After 16 games (roughly 10 percent of the season) gone, let’s take a look at the progress report for the 2012 Yankees. Each batter must have at least 10 games played to qualify for a grade. All stats present are as of 24 April.
Derek Jeter- A+
‘El Capi-tan’ is hitting .411 with a 1.080 OPS, scored 14 runs, and is making great contact (85.6%). He’s also playing good defense with a .952 RZR through 119.1 innings. No question the best player on the team right now.
After a weak start, the ‘Grandyman’ is hitting .281 with a .996 OPS. He leads the team with six home runs but also 18 strikeouts. He continues to play invaluable defense but still seems to be a bit reckless at the plate with a 31.8% O-Swing rate.
Robinson Cano- C+
The team’s best pure hitter currently has the second worst OPS (.736) and a paltry .149 ISO (Isolated Power). He is putting the ball in play with a 91.4% contact rate, but despite that, he leads the team in double play hits with 5 (2nd in MLB). Don’t expect the batting average to stay anywhere near .254 for long.
Expectations are high for A-Rod to have a bounce-back season but he’s struggling early. Having early problems with lefties (as mentioned here), he’s holding a .250 average. And for a guy typically hitting in the cleanup spot, a .183 ISO coupled with a .800 OPS is a bit too low. His defense is still solid making only one error in 106.1 innings at third base.
Mark Teixeira- B-
Tex is showing signs of breaking out after the last few games. Hitting .270 with a .810 OPS can give Yankees fans hope that his typical slow start might be over. His defense is never a question.
Nick Swisher- B
Swish has gotten some pretty important hits lately and posts a .894 OPS after 64 at-bats. He has 4 home runs and a .281 ISO, but 12 Ks to 8 walks needs to be improved.
Raul Ibanez- C+
The newest Yankee has done a serviceable job thus far. After 40 at-bats, he’s hitting .275 with only two strikeouts and two home runs. He’s swinging a bit too freely (33.3% O-Swing) yet keeps the ball in play for productive outs (I’d like to see a BIT more pop, though). Anytime he’s forced into the outfield, it’s an adventure. Speaking of adventure…
The only thing keeping Nun’E’ from getting an ‘A’ is his sketchy defense. After 26 at-bats Nunez is posting a.385 average, .856 OPS, 5 runs, 3 stolen bases (leads the team). He’s patient at the plate (20.8% O-Swing) and makes contact on 92.1 percent of his swings.
Russell Martin- C-
No one can argue he calls a great game behind the plate and can rival anyone for best defensive catcher. However, Russell is showing anything but muscle hitting .179 and a team-worst .667 OPS with 1 home run and 11 strikeouts. Given his incredibly low 13.4% O-Swing rate, he’s making good choices at pitches to swing at…but he’s just not making them count.
CC Sabathia- B
The staff ace had two bad starts followed by two good ones. After 27.1 innings pitched, he has a high 5.27 ERA vs a 3.41 FIP. His 1.24 WHIP is the best of all the starters. CC’s 9.88 K/9 and a 2.30 BB/9 show he’s still a great command pitcher.
Hiroki Kuroda- D+
Kuroda might still be adjusting to a different league but for $10 million, he needs to pitch A LOT better. Batters are hitting .311 against him and his 4.77 FIP is approaching his 5 runs per 9 innings. His K/BB rate is 2-to-1 with a 1.61 WHIP.
Ivan Nova- A
Nova has been the luster on the rust of the Yankees pitching staff. He’s won all of his starts, averages nine strikeouts to just less than one walk per nine innings, and strands nearly 90 percent of his allowed base runners. Nova might have benefited from some good luck as his FIP is nearly 0.20 higher than his ERA (fairly uncommon) and holds the highest batting average against of all the starters with a .321 average.
Phil Hughes- D-
Hughes is one bad start away from failing. While he has a 10.13 K/9 rate, only Freddy Garcia eclipses his awful ERA. Hughes has a team-worst 5.94 FIP. Unless he does a 180 in the next month or two, the 18-win Hughes from 2010 was nothing more than a flash in the pan.
I don’t think there is much I have to say to convince you of the legitimacy of this grade. 9.75 ERA, .370 BAA, 47.2 LOB percent, 84.2 percent contact rate…need I go on?
A big reason the Yankees are hanging in games is the bullpen. David Robertson and Boone Logan have both pitched 8 innings and have stranded every runner they’ve had on when pitching. Cory Wade (8.2 IP), Logan, Robertson also have over 12 K/9 and all have a below 1.00 FIP. David Phelps is the workhorse pitching 12.1 innings, holding hitters to a .163 batting average, and stranding over 85 percent of base runners. And then there is Mo who, no matter what, still appears that he always will be Mo.