Grading the Yankees through 42 games

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the world of average baseball.  Most of the Yankees are not the players we thought they were.  Granted, we are 42 games into the season with 120 still left…but in the words of the immortal Hunter S. Thompson, “Its time, I thought, for an agonizing reappraisal of the whole situation”.  There weren’t many ‘experts’ that didn’t pick the Yankees for the postseason at the beginning of the year.  The way they are playing now, we’ll be lucky to keep our heads above .500…nothing else to say.

To qualify for a grade, a player (hitter) must participate in at least 35 games.  All stats are current as of 22 May.  The grade in parentheses is their mark from last assessment.

HITTERS

Curtis Granderson- (B) B

“The Grandyman” has played in all 42 games and leads the team in OPS (.895), home runs with 13, and 27 runs scored.  His biggest downside is his K% that sits at just over 25 percent and has the lowest contact rate of all regulars (71.3%).

Robinson Cano- (C+) B-

Cano has improved a bit from last month but his production should be higher as a three/four/five hitter.  I’d like to see and improvement over his .303 average and his OPS is a tad low at .832.  Just 16 RBI with six GDP is not acceptable for a middle order hitter.

Derek Jeter- (A+) A

Jeter is basically doing it all for the Yanks.  .343 batting average, .380 wOBA, 60 hits and a team-best 86.5 contact percentage.  His grade takes a slight hit due to his -6.6 UZR and .979 fielding percentage as well as six GDP.

Alex Rodriguez- (C) C

A-Rod is simply not getting the job done in the middle of the lineup.  His inability to get important hits is reflected in his meager 15 RBIs and 5 home runs.  He has risen his batting average 25 points but his OPS has dropped just as much to .779.  His defense and a solid .355 wOBA are enough to keep his grade where it was.

Mark Teixeira- (B-) D

The biggest disappointment is Tex.  Though he’s battling an URTI, a .227 batting average, .290 wOBA, and a paltry .667 OPS are bottom of the order numbers.  He needs to prove he’s a middle of the order hitter again.  He’s a major defensive asset, which is why he’s passing…barely.

Nick Swisher- (B) C

Swish came off the DL guns blazing but has cooled off quite a bit hitting .245 with a .780 OPS.  He IS tied for the team lead in RBI with 27 but also has a 21.4 percent strikeout rate.  He needs to level out his inconsistencies to get his grade back up.

Russell Martin- (C-) D-

Easily the worst offensive player on the team and if it wasn’t for his defense (.991 FP) and lack of effective catching depth, he’d be sitting more than playing.  While he’s the team’s most patient hitter (14% O-Swing rate), you’re not going to be making much of a case for yourself hitting .181 with a .305 wOBA and a terrible .656 OPS.

Raul Ibanez- (C+) B

Ibanez has really started to make an impact with 9 home runs and a tie with Swisher knocking in 27 runs.  He and Jeter appear to be the only ones not hit with ‘age sickness’.  His .263 average is a little low, but his .378 wOBA is on par with the best on the team.  His grade can be higher if he can improve on his -1.2 UZR.

PITCHERS

CC Sabathia- (B) B

CC has pitched great for the most part so far.  His 3.78 ERA (3.58 FIP) needs to come down, but 65 Ks, and a roughly three to one K/BB rate are solid for a number one starter.  His 1.21 WHIP and .290 BABIP are right in line with his career averages.

Hiroki Kuroda- (D+) D-

It’s starting to look like Kurdoa isn’t going to be able to hack it in the AL.  He’s currently 3-6 with a 4.56 ERA (5.30 FIP) with a 1.48 WHIP.  His K/BB rate is just slightly below two to one.  A number two starter should not be allowing hitters to have a .278 batting average.

Ivan Nova- (A) C-

Nova has been a major disappointment this month.  Once considered the best starter, he’s currently lobbying for the worst.  He leads all starters with a 9.55 K/9 rate but has by far the worst BAA at .322 and an even worse BABIP of .393.  His FIP is almost a full run below his ERA, which tells me the defense puts him in rough situations.

Phil Hughes- (D-) C-

Hughes has tightened things up a bit but still isn’t an effective starter.  For a power pitcher, an 8.3 percent swing/miss rate is weak.  His ERA and FIP both stand at 5.23 and teams are hitting .273 against him.  He’s nothing more than a below average pitcher at this point.

