Jun
06

Yankees Trimester Grades Are In

By

Greetings! When last we met, I was whining about the opulence and inaccessibility of [new] Yankee Stadium, and though it has pained me to be missing-in-action since January, I have been a bit busy with this and that. But enough about me! Let’s get right down to it, shall we?

Amazingly, we have already reached the one-third mark of the 2012 season – it seems like just yesterday that Michael Pineda was being touted as an ace-in-waiting – and your New York Yankees (30-24) are just 1/2 game back of the AL East Division leading Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays. Wait a second, it is June and the O’s are in first place? Yup, that Showalter-remakes-franchise-gets-fired-and-team-wins-World-Series-in-subsequent-season plan is right on track!

Despite an uneven start to the ’12 campaign, at best, things are certainly looking up of late for the Bombers, who are 7-3 over their last ten games. The Yankees are also an encouraging (and division-leading) +30 in run differential and their offense, though clearly not yet firing on all cylinders, has improved to 8th in Major League Baseball in runs scored (256), 4th in OBP (.338) and 3rd in SLG (.456). The Yankee pitching staff has also failed to meet expectations, but the degree of disappointment is markedly greater. New York pitching ranks 25th of 30 in batting average allowed and quality starts, 28th in home runs and total bases allowed and their team ERA (3.99) is good for just 16th in all of baseball.

All in all, things could be a lot worse for New York given the club’s proclivity for ineptitude when hitting with runners in scoring position (.220, 27th-worst in the Majors). They have also sustained numerous injuries to key personnel, but simply put, when a franchise has as much depth and as many resources as do the Yankees, they need their best players – their most well-compensated, too – to produce with greater consistency.

And now, the grades:

THE BATS

MARK TEIXEIRA:

(.247 AVG | 9 HR | 32 RBI | .313 OBP | 25 SO | 1.000 FPCT)

When it comes to the 32-year-old Teixeira, the legacy of his Yankee tenure will always be colored by the 2009 World Championship. He remains a premier defender, a tireless worker and a clubhouse leader, but there is no denying that the progression, or lack thereof, of his offense is alarming, to say the least. Mark’s OBP has declined steady since his 2009 Bronx-arrival, and this season he’s getting on base almost 18% less often than he has during his career. Sure, he’s striking out less (he’s on pace for just 78 whiffs, which would be his lowest full season total ever), but he simply just doesn’t take walks anymore. His .762 OPS is anemic. And when it comes to hitting away from the defensive shift deployed by every opposing manager, Teixeira is positively maddening in his approach. Yes, the Yankees can live with a 1B giving them league-average offensive production – and stellar glove-work; he hasn’t made an error this season – but that is not what Teix was brought here for. He was brought here to be a run-producer and middle-of-the-order cog.

ROBINSON CANO:

(.290 AVG | 60 H | 8 HR | 24 RBI | 19 2B | .840 OPS )

Apparently Cano really likes him some month of May. The Yankee second baseman certainly flowered (.312, 7HR, 19 RBI, .970 OPS) after a lackluster April that had some wondering if he’d found a replacement for Melky Cabrera to join him in da club. Look, what can you really say about Robbie that isn’t obvious to anyone who watches him with regularity? The man is a singular talent, capable of greatness in every fielding opportunity and during every at-bat. What remains lacking in his game, however, is that degree of absolute care and focus throughout all 9 innings. There are ABs that make you scratch your head – especially the situational ones, or ones where he bails a pitcher out – and call into question whether Cano’s ceiling will ultimately be limited by what resides between his ears. Still, if you’re biggest problem is being better than 99% of your contemporaries while seemingly exerting just 75% of your effort, I guess you’re doing okay in life.

DEREK JETER:

(52 GS | .336 AVG | 75 H | 6 HR | 5 SB | 19 2B | .846 OPS)

“I’ll have what he’s having!” Admittedly, during the first half of last season, I thought Derek Jeter was done. I thought that the Yankees had foolishly negotiated against themselves during that acrimonious contract squabble and that both sides would regret the deal. I thought that to give a 96-year-old shortstop with diminishing skills a three year contract (with a player option for a fourth) was borderline insane and mostly unjustifiable from a baseball standpoint. Well, I guess I was wrong. Quite simply, the man is cyborg, living tissue over metal endoskeleton. He is on pace for 225 hits this season, which would set a new career-high, and though he doesn’t get to as many balls at SS as he used to, you just feel secure knowing he’s out there. Sure, there may still be some that are opposed to men wearing a Jeter jersey on account of all that matinee idol business, but whatever, I just ordered mine. In pink.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ:

(.279 AVG | 9 HR | 22 RBI | 6 SB, 0 CS | 46 SO | .806 OPS)

If I would have told you that ARod would hit .314 for a month and only tally 8 RBI over the same stretch, you would have told me that I was crazy, right? Well, that was the new Mr. May’s recent production, and as we watch this once epic talent slide further and further into an abyss of mediocrity, I can’t help but wonder if he might retire (2015?) before his ridiculous contract ends in order to save himself the embarrassment of lacing ‘em up for a fan base that won’t hesitate to let him know how overpaid he is. His OPS has been falling steadily for years, but nowadays there is but an occasional display of the ability that propelled him to GOAT-debate-status. And yes, I get that he’s an above average defender and a student of the game who virtually always makes the right decisions on the field, but he’s on pace for a career-high 144 SOs, and it won’t be long before the “he has to cheat now to make up for lost bat speed” talks becomes pervasive. The Yankees don’t need Alex to be what he was – lord knows they can absorb his meager salary-to-production ratio – but they do need him to be more than marginally better than average.

