2013 Midseason Review: Grade C’s

Sanchez: Yankees have interest in Cuban right-hander Dalier Hinojosa
Cano lands first endorsement deal since signing with Jay-Z

No, it’s not the literal midway point of the season, but we’re going to use the four-day All-Star break to review the Yankees’ performance to date. We’re handing out letter grades, A through F. We’ve already tackled the A’s and the B’s, now it’s time for the C’s.

(Jeff Gross/Getty)
(Jeff Gross/Getty)

I guess that, by definition, a grade C is average, right? It is right in the middle of the A through F scale, but I’m not sure that really applies to baseball though. For every A there are a hundred F’s and for every B there are a couple dozen D’s. Grade C is closer to the top than the bottom, I think, slightly better than average.

Anyway, the Yankees sit in fourth place and three games out of a playoff spot at the All-Star break because they’ve gotten a lot of mediocre performances and very few really good ones. Some guys have wound up C’s because they’re disappointments, but others are here because they’re doing pretty much exactly what’s expected. Heck, some are even here because they’ve been surprisingly good. I’m trying to keep this objective and not look at performance vs. expectations, however. Easier said than done, obviously.

Enough rambling, onto the grade C’s.

Preston Claiborne
It happens almost every year. A known but not necessarily highly-touted young arm comes up from the farm system and impresses in relief for the Yankees. Claiborne has followed in the footsteps of David Phelps (2012) and Hector Noesi (2011) by posting a 2.43 ERA and 3.03 FIP in 29.2 innings. He was excellent early on but has faltered a bit of late, which is not atypical of young relievers. Claiborne stepped in when Joba Chamberlain hit the DL and didn’t just temporarily fill the hole, he upgraded the bullpen.

Ivan Nova
This has been a tale of two seasons for Nova, who owns a very good 3.63 ERA and an excellent 3.00 FIP in 52 overall innings. He was awful before going down with a triceps issue (6.48 ERA and 3.11 FIP in 16.2 innings), good in two brief relief appearances after getting healthy (one run in six innings), and outstanding since coming back up from the minors (2.45 ERA and 2.65 FIP in 29.1 innings). Which Nova will the Yankees get going forward? Who knows. He’s gone from excellent to awful and back again so many times in the last two years. Right now he has a rotation spot thanks to the Phelps’ injury and will get an opportunity to show this latest version is the real Ivan Nova.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Andy Pettitte
Emotions are a tricky thing. They make you say things that aren’t true just because they once were and you want to believe they still are. “Andy Pettitte is still a reliable mid-rotation starter” is one of those things. Pettitte, who has a 4.39 ERA and 3.75 FIP in 16 starts, has had a season very appropriate for baseball’s oldest starting pitcher. The 41-year-old battled nagging back and lat problems early in the year and has been pretty hittable of late, pitching to a 4.96 ERA and 3.28 FIP in eight starts since coming off the DL. Older finesse pitchers are exactly the kind of guys who underperform their peripherals. Andy has been a dandy number four or five starter, but he hasn’t been particularly reliable or durable this year.

Ichiro Suzuki
Supposedly team ownership — or at least someone above the baseball operations level — brought Ichiro back on a two-year deal this past winter, a definite head-scratcher of a move. A recent hot streak has raised his season line to .283/.320/.393 (92 wRC+), which is almost identical to the .283/.307/.390 (91 wRC+) line he put up last season. He’s no longer a true burner (on pace for 22 steals) or an elite defender (especially considering how he wastes his arm strength by taking forever to get rid of the ball), but he’s an above-average contributor both on the bases and in the field. A below-average offensive player and above-average defender in right field is a serviceable player, but not exactly a world-burner. Ichiro didn’t completely fall off a cliff this year, and that’s about the best thing you can say about his 2013.

Adam Warren
Warren was in a weird place coming into this season, mostly because he appeared to be ticketed for a third trip to Triple-A Scranton since there was no big league opening for him. That’s how careers stall. Phil Hughes started the year on the DL with a back problem though, opening the long-man role for Warren. When Nova went down, that spot stayed open. Warren took advantage of that opportunity and has pitched to a 3.09 ERA and 3.84 FIP while averaging more than 2.2 innings per appearance. He’s had some real bullpen savers this year, including 5.1 innings on April 3rd (one run), four scoreless innings on both May 13th and May 22th, and six scoreless innings in the 18-inning marathon against the Athletics on June 13th. Long reliever is a mostly thankless job, but Warren has excelled in that role and put himself in position to be considered for a starting job next season, or maybe even in the second half of this year.

