It’s 4th of July weekend. The season is almost 1/2 over (Game 81 is scheduled for Sunday, July 3). It’s time for midseason report cards.
All stats as of before the game of July 2.
As I type this, the Yankees are 39-40. As you may guess, these grades won’t be good. This won’t be pretty.
An average OPS+ (On base percentage + slugging average adjusted for league and ballpark) is 100. An average ERA+ (earned run average adjusted for league and ballpark) is 100. Anything below, bad. Above, good. So when I use those numbers….
Offense: F. OPS+ 87, 13% below league average. There are 15 teams in the league, and the Yanks are dead last in at bats, doubles, on-base percentage, slugging average, total bases and OPS. They are next to last in hits, 11th in triples, 12th in HR. 12th in runs scored, 11th in drawing walks. Third in striking out. 10th in batting average (.248).
Pitching: C minus. ERA+ 97. 10th in ERA. They are 1st in least walks and most strikeouts.
Defense: C minus. 10th in fielding percentage. Catchers have thrown out 20%, league average is 30%. Of course, blame also goes to pitchers who can’t hold runners on, not just to the catchers.
McCann C. Yes, he is 2nd on the team with 13 HR and has an OPS+ of 108. But at $17 million/year, he has hit .232, .232 and is now at .231. Yes, he can give you 25 HR and 70 RBI, but for $17MM/yr, don’t you think he can hit over .250?
Romine C: Backup catchers are hard to grade. They play once a week, don’t usually hit too many HR. You want defense and a knock every so often. .253. OPS+ 75. Just 2 walks in 92 plate appearances. As we go on, we’ll see that not drawing walks is a problem with many players.
Infield and DH:
Teixeira F. Hitting under .200. Just 14 RBI all season. OPS+ 55. Ugh. 2 1/2 months between HRs. Just 5 HR. Last year of contract at $23MM. Has been an absolute disaster this year after being their best player last year. The Yanks miss Greg Bird, who could have filled in here.
A-Rod F. .223. 9 walks, 55 strikeouts. If he cannot hit, what good is he? He doesn’t play the field, can’t run, can’t pinch-run, and is taking up a roster space that someone younger and more versatile can use. Hanging on for HR #700. One year left on the deal, and you start to wonder if with 695 HR, if he will catch the Babe at 714. OPS+ 70. So you have Teix 45% below league average and A-Rod 30% below, and they are hitting in the middle of the lineup with McCann at .231. At $21MM, that is $44MM wasted between him and Teixeira.
Castro. C. I’d like to give higher, but .253, OPS+ 83, and only 14 walks to 53 strikeouts. Started hot, cooled off. But hey, still a big improvement over Stephen Drew.
Gregorius B+. Emerging into a force. Believe it or not, 2nd on the team in RBI as I write this. OPS+ 102, and you usually don’t look to your SS for power, OPS+, rbi (we were spoiled by Jeter). I’d give him an A, but doesn’t walk. Just 10 walks all year.
Headley. F. OPS+ 82. For a corner infielder, just 5 HR, 21 RBI. Ugh. You have a 3B on pace for 10 HR, 42 RBI. You need a bit more than that. With the starters having OPS+ numbers of 55, 83, 102 and 82, this could be the worst infield in the majors or close to it. Definitely the worst at the corners. But hey, at least we aren’t paying all that $$$$ for Pablo Sandoval. Maybe they should have kept Solarte?
Refsnyder. B. OPS+ 100. Hitting .290. It’s time for the Yanks to stop jerking him around and give him a true shot to see what he can do.
Ackley F. Was hitting .148 with an OPS+ of 9. Yes, 9. Sorry he is out for the year, but the way he was going, no loss. That’s a pitcher’s number.
Torreyes C minus. Only at .237, OPS+ 67 but never plays.
Gardner D.. OPS+ 89. May steal 20. Used to steal 40. Only at .250, and usually does WORSE in the second half of his seasons. Only 15 RBI. Trade bait. Who needs a corner outfielder who is on course for less than 35 RBI all season as a full-time player?
Ellsbury C. OPS+ 96. May steal 30. Has 25 RBI. Has been ok, but nothing spectacular (except for creating catcher’s interference calls). But certainly not worth $21MM a year.
Beltran A-. His limited defense keeps me from giving him an A. Should be DHing, but with A-Rod there he can’t…. Imagine this offense without him. OPS+ 139, the only one significantly above average of 100 (McCann 108 and Didi 102 are slightly above).Last year of deal. Definitely trade bait to a contender who needs a bat. Beltran doesn’t walk much either. 16 walks, 54 strikeouts. As I mentioned, the team has a bad walk (11th in league in drawing walks) to strikeout (3rd in league in striking out) ratio.