NICK SWISHER:

(.249 AVG | 8 HR | 34 RBI | .310 OBP | 16 BB | 42 SO)

Swisher has been close to a true-three-outcome player (HR, BB or SO) for most of his career, but this season has been an extremely odd one for the Yankee right fielder in that his ability or willingness to take a walk has seemingly evaporated overnight. On pace for just 48 bases-on-balls, Swish’s OPS is suffering mightily as a result (.759 in 2012 versus .824 for his career). As a right-handed hitter, Nick has been positively dreadful, hitting just .191 over 47 ABs, which is surprising when you consider that he had produced a .288/.417/.888 triple slash rate from the right side from 2099-2011. This is the final year of Swisher’s contract – the Yankees exercised their club option for $10.25M for 2012 – and it is anyone’s guess whether he will be back next season, but he will be 32-years-old this November and surely will seek that last big money contract. The stats tell me that Swisher is not a top-50 Major League outfielder (at least thus far this season), but perhaps brighter days lie ahead.

CURTIS GRANDERSON:

(.259 AVG | 17 HR | 39 R | 33 RBI | .542 SLG | 62 SO)

There was a once a time when a great many baseball writers – some of whom are my colleagues here at RAB – said that the Yankees erred by acquiring Granderson. They said he couldn’t hit lefty-pitching (he can, he’s actually been better against lefties this year), they said he struck out too much (he does, but his power makes up for it) and they said he wasn’t patient enough (he is, he’s on pace for a career-best 90 walks). Seriously, has Yankee GM Brian Cashman made a better trade during his Bronx-tenure than the one he made for Granderson? In fact, where would the Yankees be without their reliable center fielder? They’d be trailing the Red Sox in the AL East cellar, that’s where.

BRETT GARDNER:

(28 AB)

That damned Gardner! If only he would have taken better care of his elbow. (In fairness, I am unable to chose INC as part of this ultra-sophisticated grading system.) Okay, okay, so Brett has been injured all season, having played in just nine games and amassing just 28 at-bats. Word on the street is that he is close to returning to the club – he went 0-for-5 in an extended spring training game yesterday. The Yankee left fielder’s return will be a welcome one for the Bombers, who never expected to have to rely so heavily on on their bench players to fill the void. One can only assume that Gardner’s presence, particularly his disruptive presence on the base paths, will be beneficial to the lineup’s ability to produce with RISP.

RAÚL IBAÑEZ:

(43 GP | .252 AVG | 9 HR | 33 RBI | .510 SLG | 1.000 FPCT)

Much like Jerry Seinfield once posited on salsa, I think people just like to say Ibañez. In fact, The Most Interesting Man in the World’s first word was Ibañez (he was 4-minutes-old, true story). When the Yankees signed Ibañez, I really wondered what they were thinking given that the journeyman outfielder/DH would not be allowed to sport his trademark soul patch, which everyone knew had been the source of his power. Facial hair aside, he has been a revelation for New York, especially in light of Gardner’s injury and the need for him to play virtually everyday. Originally brought in to platoon with Andruw Jones at the DH-slot, Ibañez has been one of the rare bright spots on a roster mostly devoid of big hits thus far this season, as evidenced by those 9 HR in 149 ABs.

RUSSELL MARTIN:

(.211 AVG | 5 HR | 16 RBI | 28:25 K:H | 22 SBA, 7 CS | 4 PB)

Meh.

THE STARTERS

C.C. SABATHIA:

(7-2 | 78.1 IP | 3.68 ERA | 1.24 WHIP | 74 K | .246 BAA)

Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel like I am wanting more from Sabathia. Even when he’s winning 20 games a season, you rarely get the sense that he is dominating out there. Yes, he’s undoubtedly a top-20 starter in terms of production, and he always keeps the Yankees in games, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, but Sabathia largely mirrors the Yankees as a whole in that he dominates the teams he is supposed to, but is fairly inconsistent against top-notch opposition. From 2009 to 2011, Sabathia’s ERA versus Boston (4.27), Texas (4.26) and DET (3.95) contrast unfavorably with his work against BAL (2.99), KC (2.38) and SEA (1.75). Look, no one wouldn’t be happy to have the Big Fella leading their staff, but for what New York is paying him – and what he pulled with the opt-out – more is expected.

HIROKI KURODA:

(4-6 | 68.1 IP | 3.82 ERA | 1.35 WHIP | 41 K | 22 BB | .269 BAA)

Hiroki Kuroda can be a really good pitcher sometimes. Hiroki Kuroda can also be a really bad pitcher sometimes, too. And therein lies the problem. Over his last ten starts, he has held the opposition to 3 runs or less eight times, which is pretty remarkable for a guy who is pitching in the American League for the first time in his career. Then again, in those other two starts, he gave up 13 runs and looked fairly over-matched in the process. Kuroda can definitely win 15 games for the Yankees, and it is obvious watching him that he has a mastery over a veritable arsenal of weapons at his disposal. What we don’t know is how a guy like Kuroda will fare during the playoffs – should the Yankees qualify for the postseason – since he has only three career postseason starts.