Sanchez: Yankees have interest in Cuban right-hander Dalier Hinojosa
Cano lands first endorsement deal since signing with Jay-Z
  • http:/www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew)

    Even though he blocked me on twitter (no idea why), I think Hughes should have been included on this list. His overall stats is about as average as it gets so it would fall right in line with a C.

  • Kramerica Industries

    I guess that, by definition, a grade C is average, right? It is right in the middle of the A through F scale, but I’m not sure that really applies to baseball though. For every A there are a hundred F’s and for every B there are a couple dozen D’s. Grade C is closer to the top than the bottom, I think, slightly better than average.

    Not really?

    I mean, the traditional grade scale is 90-100, 80-89, 70-79, 60-69, and then a F is 0-59. So, really, the potential for F is much higher than for any particular other grade as well.

    I mean, you’d have to be a really huge fucking moron to get so many F’s in the first place, but I still think this comparison works.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      It’s called survivorship bias. You don’t grade the kids that dropped the class…and how many of them would be F’s and how many A’s? Exactly.

    • vicki

      the lowest possible sat score is 600, not zero. for example.

  • hogsmog

    I guess I don’t really understand this grading system- why is Warren a C? He’s done exactly what’s been asked of him.

    I thought this series would be a grade against what was expected from these players at the beginning of the season, not against objective MLB performance. Warren is a great example of this- sure, he’s ‘average’ when compared against all MLB relievers, but I think he’s pulled his weight above and beyond, to the point of at least a B. I think the same is true for a player like Ichiro- certainly not an A (which would be say, turning the clock back to 2007), but I think he’s definitely performed above expectation value, which was pretty much nothing for me (and I sense the same for you, Mike).

    • hogsmog

      Hmm I guess you do have something of a disclaimer about this, I’m sorry. I guess it’s just tough to do something like an absolute letter grade, no matter how you swing it.

      • I’m One

        Yeah, I agree. I’m really not sure how one would make this “fair”. Looking at a guy like Warren, he has gone above and beyond what was expected, but how much value does he have? A team could have 25 players that went above and beyond expectations and still suck, if the expectations were low. Not saying that’s truely the case with Warren (but expectations weren’t high either), but that’s part of what grading these guys so difficult.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Yeah I think most of us are in that boat too. We’re not exactly sure if he’s grading against expectations or against the rest of the league.

      • I’m One

        This too.

      • trr

        The rest of the league, no?

    • Wolfgang’s Fault

      Ichiro and Gardner have essentially had the same year, give or take a smidgeon, & that’s one of the problems w/the Yankee outfield, it’s too smidgeon toed. A lower case “b” for both of them!

  • Caballo Sin Nombre

    Sorry, Mike is right. Distribution of skills among a randomly-selected set of humans tend to follow a bell-shaped curve (“Normal Distribution”). What Mike is talking about is that pro ballplayers all fall within the “long tail” of the curve– even the crappiest player in the minors is pre-selected to be much better at baseball than the average randomly-selected person.

    • vicki

      you had me at gaussian function.

  • JLC 776

    Glad we got the C’s so quickly! Wasn’t expecting more today…

    If we’re calling the C’s slightly higher than average, than I guess this all makes sense. I’m still a Hughes fan, but I’d only call him average so the D slotting that I’m assuming he’ll get works.

    I hope we open up a grade below F. F- or something. Because there are a lot of guys on the projected F list that should be insulted by some of the other guys that will land on the F list. Remember when Ben Francisco was on the team?

    • trr

      Ben Francisco?
      That’s just a story we use to frighten our children

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I keep on forgetting him. Yeah, he gets a G-.

  • Jankees

    When does the Brian Cashman gets a A++ post go up? Right pollyannas?

    I mean the fact that this lineup on a daily basis isn’t even good enough to meet the requirements for a spring training road game shouldn’t prevent anyone from bragging up Cashman.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      Cervelli has played 17 games so far.
      Granderson has played 8 games so far.
      Jeter has played 1 game so far.
      Tex has played 15 games so far.
      ARod has played 0 games so far.
      Youkilis has played 28 games so far.
      Yet still 7 games over .500.

      Definitely not an A for Cashman (I’d say D, and time for a new GM), but objectively the rash of injuries have a lot more to do with the horrible lineup than anything Cashman has or hasn’t done.

