We are roughly two months into the 2014 season and there have been some players that have opened eyes, and then there have been players that have made you wonder if they could have played better than they let on. This list is basically the few Yankees that have been pleasant surprises for the first two months of the season because let’s face it, these players all had some question marks coming out of Spring Training. I’ll have another post of the players that I was expecting more out of but have fallen slightly flat later in the afternoon.
1) Dellin Betances: The Yankees tried their hardest to convert Betances into a pitcher for the starting rotation. In fact, Betances was a part of the Killer-B’s along with Andrew Brackman and Manny Banuelos. Fast forward to 2014: Andrew Brackman is no longer with the Yankees, Manny Banuelos is still in the minor leagues and Bentances is a Yankees reliever instead of the starter the Yankees envisioned. Betances has been extremely impressive out of the Yankees bullpen, notching 51 K’s in the Yankees first 51 games, which is the most in that time span in MLB history. I can’t remember a time the Yankees had an extremely dominant reliever. Sure Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Phil Hughes made a good case for themselves as former and current (Robertson) Yankees relievers but so far Betances has been the eye opener.
2) Ichiro Suzuki: When Ichiro came into camp, it didn’t seem there was going to be much playing time for him, and he had basically resorted to being the Yankees fourth outfielder along with Alfonso Soriano. With the playing time Ichiro had, he has impressed and he’s most certainly earned more opportunities, especially with Carlos Beltran on the disabled list. How’s Ichiro doing so far, you ask? In 40 games he has a .321 average.
3) John Ryan Murphy: Last season, John Ryan Murphy was most known as the catcher who caught Mariano Rivera‘s last pitch. This season, he’s made a name for himself with his bat. Murphy technically wasn’t supposed to be on the team, but with an injury to Francisco Cervelli, Murphy took the backup catching job by storm, hitting .417 in May. Murphy had been known as an offensive catcher in the minor leagues, but didn’t prove it last year when he was called up. This year, he’s opened eyes and he probably has Joe Girardi ready to pencil him in the lineup. I don’t see the Yankees moving Murphy at all when Cervelli returns. With Murphy playing extremely well, does that mean Cervelli is now trade bait?
4) Masahiro Tanaka: We were all expecting Masahiro Tanaka to be good, but Brian Cashman stated Tanaka was more of a number three starter. Two months into the season, Tanaka has been the Yankees best starter with a 7-1 record and a 2.29 ERA, basically prying the “ace” title away from CC Sabathia. Tanaka has been a dream for the Yankees, and hasn’t been the number three starter the Yankees organization predicted; he’s been the number one starter that’s pretty much an automatic win every time he takes the mound.
5) Mark Teixeira: Mark Teixeira spent some time on the disabled list with a hamstring injury in April, but when he came off, he was a force to be reckoned with, hitting six homers and driving in 19 runs in the month of May. For a while, Teixeira had fans wondering if his wrist was no longer an issue–but lately he’s been feeling some tightness in his surgically repaired wrist. The surprising part was that he felt the stiffness in his wrist for some time–and he was still productive. Teixeira looked like the Teixeira the Yankee signed up for and it will be exciting to see if he can continue his hot streak once he’s healthy again.