ANDY PETTITTE:

(3-2 | 2.78 ERA | 1.01 WHIP | .225 BAA | 7:32 BB:K)

I don’t know if Pettitte “misremembered” how old he is, but oh, my! Not only is Andy pitching like he never took a year off, somehow, inexplicably, he is pitching better than he has at any point since his 2005 campaign in Houston when he put up a 2.39 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Sure, he was snorting human growth hormone off Roger Clemens’ butt cheeks back then, but still, this is unprecedented stuff from #46 right now. It is highly unlikely that Pettitte can maintain this degree of excellence all season, but even with a regression, his steady presence and veteran leadership cannot be diminished. It would be wise for Girardi to monitor Pettitte’s innings so that the lefty remains healthy, but if Andy can keep mixing up his pitches as effectively as he has thus far, there is no reason why he cannot win more often that he loses as well as maintain solid peripherals along the way.

PHIL HUGHES:

(5-5 | 61.2 IP | 4.96 ERA | 1.35 WHIP | 57 K | .268 BAA)

Back when Hughes was rumored to be the centerpiece of a proposed deal with Twins in exchange for Johan Santana, I swore to anyone who would listen that I was prepared to renounce my loyalty to the franchise if the deal was consummated. Never in my lifetime had a [potential] homegrown-ace actually been on the cusp of promotion to the Majors – O Brien Taylor, Where Art Thou – and I was steadfast, having seen Hughes pitch in the minors, that he must be deemed untouchable. And when his 2007 no-hit bid against the Rangers at Arlington was broken up by a pulled hamstring, I felt vindicated by my feelings about the then can’t miss prospect. But oh, how times have changed. While Phil has been better of late, he has given up 13 HRs already this season and he doesn’t miss many bats when he has two strikes on hitters. Hughes will never be the guy I thought he was, but if he can keep the ball in the park, he has a decent chance to help fulfill to the Yankees’ playoff aspirations.

IVAN NOVA:

(6-2 | 62.2 IP | 5.60 ERA | 1.58 WHIP | 79 H | 13 HR | .313 BAA)

What a weird season “Supernova” is having. On one hand, he’s striking guys out with greater frequency than he did during his rookie season, but he also allowing an inordinate number of hits (many of them of the long-ball-variety), especially in crucial game situations. Sophomore slumps are one thing, and it certainly doesn’t appear to be the stuff, but perhaps this is a case of early career success breeding complacency and a lack of focus. The Yankees rarely suffer fools for any length of time, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nova sent down to AAA if he doesn’t quickly show signs of improvement. The tools are there, the moxie is there, but unless something is going on off the field that we don’t know about, there is simply no justification for his performance other than growing pains.

THE PEN

RAFAEL SORIANO:

(7 S | 1.89 ERA |1.89 WHIP)

When the Yankees Randy Levine signed Soriano to that outrageous contract to be a setup man, who woulda thunk we would later see the great Mariano Rivera sidelined by a wrecked knee and his protege, David Robertson, disabled by a sore ribcage? So now Soriano, previously a very accomplished closer in his own right, has been thrust back into the stopper role, and despite far too many walks per inning pitched, and he’s done a fine job for the Bombers. It is fair to wonder why Soriano couldn’t be this effective as a setup man, but in fairness to him, he did say all along that he was much more comfortable closing. Don’t be surprised if Soriano parlays a solid 2012 closing gig into a new contract, too; hopefully with another club as D-Rob is Mo’s organizational heir-apparent, anyway.

DAVID ROBERTSON:

(14.1 IP |2.51 ERA | 1.19 ERA| 24 K)

Anointed by Joe Girardi as Mariano’s successor following the latter’s season-ending injury, Robertson was enjoying a fine start to the 2012 season before being sidelined by a nagging injury of his own. There is no doubt that he can handle the closing role, but I would have preferred to see Soriano get first crack at the job, mostly because following in Rivera’s footsteps is something of a can’t-win proposition. D-Rob is expected back from the disabled list in just over a week, and the formidable Yankee bullpen will become that much more difficult for the opposition to contend with. One thing to keep an eye on: Robertson (sample size notwithstanding) had seemed to improve on keeping men from reaching base against him in the early going, which was really his only bugaboo in 2011.

THE REST:

The Yankees’ bullpen-ERA is 2.78, 5th-best in the Majors. Sweet! Also, the law firm Logan, Wade, Phelps and Rapada, LLC has hired Moshe Mandel as a litigation associate, so there’s that.

THE BENCH

ANDRUW JONES:

(.230 AVG | 5 HR in 73 ABs | 11 RBI)

Remember those California Raisin claymation commercials back in the eighties? Yeah, that’s what I think of every time I see Andruw’s permi-smile saunter to the plate, too.