Andy Pettitte- (NA) B

Pettitte had a rough first outing and then pitched a gem in start number two.  He still has quite a bit to prove but has a 1.05 WHIP and teams are hitting just .216 against him.  He also has by far the best LOB% rate of all starters with 90.2 percent.  A 2.51 ERA vs. a 4.07 FIP shows he’s gotten a lot of defensive help.

Bullpen- (A+) A

There is a slight drop in grade due to the loss of Rivera and Robertson and some so-so pitching from middle relief.  Right now I consider Boone Logan the best reliever we have.  A 16.8 percent whiff rate coupled with nearly 14 K/9 and a 1.90 FIP (3.18 ERA).  Freddy Garcia has done OK in long relief and Cory Wade is the unsung hero (.095 WHIP, 10:1 K/BB rate).  Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley need to be more consistent but still are not bad mop up guys.

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17 Responses to Grading the Yankees through 42 games

  1. Mike Sommer says:

    My biggest disappointment with Granderson is this: why isn't he running anymore? This is a guy with speed who went 26 for 27 in SB one year, and had other years with 25 and 20? Has he become power-drunk? He has only attempted to steal three times so far this year. Where's the speed dimension to his game gone?

    • mlblogsaugustine says:

      I think because runs have been so hard to come by lately, they are afraid to send anyone. Once the production picks up and they start hitting w RISP, we'll start to see the steals come back.

    • I wonder if it might be that Girardi won't give him the green light. With injuries to Gardner and Swisher, Girardi might figure that it isn't worth the risk.

  2. cmclark says:

    Well done Michael. Very accurate grades and assessment of the team so far. It's just so painful to watch. If anyone is up with a chance to help our staff, nobody is coming through. The fact that Ibanez has been the best hitter lately is great cause for concern. If Grandy isn't hitting a bomb, he's striking out. If Tex is up, well he's getting out. If Russ is at the plate it's a ground ball to the 3B. Everyone is pressing and it's showing.

    • mlblogsaugustine says:

      Right now anyway, we are nowhere near as good as expected. I have a bad feeling we are going to be struggling for a playoff spot despite the O's being for real or not (I don't think they are).

  3. hotdog says:

    good job Michael, maybe a few question marks but overall a good assessment…i might have given Kuroda a little higher marks but not much higher…i would also say that Hughes is keeping the team in ballgames…he makes the bullpen work, so that is a major disadvantage but he could put in a respectable season…it would be interesting if you graded Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi but that would be much more subjective…

    • mlblogsaugustine says:

      I come down hard on Kuroda because he's making 10 million this year pitching like a league-minimum guy. I think Cashman blew it on that one.
      Hughes IS keeping the team in ballgames but he isn't pitching anywhere near as good as he can (see 2010).

      You make an interesting point. Maybe I will do an article on Cashman and/or Girardi and staff

  4. rbabcock says:

    how can a hitting coach or manager watch all major league teams put a infield switch on halve there team
    these guys are not that good to do it
    the whole league knows they are taught one way of hitting pull
    almost got jeter till he went down and was relearn by a real hitting coach
    stupid just plain stupid

  5. mike says:

    wow you must hate phil hughes. he's been very solid lately, and he is better than "below average". you wanna see below average, look at clay bucholz.

    • Fred says:

      I think he's talking about the total body of work. Hughes is pitching well right now, but like anyone else we can't tell which is the real Hughes: the disaster area from the beginning of the year or the pitcher he's been lately.

      Its probably somewhere in between.

    • mlblogsaugustine says:

      Well, I expect Hughes, with his intangibles, to be a 15 game winner with a sub-four ERA and the ability to blow hitters away with his fastball.

  6. Gonzalo says:

    Jeter is our best hitter right now and thanks to a different coach.
    Long has to be accountable for this offense

  7. David K. says:

    When Granderson with his strikeout or home run swing is your best hitter, that means the rest of your offense really sucks. They better wake up soon or the season will be ka-put. As for Kuroda, what moron did not know Kuroda would suck in the AL east? Oh, right, Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankee front office that supported that move. As far as Phil Hughes, I thought he was bound for the bullpen, but he is proving me wrong. He is now the number 2 starter. Shows how much patience you need to have with young pitchers. But who knows when he'll fall off a cliff again. I can't solve Hughes.

  8. mlblogsaugustine says:

    Thanks to everyone for reading. I really appreciate it.