Grading the Yankees at about the halfway point

Last month I misjudged the Yankees as a middle of the road team.  Glad I was way off. Submitted for your approval, here is the final assessment of the first half of Yankee baseball.

 To qualify for a grade, a batter must have at least 200 plate appearances.  All stats are as of 26 June.

HITTERS

Derek Jeter- (A) A-: The past few weeks, he’s dropped off considerably offensively and defensively.  Jeter still leads the team in BA (.304) and hits (93) but he also is the frontrunner in GIDP with 12.  His defense is still pretty spotty as well.

Curtis Granderson- (B) B: Granderson has kept his offensive production steady and might be the best defensive player on the team.  His power has also become invaluable to the lineup with his terrific .261 ISO and .361 wOBA average while leading the team with 21 HRs.  His strikeouts are hovering at roughly one in four at bats.

Robinson Cano- (B-) A: Cano has become the best player on the team, which he should have been all season long.  He has the best wOBA on the team (.396), OPS (.941), and by far the highest WAR (3.5).  One thing he could improve upon is his 32 percent O-Swing rate.

Alex Rodriguez- C) C+: There is plenty of room for improvement for the streaky A-Rod.  The HR potential is still there with 12 home runs, but a dipping ISO (.161) and a .778 OPS is a bit too borderline for the heart of the order.  Defense is still very much there and I believe A-Rod is becoming more suited for the two slot in the lineup.

Mark Teixeira- (D) B: Last marking period had Tex regressing the most.  Now it seems he might be the most improved.  I don’t  think we’ll be seeing him hit much above .270 this year, he’s lifted his average 24 points, wOBA has rocked over 50 points, and pushed his ISO over .200.  He’s also number two on the team with a 1.7 WAR

Nick Swisher- C) B: Swish has picked things up a bit lately after a cool period.  A .268 average with a .356 wOBA makes him one of the more productive hitters on the team (12 HR, 46 RBI).  I’d like to see him draw more walks as his current K/BB rate is over 2 to 1.  His main strength is his ability to get on base, but his OBP is currently fifth on the team.

Russell Martin- (D-) D: I will never question Martin as a catcher, but its been a struggle at bat all year.  Besides a few standout moments, he holds a middle of the road wOBA of .317 with eight home runs and a fair ISO of .187.  I once praised Martin for his plate discipline but it looks like he’s not swinging the bat enough. He needs to improve upon his 57.6 percent Z-Swing rate (team worst).

Raul Ibanez- (B) C+: As Ibanez starts to come back to earth, his power still lingers (.232 ISO, .474 SLG) with his 11 home runs.  His batting average and wOBA have both plunged at least 20 points since his last assessment and his OBP is a bit of a disappointment.  Still, he holds a team-low 11.3 percent strikeout rate.

PITCHERS

CC Sabathia- (B) B+: CC’s ace status comes and goes as he often has one inning where things get a bit out of control.  That inning has come to dictate the outcome of the game in most cases.  However, he’s got a strong 3.45 ERA (3.20 FIP), 102 Ks, four to one K/BB rate, and an 11.4 swing and miss percent.  I’d like to see that 1.27 WHIP come down a tad.

Ivan Nova- (C-) B-: Super Nova has been making incredible strides in his last few outings.  His ERA has gotten to much more manageable 4.25 (4.46 FIP) but it (along with his WHIP) need to come down.  He and CC share the team lead with 9 wins but teams are still averaging .279 against him.  One has to think the return of Pettitte has done wonders for Nova.

Hiroki Kuroda- (D-) C+: Kuroda has also improved tremendously this past month.  He’s got a very good 3.40 ERA, a decent 1.27 WHIP and a .249 BAA.  He’s also given up just eight earned runs in his last five starts and has gone 3-1 in that stretch.  He had a stellar outing against the Indians on the 25th showing he may yet have the stuff to be a number two in the AL.

Phil Hughes- (C-) C: On his pitching days, you don’t know if you’re going to get a great Hughes or a really bad one.   His ERA and FIP sit at a much too high (even for the AL) 4.94 and 5.12 respectively.  His fly ball percentage is too high at 50 percent and his swinging strikes (8.6%) are too low for a power pitcher.

Andy Pettitte- (B) B+: Pettitte has been terrific since his return, although he got beat up in his last start.  Otherwise, a 3.29 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, .225 BAA, and a 11.2 swinging strike percent are tremendous for a number five starter.  And his presence, while unmeasurable, has got to be a factor in the upswing of  Kurdoa, Nova, and (at times) Hughes.

Bullpen- (A) A: Mariano Rivera who?  David whatshisname?  Kidding.  Rafael Soriano has stepped right in for Rivera without really missing a beat and leads the bullpen in ERA (1.65).  Lefty specialist Boone Logan continues to have a huge year with a 2.60 ERA (2.51 FIP) and a four to one K/BB rate (12 K/9).  No reliever has a ERA over 3.40 and there doesn’t appear to be a weak link.  Even Freddy Garcia has finally found his niche on the 2012 Yankees (1.80 bullpen ERA/1.00 WHIP).

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2 Responses to Grading the Yankees at about the halfway point

  1. Mark Panuthso says:

    I mostly agree, Michael, but I take issue with two grades:

    1) Granderson, to date, has a 1.1 WAR and a -14.8 UZR. I'm not a huge fan of UZR, but even conceding some room for error in his favor, his defense has been a liability. He strikes out about 25% of the time and his batting average is sub-250. His 21 home runs are obviously awesome, but they come at the expense of a high strikeout rate. To me, he is playing at only slightly above replacement level. C+

    2) Russell Martin has th same WAR as Granderson but you give him a "D". In my view, you can't gauge catchers by the same criteria as other position players (which is where WAR comes in handy – by assessing value across positions by determing win-shares). I think that catchers perform some "intangibles" that defy metric evaluation, (framing, pitch-calling). He gets a B in my book.

  2. How does Hiroki Kuroda get a C+? That's the most egregious grade in my book. Dude has got a 3.40 ERA overall, a 3.03 ERA over his last 12 starts, and a 2.28 ERA over his last 7 and that's only good for a C+?