THE REST:

Is it wrong of me to hope that ARod decides to go backpacking in Europe for a month or two so that Eric Chavez can play everyday? Yeah, his body probably wouldn’t hold up, but whatever, man-crush or not, I just like watching him hit.

MANAGEMENT

JOE GIRARDI:

If we are to judge Joltin’ Joe Girardio solely on the team’s record, he’d probably be in danger of flunking given the team’s payroll. But the standings don’t tell the whole story, as Girardi has steered the ship through injury-plagued waters in spite of a lineup that has largely failed to play to the back of its collective baseball cards. With Joe, what you see is what you get: a mind-numbing reliance on the numbers and an uncanny feel for how to manage a bullpen. That Girardi seems to have taken a page out of Tom Coughlin’s chill-the-f*ck-out book in recent years speaks volumes about his adaptability and his understanding of what a manager in this town must do to avoid being caught in the media’s or the fans’ cross-hairs. It’s all about the pitching, stupid; we know this, but if the lineup does it part – and recent signs suggest they will – Girardi will once again lead the Pinstripes to the postseason, and his job will remain secure.

BRIAN CASHMAN:

In truth, C.R.E.A.M.’s off-season blueprint didn’t go exactly according to plan, now did it? What with the loss of Mariano to KC’s warning track lip, the loss of Joba Chamberlain to Tampa’s finest tramps (the jumping kind, not the Daryl Strawberry late-night kind) and the aforementioned Pineda’s wrecked pitching shoulder, most other GMs would have closed up shop already. Obviously Ibañez has been a coup, but the jury is still out on Kuroda and it is fair to question why Cashman did not pursue Carlos Beltran, who (again) wanted to be a Yankee in the off-season. Many have also lamented the incredible success of Melky Cabrera for the San Francisco Giants, but the Yankees had determined that they were committed to Gardner well before Melky was traded to Atlanta for Javier Vazquez 2.0.

This Yankee team has some legitimate questions – namely the depth of its starting pitching and outfield – so it will be interesting to see what Mr. Stealthmode himself pursues on the trade market as July rapidly approaches. One thing is for certain: never assume anything with Cashman. He has proven time and time again that he will not hesitate to make the moves that no one saw coming, and generally, he has hit more than he has missed.

Agree? Disagree? That’s what the comments section is for. Have at it, Hosses and Hossettes!

***

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Categories : Musings, Whimsy

74 Comments»

  1. Kosmo says:

    Granderson has SO 62 times not 42 .

  2. Ellis says:

    Nice article, thanks for the breakdown.

    Though fwiw, Granderson’s not a switch hitter (sorry to nitpick).

    • Jamie O'Grady says:

      I meant to say that he has fared better against left-handers, not from the right side of the dish.

  3. Knoxvillain says:

    A-Rod is a B+ in my book, much more than I expected. Ivan Nova is an F- this year, he shouldn’t even be on the team right now.

    You’re saying that Nova and A-Rod have been just as valuable? Ridiculous.

    And Girardi should get an F. He’s the worst manager in baseball.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      I agree that A-Rod was under graded and Nova over graded.

      My bigger, broader gripe in these letter grades is that they essentially ignore the recent performance trends in the analysis. Tex has obviously improved. Jeter has slowed down markedly. And yes A-Rod has improved as well. The grades don’t seem to capture this in any meaningful way. I know we can’t ignore the overall numbers, but Jeter’s line for example really sticks out. That .336 BA for example looks gaudy, until we look at the trend line. He’s been no better than say a B for the last several weeks.

      • OldYanksFan says:

        Really? ARod’s .806 OPS is well better then you expect? Are ypu saying that ARod is only expected to post a .750ish OPS? If so, the next 4 years will be brutal.

        ARod is healthy. Why shouldn’t we expect a .825 – .850 OPS?

    • WayneD says:

      The worst manager in baseball! Now that’s ridiculous!

      Girardi has kept the Yanks in contention despite loosing his #1, #2, and #4 relievers to injuries (Mo, Roberston, and Joba), as well as loosing his starting left fielder and biggest base stealer to injury.

      Girardi deserves nothing but our respect and admiration for what he’s done with this team this year. Name one other team that would still be in contention if they lost 3 of their top 4 relievers before June 1st.

      In fact, you could easily argue that Girardi has lost 2 of his 3 best pitchers to injury this year (the 3 best being CC, Mo, and Robertson).

      And on top of all that, Nova was awful until very recently. Tex has been mediocre-to-bad offensively all season. Cano has underperformed for most of the year, and Swisher has been inconsistent since his return from the DL. A-Rod has been solid, but not spectacular. Jeter was great early, but only good since. In fact, the only man among the starting 8 who deserves an A is Grandy.

      So the last person in the world that should be ridiculed on this team is Girardi. He gets an A in my book for keeping this team in contention.

      • WayneD says:

        I neglected to mention two other starters that are worthy of mention: Hughes and Martin.

        Hughes has been mediocre to bad most the season, with far too few really good performances. He needs a lot more starts like his last start to deserve anthing higher than a C or a C-.