Hicks F. Really, can’t the Yanks find another backup OF who hits righty? If Ben Gamel and Jake Cave were righty hitters instead of lefty (buried at SWB because of Gardner and Ellsbury) they would be up and Hicks would down. I believe the only reason Hicks is still on the team is because he is a switch-hitter. But what has he done? Great arm, nice speed, good defense and hitting under .200 with an OPS+ of 49. Yecch. Should have just kept Chris Young, who was doing decently up in Boston.
Others didn’t have enough at bats to grade them. But look above. How many guys are not only not only below an average OPS+ of 100, but FAR BELOW?
Tanaka B+. 5-2, 3.35, ERA+ 128. May never be the ace we thought he’d be but is still a good pitcher. The problem is he is a much different pitcher on four days rest (worse) than on five days rest.
Sabathia B+ 5-5, 3.17. ERA+ 136. The comeback player of the year? Been surprisingly good.
Eovaldi D. 6-6, 5.54. ERA+ 78. I don’t know what happened after May 29. In May, he looked like he was putting it together to become a force. Since then, he is 0-4, 9.20. He has great stuff, but is an enigma, just like the guy we will mention next….
Pineda D. 3-7, 5.24. ERA+ 82. Would have been an F except he has been pitching better lately. Million dollar arm, 10 cent head? (But can you say that of Eovaldi and Nova too?) He and Eovaldi are like A.J. Burnett was. You see the talent and wonder why the inconsistency. You don’t know from start to start whether Pineda, Nova or Eovaldi will be good or awful. That brings us to …
Nova D. 5-5, 5.32. OPS+ 81. Just like Pineda and Eovaldi. Has had more time with the Yanks so the leash could be shorter. He, Pineda and Eovaldi could all be trade bait. You wonder how much more patience the Yanks will have with them (my guess is that Nova has the shortest leash, Eovaldi the longest).
Severino F. 0-6, 7.46. ERA+ 58. After last year’s callup, he pitched well, and looked decent in spring training, then came this ….. sent down to the minors. Still just 22, so you can’t give up on him, but this isn’t what was expected. Extremely disappointing.
So outside of Tanaka and CC, the rotation has been a mess.
Miller A+. Along with Beltran, the only two Yankees who should go to the All-Star Game. Dominant, and trade bait. 5-0, 1.30, ERA+ 334. Averaging almost 2K per inning. Looking at the numbers, you wonder if he should be closing and Chapman should set up. Seven saves. 3 walks, 64 strikeouts in 34 2/3 IP. That strikeout to walk ratio is ridiculous, but then see Betances, below .
Betances A. 2-4, 2.82. ERA+ 154. See Miller. Betances, in 38 1/3 innings, has 69 strikeouts and has walked only 8. Trade bait?
Chapman. B+ 2-0, 3.00. ERA+ 145. Is closing, but has the worst numbers of the Holy Trinity of Smoke, also known as No-Runs DMC. (Dellin, Miller and Chapman). 32 strikeouts, 4 walks. 15 saves. Free agent at the end of the year. Likes NY, but trade bait, then try to woo back?
But after them, the rest of the bullpen has been a problem. They miss Bryan Mitchell. The other setup / middle inning guys haven’t stood out.
Yates F. 2-1, 5.72. ERA+ 76. Sent down. Too many walks, 4.1/9 IP
Goody D. 0-0, 4.91 ERA+ 89.
Shreve F. 1-1, 5.21. Injury, now back in minors. ERA+ 84.
Barbato 1-2, 5.54 F. Sent down. ERA+ 80.
Four guys, almost all w/ERAs 5.00 or more.
Maybe these guys need more of a look.
Swarzak 1-0, 3.86. B. ERA+ 115.
Cessa 1-0, 3.09. B. ERA+ 143.
Bleier 0-0, 3.00. B ERA+ 149.
Others haven’t had enough innings to grade.
Update: I forgot the Manager. I give Girardi a C. You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit. According to baseball reference’s Pythagorean formula, the Yanks actually are three games better than what their record should be. Girardi can’t hit or pitch for the players, he can’t run for someone who is slow. But he needs to be more aggressive— hit and run, steal, bunt—to create runs for an offensively challenged team and not sit back and wait for the three-run HR. That aggressiveness he uses in employing the Holy Trinity of Smoke, No-Runs DMC, has to be employed with the offense. Also, he uses Hicks (see the grade I gave Hicks) WAY too much.
As for Cashman, I can’t give him a grade yet. We’ll see what he does at the trade deadline. The Yanks should go into SELL mode.