      • I’m One

        But, but but, he could have gone out and spent money!!!

      • JLC 776

        It’s real tough to fairly grade Cash this year as I don’t think we really know what the limitations were to his power. He seemed as annoyed as we were during the offseason. Half of me wants to blame him for the lack of communication for the teams direction, half of me suspects he’s a victim.

        • I’m One

          Not sure if I’d blame him for not communicating the team’s direction, that would seem to be an ownership call more than Cashman’s. I generally agree it’s difficult to grade him, as we’ve heard the Ichiro situation was not his call (not terrible, but might not have been necessary), but it seems the Wells trade was his. Again, the team was desparate at the time, as it was late in ST and there wasn’t much he could do. Tough call. Maybe a C? Could be a D or a B just as easily, I guess.

        • mac1

          That is my take on Cash also. We know he doesn’t mind throwing around Steinbucks – my guess Hal deserves the blame for the downgrade at three starting positions and the bench.

          My only beef with Cash is I feel he relys on the wrong people for player dev – he lacks in having that kind of experience/ skillset himself and it hurts him.

          We’ve heard for severl years from him that he wanted player dev to be a significant part of he ML squad, it hasn’t happened.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          The job of a front office employee is much less front and center for the fanbase to see than the job of a player. You can watch all 162 games. You don’t get to watch Brian Cashman on the job, day in day out.

          A whole lot of “grading” Brian Cashman will subjectively fall upon what each individual wants to project onto him and, as we can see from years of blog posts across the blogosphere, there’s plenty of ripe fruit for any side of that argument you want to take.

          I’d say he’s a top tier GM, but there’s several I like better (I’ve been a Dombrowski guy since my Miami days), those five rings don’t lie, that no one can be in a job like this for very long without developing a list of misfires, and that 2013 could have certainly gone better in a few places.

    • http://www.nra.org Guns

      Especially since when half the Yankees lineup goes down with injuries, the rest of baseball says, “What can we do to help?” Cashman barely has time to sleep with all the phone calls from other teams trying to trade him their star hitters.

      • ExitCashman

        Cashman can’t even cherry pick the trash heap well. Matt Diaz, Russ Canzler, Ben Francisco, Dan Johnson, Reid Brignac, Chris Nelson, Travis Hafner?
        If it weren’t for Lyle Overbay being the only 1B available at the time, Cashman would be batting .000. Even Sandy Alderson (!!!) with Marlon Byrd and Eric Young, Jr. has more to show for his dumpster diving.
        And the Pirates (Russell Martin), Mariners (Raul Ibanez) and numerous others thank Cashman for his faith in Chris Stewart and Travis Hafner.

        • pat

          There’s a correct way to pick a trash heap?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            There’s not a correct way to do anything when your name is “Brian Cashman” according to that guy.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Mike has your number. He’ll get back to you.

      • Jankees

        Can’t wait I’m sure we will laugh together about all of your stupid takes.

        Hold on I hear my phone now…. LOL

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I’m sure.

  • Matt B

    I’m not prepared to make any predictions about Ivan Nova either way – and not that it’s at issue right this second, in trying to walk a fine line between staying in the race this year and looking ahead (which is what I believe this team will do – same approach they’ve taken all year – or at least the approach they’d tell you they’re taking – hanging in, waiting for reinforcements, improving at the margins – separate discussion if you ask me, but depending on the reinforcements is foolhardy if the goal is PS this year, and i’m not sure they’ve improved at the margins even at all) – is to give Nova every benefit of the doubt of pitching in the rotation the rest of the year. I would frankly say the same about Pineda, but only once he’s clearly shown the stamina to be ready to face big league batters.

    Here’s what tantalizes you about Nova this year, in an admittedly SSS – and by the way his FIP and xFIP have been very good all year, even in those lousy 16 2/3 April innings: the K rate remains elevated (significantly), but his GB rate is back to 2011 levels.

    While I certainly don’t think his true talent level is the ace of his last two starts, or maybe even the solid #2 of his previous five outings (he has, as Mike notes, been up and down before, a few things I take heart in:

    -Last year, as you’ll recall, even when his numbers looked fine early in the year, the hits he was surrendering were rockets, reflecting an utter lack of fastball command. This year, he’s only surrendered 9 XBH in his 52 innings; and after the lousy April, over 35 1/3 innings, 4 XXB, less than one per nine. And over those 35 1/3 innings, the percentage of all his hits allowed that went for XBs is down.