        Finally, Martin has been terrible offensively this year. He hasn’t even hit his body weight of 205 for most of the season; and, if you’re going to hit .180 to .205 for a third of a season, you better be the best defensive catcher in baseball: and he isn’t. Ruiz and Yadier Molina are markedly better defensively, and they can both hit, unlike Martin.

        Martin deserves a D, at best . . . and his abysmal performance this year is yet another reason that Girardi deserves our praise for keeping this team in contention.

        As for Cashman, he deserves a D or an F.

  4. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Only issue is that Teix deserves to be lower than ARod. While both have been disappointing, ARod’s numbers are solidly above league average and plays a more valuable position. Teix has a league average bat in a loaded position.

  5. Tim says:

    Robbie doesn’t deserve a pass. The expectation is he will hit like the best hitter on this team. While Tex and Arod have their issues at this point in their careers they are what they are. They have limitations regardless of salary. Salary doesn’t make someone play better. But at this point in their careers Robbie should be the player that is carrying this offense and providing stability. He has been abysmal with runners on and in big situations against pitchers other than Luke Hochevar. At some point he should getting some attention for that.

  6. DT says:

    Honestly these grades makes no sense. Arod’s OPS (125 wRC+) is essentially the same as Cano’s (127 wRC+) and Cano has hit a .157/.279/.275 with RISP which is worse than Arod’s .170/.338/.340, yet there’s a huge disparity in grades. Arod’s Strike out means nothing, as Grandy is on pace to strike out nearly 200 times. Sound like you are lowering Arod’s grade simply because he’s ARod. Also how is Jeter an A when he basically had one good month, then hit a measly .293/.339/.353 (.692 OPS) for May. I mean if we are awarding player grades based on one Month then Tex should get a higher grade for hitting .269/.349/.538 (.897 OPS) in May.

    Also how can Gardner get an F for being injured? an incomplete is more reasonable. Also Ibanez right now is hitting .248/.305/.503 for a .808 OPS yet that is an A?

    • Knoxvillain says:

      Pretty bad grades all over the place. But it’s just an opinion, not fact.

    • Jamie O'Grady says:

      Fair criticisms.

      1. ARod gets paid a lot more than Cano, and though it probably shouldn’t be part of the debate, for me, it is.

      2. Jeter’s overall first third of the season is what I am analyzing, and given that he’s ancient and is at or exceeding career stats, that is why he gets an A from me.

      3. Gardner’s F was in jest. I don’t have the image code to give an INC, though if you read his section, I would have.

      • DT says:

        But a counterpoint is, if Jeter gets a pass for being old, then why not Arod? Arod has accumulated more value then Jeter thus far this year because he actually is playing some defense while Jeter has rated terribly on defense which negates a large portion of his offensive value. Furthermore if we really are looking at the first third of the season we can’t ignore that Jeter for the past month has been hitting like a below average hitter, after hitting for a month as an MVP candidate. That certainly does not deserve an A, since if we grade on everything a player has done for the trimester then Jeter only played well for half of it. It’s like scoring 100 on one midterm then scoring a 60 on the second. You don’t deserve an A only because you did absurdly well on one.

        • CS Yankee says:

          YTD Jeet has batted almost .020 above his career BA.

          Most were expecting a .275-.290 statue, he has last years HR total already on the card and is overall on the pace for 220+ hits.

          How in the hell is that not an A+?

          IMO, the 3-4-5 guys should be something like B-, C, C- (Cano,Arod & Teix) and Pettitte should be A+.

          • DT says:

            Because his defensive value has negated a ton of offensive value and he had one really good month then proceeded to do much the next month. I would have given him a B/B+, but certainly not an A+ simply for having one outstanding month.

  7. Knoxvillain says:

    Martin: D
    Tex: D
    Cano: B
    Jeter: A
    A-Rod: B
    Ibanez: B
    Granderson: A
    Swisher: C

    Sabathia: B
    Pettitte: A
    Kuroda: C
    Nova: F
    Hughes: D

    Soriano: A
    Robertson: B

    Rest of bullpen: A
    Bench: C

    Girardi: F

    • viridiana says:

      Hughes is a B- in my book, with five good starts in his last six.

      • Knoxvillain says:

        I was going to give him a B as well because he looks like he’s turning it around, but I’m still going to wait.

    • Need Pitching says:

      My grades (relative to what I think are fair expectations for each player, not comparing players to each other)
      Martin: C+
      Tex: D
      Cano: C
      Jeter: A-
      ARod: B
      Ibanez: B+
      Swish: D+
      Granderson: B+

      CC: B
      Pettitte: A+
      Hughes: C-
      Kuroda: B-
      Nova: D-

      Soriano: A-
      Robertson: A-
      Rest of Bullpen: A
      Bench: C-
      Girardi: C

  8. Derwood Morris says:

    I stopped reading when it said ‘D+’ next to Alex Rodriguez’s name.

    • Brian Cashman is Watching says:

      Alex Rodriguez: third in AL in wOBA and wRC, fifth in WAR, just off by .1 with Miguel Cabrera. Closer to first than last.

      • Brian Cashman is Watching says:

        *For third basemen.

      • Knoxvillain says:

        Doesn’t matter. He isn’t hitting .310/20/45 like he is supposed to be at almost 37.

