stolen bases (81), 2nd in OBP (.340), 3rd in SLG (.444), and 2nd in OPS (.784). Overall, only the Red Sox are better than them.
STARTING PITCHING – B-: They are ranked 5th in the AL in ERA (3.62), 6th in FIP (3.90), and 3rd in xFIP (3.78). Their innings pitched per start is 5th in the league, but they have had trouble getting quality starts, they are 10th in the league in the number and percentage of quality starts.
BULLPEN – A-:The Yankees pen was supposed to be a strengh this year and it has been despite the fact that Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano have been largely absent all season. Their 3.11 ERA is 2nd in the AL, their FIP is 4th at 3.44, and their xFIP drops to 9th at 3.91.
CC Sabathia – A+: Sabathia has once again been the ace of the Yankees staff. He’s their bulldog and he sits 6th in the AL with a 153 ERA+. He also has a 13-4 win-loss record, a 2.72 ERA and has saved the bullpen by tossing 145.2 first half innings. Hard to think of where the Yankees would be without him.
A.J. Burnett – C+: Burnett is not the no. 2 the Yankees need him to be, but he is much improved from last season. His 99 ERA+ ranks 26th amoung AL pitchers. His strikeouts are up slightly compared to last year, but his walks are nearly identical. The difference is that he is holding hitters to just 7.3 H/9, one of the lowest marks of his career.
Phil Hughes – F: Hughes was counted on as being a big part of the rotation this season, but so far he has largely been absent. In just four starts he has a 10.57 ERA and his 2.9 K/9 ratio is laughable. He needs a complete turn around in the second half to salvage his season.
Ivan Nova – B-: This grade is not based so much on how he has done relative to the other starts, but he gets bonus points for being a rookie without many expectations and he has done a solid job. An 8-4 record shows he his 4.12 ERA has been more than serviceable with this offense behind him. He couldn’t have done much more to keep the Yankees from sending him down, he was just a victim of the roster crunch.
Freddy Garcia – B: He also gets bonus points considering what his expectations were, essentially there were no expectations. The Yankees signed him along with a few other washed up veterans and he has actually done a very good job without amazing stuff. His 3.13 ERA is better than anyone could have imagined.
Bartolo Colon – B: He probably would have gotten an A if he hadn’t gotten hurt last month. He is in a similar situation as Garcia, but the odds were probably more against him yet he has done even better. His 3.20 ERA doesn’t show how dominant he has been at times this year.
Mariano Rivera – A: Mo is still Mo after all of these years. Despite being 41 he has a 1.85 ERA.
Rafael Soriano – F: The Yankees pen was supposed to be strong because of him not inspite of him. He struggled when he was healthy and has been injured for most of the season. He is expected back soon, but he’s going to have to improve on his 5.40 ERA to earn the 8th inning role over D-Rob.
Joba Chamberlain – INC: He gets an incomplete because before he went down for the year with Tommy John surgery he was actually having a strong season. He was still somewhat inconsistent, but his bulldog mentality appeared to come back and his 2.83 ERA was strong.
David Robertson – A: With the way the Yankees constructed the bullpen this year it appeared that D-Rob was the odd man out. Two injuries later and he is the most important reliever not named Rivera. He has been phenomenal and has earned a few nicknames this season, Houdini probably being the best. His All-Star appearance was well deserved.
Boone Logan – C-: Logan has been pretty weak on lefties for most of the season. Only over the last month or so has he begun to wake up. His recent resurgence hasn’t kept the Yankees from scouring for lefty relief though. His .259 batting average against lefties is just not cutting it.
Pedro Feliciano – F: He was supposed to be the lefty that made Logan less significant, but Brian Cashman didn’t pay attention to how badly the Mets abused him until it was too late. He’s attempting a comeback, but there is a chance that he never pitches for the Yankees over the course of his entire two year contract.
Russell Martin – D: If not for a big April where he hit .293 with a .963 OPS he would have gotten an F. His defense also saves him from time to time, but over his last 43 games he has a .181 average and a .579 OPS. It has left me wondering why it has taken so long to call Jesus Montero up.
Francisco Cervelli – F: Cervelli is looking more and more like he doesn’t even belong in the majors. His defense is pathetically bad and he has zero power. His .214 average is practically an automatic out and his .549 average could probably be replicated by most minor leaguers. Again, where is Montero?
Jorge Posada – C: Jorge got off to a dredful start, nearly quit on the team and then went on a role as he reclaimed his spot in the lineup. That would have earned him at least a B- unfortunately his month of July has been hard to watch. Over his last nine games he has hit just .136 with a .413 OPS. A small sample size, but at 39 there aren’t too many second chances.
Mark Teixeira – B+: No slow start for Teixeira this year. The only thing that has kept him from getting an A though is his poor .244 batting average. His other numbers are solid though if he could just pick up some more cheap hits he would be golden.
Robinson Cano – B+: Not quite the season he has last year, but still a very strong year for Cano. He is hitting a team high .296 with a .863 OPS. Too bad the Home Run Derby doesn’t count for anything because he put on an absolute show out there.
Derek Jeter – C: Jeter is now 37, he’s having his worst offensive season and his defense is slipping. He has shown more life lately thanks to his pursuit of 3,000. However that doesn’t give him a free pass.
Alex Rodriguez – B: A-Rod hasn’t been able to run for about a month and he’s been in a power outage as well. However his average is still pretty. He’ll be out for a month at which time hopefully he’ll be healed and can help contribute from his regular cleanup spot. He really needs that power to return though as his .485 slugging is easily a career low.
Brett Gardner – B: A poor April had a lot of impatient fans calling for his head, but he has been one of the Yankees most well rounded players since May. backing up amazing defense with a solid .302/.391/.421 line over his last 67 games. He has made the decision to ignore Carl Crawford look like a smart one.
Curtis Granderson – A: He hits lefties, plays great defense, hits for power, steals bags, is a nice guy, and he’s the best center fielder in baseball this year. An MVP candidate, he has powered the Yankees offense from the no. 2 spot in the lineup.
Nick Swisher – C+: Swish is another player who got off to a poor start, but since the end of May he has turned it on. Over his last 38 games he has a .302 average with a .986 OPS. Hopefully that will continue into the second half because with him hitting the Yankees easily have the best outfield in baseball.
Eduardo Nunez – C+: He did a solid job filling in for Jeter when he filled in while he was hurt and he should do a solid job filling in for A-Rod next month. The biggest problem is defensive consistency, which he has none of. His .279 average and .752 OPS are both solid for a backup infielder and a rookie though.
Andruw Jones – D: He was hired to hit lefties and he is no Marcus Thames, but he has at least been passable. A .231 average and a .761 OPS could be better. Too bad Thames couldn’t play defense because he was perfect for that role.
OVERALL – A-: The Yankees are currently just one game out of first place despite the fact that nobody believed in their rotation. Colon and Garcia have been the key, they have pitched well beyond what anybody could have reasonably expected. If they can keep that up in the second half and Brian Cashman can add a piece or two to strengthen the team then they should have no problem making the playoffs. If Colon and Garcia hold up the entire year and Hughes even begins to resemble his old self then the Yankees could even go deep into October. So far I would say it has been an exciting season.