    -Over April, 62.5% of his FBs were classified as line drives; since then, that number’s down to 50%. Another possible indicator of improved command.

    -Most obviously in terms of command and control, of his 16 BBs, 8 of them were issued over the 16 1/3 April innings.

    -Fastball velocity is up, sitting at 93.6; and while his wFB last season was a truly horrific -23, this year, at least in terms of wFB he’s moved into positive territory at 0.5 (not positive yet in terms of wFA or wFA/C, but significant improvement there).

    =Increased swings and misses, significantly reduced contact rate.

    A long way of stating that, over an admittedly small sample, the guy has been a fundamentally different pitcher and a very good one. While he lacks a truly first-rate secondary offering, he’s able to use three other pitches, esp. the curve, effectively – so for me, with Nova – as for practically all pitchers – it’s all about the fastball, and his has been demonstrably better. Enough to make me want to watch more. Because unlike 2011 Nova, who clearly had outperformed his peripherals, this recent version’s success is in line with the peripherals.

    Can’t argue the C, though I think practically, he’s more an incomplete. I do, and have, wondered about his arm health, just given the tightness in the ’11 postseason, followed by a season in which his command fell off the cliff, and then the triceps this year. I hope the arm is fundaeentally soon

    • http://www.nra.org Guns


      Evidence Nova may have introduced a two seam fastball into his repertoire and what that means to his overall numbers.

      • Matt B

        Thanks much for the link. I fear that with Nova’s recent success, I’m just desperately looking for something to cling to (which is scary for me, because while a realist, I’m a pretty optimistic fan – and the future of the lineup scares me like nothing I’ve seen (conceding, I’m a relatively young guy, started following the team daily in the late 80s, when I was 8,9 years old, etc., I haven’t seen much in the way of tough times). But there’s still some pitching in that system. Lots of it is wildcard – Pineda, Banuelos, Campos, DePaula, Ramirez, Clarkson (spelled that wrong)Hensley, etc. I’ve got no problem with David Phelps as a #5, but don’t think he’s better than that. Always wondering whether the next true #1 and #2 starters this team will see are in the system or not.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          If you were in the double digits agewise when the early 90’s hit, you’ve seen rough times.

          I don’t blame you one bit with Nova. Hard to really believe what you see with him.

          • Matt B

            I was born in ’81, ironically living in Queens for my first few years – my folks at the time weren’t bigtime baseball people – diehard Knick fans, they still talk about the ’69 and ’73 teams like nothing else, and my mom has subsequently become about as intense a Yank fan as me – and admittedly, my first baseball memories are Mets-related, very vaguely (I think, you know with memories) can recall the end of the ’85 race, for sure the ’86 and ’88 postseasons. I didn’t root against the Mets, but at leasr by ’88, and I honestly couldn’t tell you why, I had decided I was a Yankee fan – I think the history buff in me did it. So in hindsight 89-92 were bleak, but I was probably too stupid to realize it, plus the Knicks were fun and I was easily distracted. Club had enough star power names that I’m sure every spring I thought it’d be their year. Loved the Torre dynasty teams like crazy, of course, but honestly, I was still a pretty dumb fan, I think it took me through ’01 to really become a student of the game, despite having always played it. Honestly, I cherish the ’09 title above all else, but it’s the one I can say, they won, and I knew why, knew how the draft and 40-man, worked, etc Ha you can tell, slow day at the office in this heat.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Pretty much what ’77 and ’78 were for me…..VERY vague memories, if I even can remember them at all.

              That’s what made the dynasty so much sweeter and looking ahead now at the team’s needing to reload and not being afraid. I didn’t get my real first taste at the Yankees winning a championship until I was 22 years old.

            • Wolfgang’s Fault

              I sometimes forget the wide range of Yankee fan this site has on it. My first Yankee WS Championship was against the Reds in 1961 — what I call the Johnny Blanchard WS, and provided him a bit of pay back for being the catcher behind the plate when Mazeroski went yard to end the 1960 WS. I remember Mickey’s “bad” year in 1959 and the nightmare of Bill Virdon’s ground ball to Kubek in the bottom of the 8th inning opening up the door for the Pirates during that 1960 world series & then one inning later watching Yogi’s #8 go back to the Ivy covered left, left-center field wall at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh as he watched Mazeroski’s walk-off & series ending blast against Ralph Terry (Terry would gain some solace by pitching a complete game shutout in game 7 against the SF Giants to win the 1962 WS, but I’m you know that already) sail over the wall.