      • DT says:

        Also the 2nd highest contributor in fWAR on our team among position players. (3rd highest if you count pitchers, on CC and Cano has contributed more in terms of fWAR this year). If thats a D+, then almost everyone else should be failing.

      • Chip says:

        And Fangraphs uses UZR which is probably severely underrating him thus far. He’s making plays on over 90% of the balls in his zone according to RZR which is amazing for an infielder

        • Leo says:

          Jeter is currently 9 out of 12 in RZR among AL SS who have played 400+ innings (http://bit.ly/KH2iyW).
          The RZR stats look high (across the board) compared to previous years. Have they changed the methodology?

    • Tyler says:

      Ditto this post was absurd. Almost equally as atrocious was Gardy getting an “F” for being injured.

  9. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    Way too harsh on A-Rod
    Way too easy on Cashman. How in the world does he get a B+? He didn’t bring in any offensive reinforcements besides Ibanez(and Kudos for picking him over Matsui or Damon which was the right call) but considering most of our starting players have reasonable upside, you can forgive him that. The rotation on the other hand? Kuroda has been decent but he hasn’t been the front end arm we needed, he traded Montero for a guy who is now out for the season, resigned Garcia for $5m and passed on a lot of the better flier options out there, made no effort to sign Darvish who is a legit front end pitcher, counted on Hughes to occupy a rotation spot despite 5 years of mediocrity i mean it goes on and on but there’s no way you can be happy with the offseason cashman just had.

    • Jamie O'Grady says:

      Tough to grade Cashman on two months of the season. I was against the Montero trade when it went down, but no one has an injury crystal ball (they did their due diligence and Pineda says he never had an MRI in SEA). Kuroda’s story is not yet written, Garcia may have trade value come next month, Darvish WAS NOT Cashman’s call, it was ownership’s.

      • jim p says:

        And Darvish would not be the first pitcher from Japan to look great through his first 1/3 of a season in US baseball. Let’s see how the more, and more-frequent, starts wear on him, as teams start to get a book on him.

    • Chip says:

      You had Nova who was a stud all of last season and finished super strong, Hughes came back with his arm strength that was missing last season, Kuroda is a solid 2/3 who isn’t supposed to be a top of the rotation arm, Pineda has a golden arm with great strikeout rates and Garcia was viewed as a solid veteran arm who pitched well last season.

      Also, how is Montero doing thus far? Obviously catcher of the future material right there

      • DT says:

        Yea people seem to be in love with the idea of Montero, rather than actually look at what he has done so far. Right now he’s a below average hitter who’s OBP hasn’t cracked over .300 all season. And let’s not forget Noesi has been a downright terrible starter.

      • WayneD says:

        Montero is 5th or better in almost every offensive stat on Seattle (including tied for 2nd in HRs), and he is on pace to have about 45 extra base hits as a rookie. Moreover, he’s just beginning to get hot: he raised his average about 20 points in the past 10 games.

        Offensively, Montero will be a major player over the next decade IMO. Meanwhile, our starting catcher, while better defensively than Montero, is barely able to hit his body weight of 205.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Yes, because one of (the?) best offense in baseball last year was OBVIOUSLY in need of heavy reinforcements. And those fliers, the best of which, Oswalt, wanted nothing to do with us anyway, have all preformed SO well. Who, exactly, was he supposed to get over Hughes/Garcia that would have been a major on-paper improvement in anything but hindsight?

      Darvish? Meh. I can’t say he’ll implode, but I’m surprised you’re so willing to anoint him like that given the record that Japanese players have after coming over. I’m also surprised that you’re assigning all the blame for not signing him on Cashman, who works within the (increasingly strict) budgetary constraints of ownership.

      I’m not touching Montero. I backed the trade at the time, and refuse to fault the guy over something that only looks terrible in hindsight. Especially when, given the performance of all the players involved, it really DOESN’T look all that terrible so far.

  10. Mike Nitabach says:

    These “grades” were pretty poorly done, for all of the substantive reasons pointed out above. I have to say, I also went and read that post linked to about how the Yankees suck but they didn’t used to because now they make and spend a lot of money and charge a lot at their stadium. That post was so full of it on so many different levels–most importantly, perhaps, its ignorance of the economic history of the Yankees and major league baseball–it makes me wonder why this blogger is here at all.

    I’d be a lot more interested in Axisa’s or Pawlikowski’s grades than these.

  11. Nathan says:

    Almost whole heartily agree on everything from appreciating yet wanting more from CC, wowed by Andy and sort of “meh” on A-Rod, Russell and Swisher.

    This team is doing just enough to “pass” but is def underachieving.

    • Chip says:

      They must be pretty good if they can underachieve to first place in the world’s best baseball division

  12. Steve says:

    I find it a little odd that some of the statistics listed are only through Sunday, while others are through Tuesday – for example Jeter’s (and Ibanez) averages, etc. do not include yesterday’s game; however most of the other players do include yesterday’s statistics. Also, Jeter doesn’t have 19 2Bs as shown.

    I know knitpicking but the neat thing to me about 54 games is that you could always just multiple by 3 to see what they could look at by the end of the year, so for some it is a little off :).

