With the season half over (Game 81 will be Saturday in London), we look at giving Yankees’ players mid-season grades. Since they are on a course for 105 wins, there is, as you may guess, a lot of A’s.
But no team is perfect, so there will be some clunkers in here as well.
C: Gary Sanchez. A. A prime candidate for Comeback Player of the Year after hitting just .186 last season, Sanchez also would get MVP consideration. A catcher on pace for 45-50 HR? Wow. Deservedly the starting C in the All-Star Game coming up. But catching does wear you out as we get into August and September. Also, not much discussion on his defense lately, so the improvement is there as well. Lastly, with Judge and Stanton missing a lot of time, Sanchez has stepped up and provided power when it was needed.
C: Austin Romine. D. Calls a nice game but his bat has regressed from last year. .218, only 2 walks, 24 strikeouts. OPS+ just 42 (58% below league average). I know he’s just a backup catcher but he has to have a better stick.
Kyle Higashioka doesn’t get a grade. Not enough MLB playing time so far this year.
1B. Luke Voit A. Luke has proven he’s no fluke. On a pace for about 35 HR and close to 100 RBI, another player providing power and coming up big with Judge and Stanton out. Leads team in striking out, but also leads them in drawing walks.
1B. Greg Bird F. Didn’t play too much, was bad when he did play, then injured again. With Voit, Encarnacion, Ford, Morrison, McBroom and Gittens all there in the majors, AAA and AA, Bird is a forgotten guy and is probably at best, trade bait when (if?) he gets healthy. 6 for 35, 16 strikeouts, only 1 extra base hit. The Yanks’ patience with him has probably run out. It is a shame about the injuries but you can’t wait forever for him, and there are all those other guys for 1B/DH. Really, he’s like Ellsbury right now. You don’t think of, or miss, him.
Encarnacion has not been with the Yanks long enough to get a grade.
2B. D.J. LeMahieu A. MVP? Incredible year, leading AL in batting average. As a leadoff hitter, on a 100 RBI pace, hitting what .480 with RISP? What a pickup, and solidifies the infield defense. And don’t forget how valuable his versatility is.
SS/2B Gleyber Torres. A. On a 38 HR pace and may be hitting 8th in the lineup. Wow. Did decent job at SS until Didi returned. Oh, yeah, he’s only 22.
Didi I won’t give a grade to. I don’t think it would be fair right now. Only 15 games, just off of injury, still getting his feet wet. So far one concern is only 3 XBH out of the 16 hits.
Gio Urshela A. You figured his defense would be better than Andujar’s and it certainly is, Gold Glove caliber. But a .225 hitter before this season hitting .303? No one expected that.. and clutch hits, too.
Tyler Wade. F. Still hasn’t proven he can hit MLB pitching, and right now, it’s safe to say he has been passed on the depth chart by the next guy I’m going to mention…
Thairo Estrada. A. Hit .280 with surprising pop (3 HR). Played LF as well. Did all the things you wanted Wade to do and didn’t.
Miguel Andujar. F. An unfair grade, maybe, because of the injury. Got hurt, tried to come back and was horrible in that attempt. Defense still a problem. Was 6 for 47, no extra base hits, only 1 walk and 11 strikeouts. OPS+ a MINUS 27.
Kendrys Morales. F. Hit .177. Only two extra base hits of the eleven he had. DFA’d, so that says all you need to know abut the grade. OPS+54
Not enough at bats to give a grade: Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Ford.
Brett Gardner C. Probably getting more playing time than expected b/c of the injuries. 11 HR but only a .231 batting average, which is why LeMahieu (.336) is now leading off instead of Gardy. Still has solid defense.
Clint Frazier. B-. Hard to grade. Bat an A but defense a D. Hence the grade.
Aaron Judge B+. Been very good, not great, when he’s played, but has only played in 25 games.
No grade for Stanton, who has only played in 9 games.
Aaron Hicks. C-. Solid defensively, but since coming off the IL, the bat hasn’t picked up yet. 5 HR and 20 RBI ok, but hitting just. .202.
Mike Tauchman. C-. Solid defensively, but stick needs work, .212. Slightly less at bats than Hicks, numbers similiar.
Cameron Maybin. A. A surprise. Picked up off the scrap heap, provided great defense, baserunning, and even homered in four straight games, hitting .314. Shame about his injury. Just when he really was putting things together…
Masahiro Tanaka B. Record just 5-5, but leads starters in ERA, has only complete game, and also only complete game shutout. Still searching for that splitter
Domingo German B+. Would have been an A except for those last couple of starts before he went on the IL. Surprising ace of staff for first two months, what with Severino out. During that time, Severino himself couldn’t have done better.
CC Sabathia B-. Decent, but each time he starts, you know you’ll need the bullpen. Rarely goes more than five innings.
J.A. Happ. D. This year’s Sonny Gray so far. 7-4 record, but horrible 5.23 ERA and prone to giving up HR.
James Paxton C. Has ability to dominate, knee has seemed to limit him. Inconsistent.
Aroldis Chapman A. 23 saves, 1.45 ERA but it seems he does make you squirm. How about some clean 1-2-3 saves, Chappy?
Jonathan Holder. F. Recently sent down after ERA rose to 6.81.
Adam Ottavino. A. Great pickup. Needs to cut down on the walks a bit.
Zack Britton B. Not as dominant as he was a few years ago with Baltimore, but still good.
Tommy Kahnle B Another comeback player of the year candidate.
Luis Cessa D. Started year great, then reverted to being Cessa. 5.11 ERA and you wonder how long Yanks will deal with him before they look or find someone better.
Nestor Cortes Jr. B. Has done well enough as the guy coming in for Green after Green is the opener. Also in dealing with the SWB shuttle.
Chad Green. D. Has done well since coming back from SWB after his demotion, and has done ok as the “opener”. But oh, that start of the season that earned him a demotion. Still, recent outings have upgraded him from F to D, as opposed to the recent outings of Holder that dropped him from a possible C to an F.
David Hale B. Another, like Cortes, on the shuttle, but has done decently when in there.
Not graded (didn’t feel like they pitched enough to grade): Jonathan Loaisiga, Stephen Tarpley, Jake Barrett, Joe Harvey and Chance Adams. Harvey and Tarpley I almost was going to give a grade to.
Manager: Aaron Boone A. Held team together through all the injuries when they could have folded and tanked. With all the injuries, tied with the Twins for best record in AL.
GM: Brian Cashman A. Paxton so-so, but pickups of Urshela, Maybin, LeMahieu, Ottavino have been huge. Then he gets Encarnacion. Now get that starter ….