              As for Nova & your analysis, I think he has the chance to be a top of the rotation guy as he’s only now getting a handle on his considerable assortment of “stuff” and how to consistently attack hitters w/it. For many young talented pitchers, the “bad inning” syndrome is one of their last hurdles to becoming a reliable anchor in a team’s starting rotation. Knowing how to navigate successfully through a game, shifting gears, to rear or pull back, manage an opposing lineup 3 or 4 times through, is all about talent & ability, of course, but experience & the pitcher’s makeup count, as well. Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day, and quality starting pitchers aren’t either (well, except maybe for a very few). No one can throw a ball w/his velocity and his assortment and not experience some arm trauma. Only he knows precisely where, when, & what type. If he has his mechanics down properly, works his body properly to maximize flexibility on his non-pitching days, throws “within himself”, staying true to the process & mechanics that got him here, cultivates a starting pitcher’s mental stamina that keeps him focused and alert to his game & his original objective throughout his outing(s), not forcing his arm or body to do something it’s not trained to do, he shouldn’t develop serious arm problems. My tea leaves (& your #’s) tell me Nova is thisclose to being a top of a staff type starter. He’s not Bob Gibson or Tom Seaver, but he ain’t chopped liver, either.

  • Duh Injuries

    Sabathia should be given a grade of C. He’s an ace pitching like a #3, so how could he get a B grade? He’s a big reason why the Yanks are six games behind Boston and three games behind in the wildcard. If he pitched like he has pitched for the 2009-12 Yanks this season, the Yanks would be no more than four games behind Boston and one game behind in the wildcard.

    That said, the Yanks should trade Sabathia to an N.L. team for in the offseason. If they did that, they’d clear $71M in guaranteed money including $23M for 2014, the same for 2015, and $25M in 2016 plus his ridiculous $28M vested option for 2017 for up to $99M total cleared.

    More importantly, if they re-signed Kuroda for a year and $20M ($5M raise – why not with the Sabathia money and Pettitte’s $12M cleared from letting him go?) and offered Hughes the one year $14M qualifying offer, they’d have at least TEN homegrown and trade acqusition starters to fill the final four rotation slots as follows:

    Homegrown – Hughes, Nova, Phelps, Nuno, Warren, Marshall

    Trade Acquistion – Pineda, three Sabathia trade acquisitions

    Make it eleven options including seven homegrown ones if Chamberlain was re-signed for $2M to build his arm up to be a starting pitcher again since he sucks ass as a reliever. A dozen including eight homegrown options if Pettitte accepted a one year $2.5M base contract where he could make triple that based on number of starts and innings pitched, awards, and A.L. Cy Young Award ranking.

    Who says they couldn’t sign and/or trade anyone, too?

    I like Sabathia but I say trade him while he still has worth as he will have little or no worth in 2015 or 2016, just low-risk years-wise (a year or two commitment for his taker.)

    • gc

      Sabathia has a no-trade clause, dimwit.

    • LK

      So you want to trade CC to clear money, but think he’s awesome enough to bring 3 MLB-ready starters back?

    • BFDeal


    • Robinson Tilapia

      Can I hand you a towel?

    • http:/www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew)

      In all the years that I have been reading this site I have seen some batshit crazy stuff in comment section of this site, but you Duh Injuries might have just made the batshitiest craziest comment of them all. You are rewarded no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • GotHeem

      1. no

      2. your trade proposal sucks

      3. hughes and joba are as good as gone and every other slot in the rotation after the year is a question mark so why trade the one guarantee? not only is he a sure shoe-in for the rotation next year, but who would want him if the team he is on is trying to dump him? plus he has the no trade clause AND $71 mil guaranteed. good luck finding a team that will;

      A) take on all $71 mil

      B) have CC waive his clause for

      C) and in the process give up 3 prospects/players in the process

      it makes no sense to trade a quality pitcher when there is a supposed budget. there could already be 4 open spots in rotation why would they fill in a rotation with underperforming/sub par guys just because they are homegrown? i love the idea of them growing within but a rotation of any combination of hughes, nuno, phelps, warren, nova and marshall instills very little confidence and could lead to a long season. on the market i dont really see them signing anyone to sure up the rotation after breaking the bank to keep robbie