  13. joshfortunatus says:

    Martin’s BABIP is way low (batted ball profile is pretty consistent) and his BB% is awesome (career best). “Meh” with no context doesn’t seem totally accurate for me. OBP is better than Cano, Swish and Teix and is virtually identical to Grandy’s. C- looks like he’s a below average MLB catcher but really, he’s been better than average. If fWAR is to be trusted, he’s on pace to be a 3 win player.

  14. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    Agree on most of the grades except for the following:
    Texeira and Rodriguez should be C-. Kuroda and Jones should be no more than a C. Finally , Martin should be a D.

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      I base my grades not on what you have done for me lately, but for the whole season as games in April and May count just as much as those in September. Also in what is expected from each player.

      • Need Pitching says:

        What do you think is a fair expectation for Martin?
        His average is still awful, but his overall offense is pretty much right in line with what he did last year: 2011- 732 OPS, .325 wOBA, 100 wRC+ 2012 – .728 OPS, .331 wOBA, 106 wRC+

        Basically, despite a horrible start, overall he’s given about league average offense, which from the C position is quite valuable. D seems way to harsh, relative to reasonable expectations.

  15. Dino says:

    Hughes “doesn’t miss many bats.” Really? 8.32 K/9 isn’t missing bats. Thats good for 12th in the AL for starters.

    • Jamie O'Grady says:

      If you would have read the entire sentence, I said when he has two strikes on a hitter. He has amassed just 23 strikeouts in 73 collective plate appearances at 0-2 or 1-2 and that is actually an improvement over his career rate.

    • Need Pitching says:

      probably referring to his below league average swinging strike %
      Hughes 7.9 % league ave. 8.8%

    • Havok9120 says:

      He’s SEEING a crap ton of batters per inning, or was until recently. That stat is not useful as a defense for Hughes at this point in the season.

  16. Robert says:

    Cashman needs a F.First Pineda. Now today it comes out that they could have had Gio for Montero and dellin betances.

    • CarltonFiskedYazFromBehind says:

      So, he gets an ‘F’ because you think he should have been able to see into the future and know Pineda was going to get injured? Good stuff.

      Also, you have a link to this supposed Gio Gonzalez (I assume that’s the Gio you’re speaking of) for Montero/Betances non-trade? Because there’s ZERO stories out there that I can find. Well, except for some speculative garbage written back in the winter of 2011.

    • DT says:

      Pineda was projected to have more upside than Gio, not to mention he was cheaper with 5 years of team control which is longer than Gio had before he was to hit the market.

      • DT says:

        Also if we traded for Gio and he got injured/sucked you’d probably be saying and Pineda was the one healthy. F for cashman, we could have had Pineda for Montero and Noesi.

    • Need Pitching says:

      everyone here would have gone ape shit if they traded Montero and Betances for Gio

    • Bunt Gardner says:

      Where’s the link to the Gio for Montero story?

      Second, you’re basing, what I am concluding, your support for that trade on a Gio that switched from the AL to NL, has a career high k/9 rate and career low rates in HR/9, WHIP, and BB/9 through one-third of a season. Who knows if this will be for real or in regression will rear it’s head as the league adjusts to him.

  17. Manny's BanWagon says:

    If you consider a C an average grade, Cashman should certainly not get a B. He’s been average at best since last offseason

  18. A.D. says:

    has Yankee GM Brian Cashman made a better trade during his Bronx-tenure than the one he made for Granderson?

    Swisher deal, that production for basically a bucket of balls

  19. Adam says:

    (First time poster)

    Here’s my list:

    Starting Lineup
    * Jeter: A- (May prevents an A+ in my book)
    * Granderson: B (We need to work on not striking out so much)
    * Texiera: B- (April being the nightmare it was wasn’t enough for me to give him more than this.)
    * A-Rod: B- (This is an improvement, so was the month of May for A-Rod, I will give him time.)
    * Cano: C (Gotta work on that slow streak here.)
    * Ibanez: A- (Best pickup of 2012 in my book.)
    * Swisher: C (We need clutch, not slush.)
    * Martin: C+ (He’s starting to come around, but still needs work in batting. I can’t say he’s done anything less in the field, but having Chris Stewart around does help.)

    *Favorite member of lineup: Raul Ibanez

    The Bench
    * Chavez: B (He’s the man he was last year, has been good at being clutch. Could step it up in the bat a little bit.)
    * Stewart: A (This may be overdoing it in most people’s books, but I feel like Chris Stewart was an excellent choice with Romine being out. He is an excellent fielder, has worked well with the pitchers he’s caught, he has been a strong base or line drive hitter. Perfect backup.)
    * Nix: B (He is an excellent versatile player that has been as clutch as you can get. He’s patient, he hits, he started off pretty bad, but after several games, my confidence in him as a player has gone up significantly. I personally feel he’s earned his own bench spot permanently.)
    * Jones: B (Getting out a little more than I like, of course Girardi hasn’t put him in enough games in my book. He was an excellent resign and I don’t question that he should be back next year. Would like to see some more hitting opportunities of course.)
    * Wise: C- (I’m being giving here. I appreciate the strength DeWayne Wise in catching fly balls in the field. That’s not the problem DeWayne Wise has. That average of his stinks. I’ve watched a lot of games this year, and the ones he is in, I’ve seen him get on base maybe 5 times. He just cannot seem to hit anything.)