      • Wolfgang’s Fault

        Yeah, so what’s the point of paying top $$ for an underperforming/sub par CC? Either way, it would make for a long season. Keeping CC and watching him decline even more, or worse, having him break down completely would result in the same thing you just outlined, but the Yankees would still be on the hook for all his dough. Buy him out of his no-trade, pay (up to) one year’s worth of his present contract, & get back, if not 3, 2 quality players for him, & yes, a national league destination would be best for all concerned. There are always pitchers out there that can give you innings if the Yankees can’t find them in their system, & the 2014 NY Yankees will be in full rebuild mode, anyway, or should be, where CC’s presence in the starting rotation won’t have a meaningful bearing on whether they reach the post-season. CC should go to an easier pitcher’s league & to a team that gives him a chance to get another ring, preferably closer to his home in CA. The Yankee’s are no longer the pennant contending team he originally signed with, & he’s not the guy who can put them over, now, either. They should cut bait in the offseason (or even sooner if they get an offer they can’t refuse), get a better handle on their payroll, & build for the future,

  • Matt B

    On an absolute scale, I still give CC a B-B+. Holding literally everything else aside, he’s been a pretty good pitcher. If you start to introduce any relative scaling, though, and I don’t consider myself a particularly tough grader, I do think he’s in C+/C territory,

    He continues to be a horse, and his K%, BB% and K/BB continue to be above league average, although to a much lesser extent than prior years. His 4.07 FIP is essentially league average (4.05). His contact% and swinging strikes aren’t significantly off his career averages; of course, the FB velocity, while improving, is down significantly this year, and he’s getting killed by the homers. I like to think of myself as a pretty informed statistical observer (and someone who watches with my eyes), but with CC, I fall back on a simple concept: allowing runs. Granted, he pitches alot of innings, but just looking at the following ER per start distribution:

    ER Starts
    0 1
    1 3
    2 4
    3 4
    4 4
    5 2
    6 1
    7 1

    That’s not a #1 guy looking chart. That’s a guy who over 20 starts has been as likely to give up 5 or more ER as he’s been to allow 0 or 1. 4 or more ER in 40% of starts. He’s also allowed 8 unearned runs to score. There have certainly been flashes of dominance, but largely, an inability, to carry it across an entire 9 innings, let alone a sustained stretch (don’t misunderstand, dude’s had some great starts – but instead of the complete game shutouts, you’ll see his best starts end up with him being nicked for a run or two).

    I’m not ready to declare CC done as an elite starter. His lack of command has, I think, been as much an issue as the decreased velocity, though of course the latter provides less room for mistakes. He’s being judged against an awfully high standard. But I know I can’t make a case for him as being the Yankees best starter right now, or really anytime this season.

    • vicki

      he’s got the letter C right there in his name. twice, for emphasis.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I’d have gone B or higher on everyone except Nova and Andy here.

    Andy may be a dandy #5 starter, but I feel he was expected to be a much more important cog in this rotation. It is what it is with him, and this profoundly feels like a player nearing retirement after leaving it all out there, so I certainly can’t fault him. A “C,” though? Yeah, I’d say that’s right.

    I’d honestly just give Nova the “incomplete” and see how he does when he finishes his requirements next semester.

  • Crime Dog

    Glad you mentioned how long it takes for Ichiro to get rid of the ball. Is that a recent thing, or has he done that his whole career?

    • trr

      Been an Ichiro fan a long time; this is more of a recent thing, I’d say. He’s still got a great throwing arm, but watch him compared to say, Gardner, and you can see the difference

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    I can’t wait for the F’s

    • trr

      That might be the biggest group

      • Crime Dog

        Incomplete’s will probably be the longest. Jeter, ARod, Granderson, Cervelli, Tex, Pineda, Nunez, Youkilis (actually he’d be an F probably).

        Holy crap that’s a lot of injuries…

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I give out two of them, Youk and Joba. That’s it.

        • hogsmog

          What about the Ben Francisco treat?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I’d forgotten about him. G-.

  • ExitCashman

    Hey Mike, Sure that bias against Ichiro from the start isn’t showing through? He and Cano have been the only consistent players in this pathetic offense, and his season has certainly been better than Gardner’s. Giving him a C is really unfair.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      How on earth has he been better than Gardner?
      I’d say a B- might be more appropriate for Ichiro, but there is no way in hell he’s been better than Gardner.
      The only aspect of the game where Ichiro has been better than Gardner is he’s been a slightly better baserunner.
      Gardner’s been the better hitter. Gardner’s the better defender. Gardner plays the more premium position.