    *Favorite member of lineup: Chris Stewart

    The Starting Rotation
    * Sabathia: B+ (There seems to some parts on CC Sabathia that are lagging, especially after doing 24 straight innings in 3 games. He seems to be allowing more hits than normal, but in typical CC fashion, he is good at getting out of logjams.)
    * Kuroda: C (He isn’t a nightmare as some might take him for. His good games seem to be more of a problem with lack of run support in those games. This can change, so can the grade, I’d like to see more games with him on the mound though, considering I’ve missed most of his games.)
    * Hughes: B- (Again, being gracious here. When Hughes and Garcia were struggling off the bat, I was ready to throw Hughes back in the ‘pen. However, I must credit this turnaround of his and changed my opinion in a heartbeat. He stepped up under pressure and is while, not perfect, better than he was.)
    * Pettite: A (The two rather poor showings keep me from saying a full A+, but the 39 (to-be 40) year old #46 has continued to impress on his return, striking people left and right.
    * Nova: B- (This one might get me some criticism, considering I feel like we know he has the stuff in him. If he’d control the amount of walks and longballs, I feel like we wouldn’t be jumping on his back as much as we are. Let’s seem come July where he stands.)
    * Garcia: C- (That ERA is a nightmare and so was his pitching. Hopefully last night’s two innings is a sign of the future.)

    *Favorite member of lineup: Phil Hughes

    The Bullpen
    * Logan: B+ (I’ve noticed slack in some starts, but I feel like we’re getting somewhere with him. He is the strong Tim Byrdak-equivalent I feel, but he is good for bullpen work.)
    * Eppley: B, Rapada: C (Eppeley has been strong in the games he’s thrown, but Clay Rapada just seems everywhere. They work well together one after the other, but Eppeley seems to stand out more.)
    * Wade: B (Much stronger pitcher this year than last year. I think as he grows, he will be a strong part of the bullpen. He just needs to keep it up during the year.)
    * Phelps: B (He was strong as the rotation, but since then there have been some weaker than normal starts, and I’d like to see him in more pressure situations, cause that’s when he seems to shine the best.)
    * Soriano: A (For some reason, the terrible showings made him look pretty terrible when setting up the 7th for Robertson. However, since taking over the closer role, he has excelled.)

    *Favorite member of lineup: Boone Logan

    Management
    *Joe Girardi: C (Not all that happy with a lot of decisions in terms of who to send out when. Not going to jump on top of Girardi for not doing X at Y time.)
    *Larry Rothschild: B (I would like to see some improvement in consistency of pitchers. All of them seem to be having inconsistent runs.)
    *Kevin Long: C (We need to find some way to get these bats working, whatever techniques Long is using at the moment isn’t showing.)
    *Brian Cashman: B- (People can jump all over the fact that we don’t have Michael Pineda all they want. He’s not doing this utterly terrible job because of one bad trade.)

  20. OldYanksFan says:

    No way Teix gets a C (average). His OPS is well below what we should expect from him… in the .850 range. I give a D+
    Robbie doesn’t get a B- with a .840 OPS. That average for him… maybe a tad below. I give a C.
    ARod with a C+? An .806 OPS is a little better then we should expect? ARod gets a C-.
    Swisher with a C- may be a tad generous (sub .800 OPS), but I won’t quibble.
    Gritner gets an F… for getting injured on a diving catch? With an OPS slightly better then ARod? I demand a teacher conference!

  21. OldYanksFan says:

    Also….
    I am assuming these grades are based on what we should expect from each guy…. NOT based on being compared to league average. If ARod/Cano/Swisher/Teix are league average (a C grade????, around a .700+ OPS), then WE ARE DOOMED.

  22. roadrider says:

    There are three reasons Cashman didn’t go after Beltran (who would have made a ton of sense for the Yankees). The first reason was money, the second reason was money and I can’t remember what the third one was.

  23. Frank says:

    Don’t agree at all with a B for CC. He deserves a C. He’s been mediocre, but keeps getting a pass.

  24. RetroRob says:

    If Gardner gets an “F” for being injured to date, shouldn’t Mariano get like a triple F for being injured to date and not coming back to next season? Same for Pineda.

    I’d bump CC up to a B+. I’d bump Hughes and Nova down a grade, to a D+ and a D.

    • RetroRob says:

      To clarify. I don’t believe Mariano or Pineda should get F’s. They’re injured. Gardner the same.

  25. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    Jamie:

    I appreciate the article and your efforts to grade out the Yanks for a third of the season. I don’t agree with all of your assessments of letter grades but it was good expression of your feelings.

  26. BJ says:

    Some tough responses here, but I’d like to echo Larry above me in expressing thanks to Jamie for taking the time to write this article. I actually agreed with many of the letter grades and overall was pleased with the article, except the part at the end about how we should have pursued Carlos Beltran. I don’t think anyone predicted his career revival in the cushy NL Central, and I think the results would have been different in the AL East.

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