      • ExitCashman

        Gardner is striking out too much and when he does get on base, does not spark the team’s offense. He is a very good defender, but his offense is streaky – at times non-existent – and he has never been able to learn the skill of stealing bases.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

          Gardner does strike out too much. Yet he still makes outs at a lower rate and outhits Ichiro overall. The only difference in type of outs comes in productive out situations. Despite the more K’s, Gardner has a higher productive out rate (29% to 26%, both disappointingly below average). Ichiro has been better at getting runners in from 3rd with less than 2 out (63% to Gardner’s awful 42%), but that’s more than offset by Gardner’s much better Baserunner scored % (slightly above average 15% for Gardner, rather bad 11% for Ichiro) and by Gardner’s more RBI (32 to 25) despite fewer runners on base (172 for Gardner vs. 203 for Ichiro). In terms of hitting, Gardner leads Ichiro in almost every category.

          His basestealing has been disappointing and hasn’t provided much of a spark. The same can be said for Ichiro, who’s run even less often than Gardner (though with a higher success rate).

          His offense is streaky. As are most players. Including Ichiro.

      • sangreal

        Ichiro isn’t better than Gardner, but as Mike always says — they’re basically the same player. So I don’t understand why he rated Gardner higher than Ichiro. Because Gardner had a better hot streak than Ichiro’s ongoing hot streak?

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

          Same (or very similar anyways) type of player. Gardner’s just a better version at this point in their respective careers. He’s definitely been better than Ichiro overall this year. A higher grade for the guy having a better season absolutely makes sense.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I have no idea how you can say Ichiro has been consistent. He’s been the opposite of that.

      • nycsportzfan

        Ichiro’s been a 295BA hitter since May 14th(2months, 56games or more then half the season). I love ur stuff mike, but what are you talking about? Hes been trending upward for more then half the season, and your still knocking him?

  • LarryM Fl

    IMHO, Claiborne and Warren deserve better than C anywhere near B- to B. This kids have filled value spots in the bullpen plus are showing that they can be relied upon next year. Hopefully the second half will be a repeat of there performances.

    Andy keeps you in games but the team must come from behind most of the time. With this offense this aspect of his pitching is poor. C is a high grade for him. Can not field his position.

    Nova Incomplete shows up does not show for class. Also he was injured (sick). He needs to show more work. Ichiro deserves a little more than C. He is providing as much as you can expect. He may be no burner but has more steals than our burner. He is holding his own. nicely.

    Warren, Claiborne and Nova may provide some answers to the Yankee pitching issues for next year. If the Yanks can trade Hughes and Joba for some positional player(s) enhancements for the team. Warren may get a start here and there for the Yanks offering more evidence of his worth. Nice turn around from his first start last year. I like Warren more than Phelps. Phelps looks to me as Hughes does. No get out pitch with two strikes.

  • matthew

    I feel that this blog, which I love, is somewhat of an anti-Ichiro blog. Whenever an Ichiro post comes up, I read nothing but negative things to say about the guy. I’m not going to lie, I’m a huge fan of his and was excited when he came on board last season and inked that 2 yr deal. How come whenever he foes something good, it goes unnoticed. Plus, the saying that he ain’t an elite defender because he takes forever to throw kinda irks me. The dude is probably our best outfielder outside of Gardner. His range is still elite as far as I’m concerned considering that he can play all 3 spots no problem. I’m calling it now, he’ll be hitting over .300 over by the time this season is over. It seems like he gets hot whenever he bats leadoff. Why can’t Girardi bat him leadoff and put Gardy at the 2 hole and ride that lineup for a week or two and see how it goes

  • cranky

    Ichiro is a better-than-average player, owing to his still-stellar defense and speed. And, he’s been hitting >.300 for the last 70 games, or so. Deserves a B.
    Claiborne? He’s hit a few speed bumps, but kept his composure. And, most of the time, he’s been really good. B
    Warren? His job–pitching now and then, middle relief–is the most unglamorous one in the game. But he’s been doing it better than most. A Ramiro Mendoza-like B.

  • DaveM

    How is Ichiro not a B given that he’s third in bWAR by a mile?


  • Delia

    A C for Preston Claiborne?! He deserves a B. I’m sorry, I strongly disagree with that one.