New York Yankees: Grading All 25 Roster Players After April
There have been plenty of both high and low points for this organization, and we still have several more months of baseball action to go through.
Which players on the roster have or haven't performed to expectations so far this season? Let's take a look at each player and grade them on their performance.
Note that the players on this list are those currently on the active roster, so Brett Gardner and Cody Eppley are not included.
Russell Martin hits decently, in terms of both contact and power.
The power has certainly been there, but the ability to hit for contact hasn't, as he's hitting just .158,
Another concern is that Martin has already struck out 16 times, which is interesting because he's not a catcher who strikes out often.
There is some positive news, though: He and Alex Rodriguez are tied for second on the team in walks, with 12.
Martin's backup, Chris Stewart, has done an alright job so far.
His numbers for a backup catcher through six games are nothing great, but nothing bad either.
He's hitting .235, with no home runs and three RBI.
He hasn't made any screwups when he's behind the plate, either, so he's done his job defensively.
He should continue to provide in his role as the season continues, until either Francisco Cervelli is recalled or if the organization wants to use Austin Romine.
Mark Teixeira is known for having slow starts year after year, but you would think (or at least hope) that after nearly a decade in the major leagues, he'd start off on the right foot.
Currently, he's hitting .233 with three home runs and 12 RBI.
And despite possessing a big bat, he's only been walked six times, less than some of the others in the lineup, like Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano.
However, because this has been typical of Teixeira, I wouldn't expect this to continue for much longer, unless an injury or something else occurs.
For the past year or so, I always thought Robinson Cano should be slotted third in the starting lineup.
His ability to hit 25-30 home runs a year with a batting average over .300 would be perfect.
Have guys like Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson up front so he can drive them hone.
Then, have Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez behind Cano to drive him home.
Makes sense, right? Well, not everything on paper goes right... at least not in the month of April, anyway.
I guess Cano still needs time adjusting at the spot (recently, he's been playing in the fourth spot), but we're still waiting for him to go on a hot streak.
Hitting .255, while not as bad as Mark Teixeira or Russell Martin, is still disappointing from someone we expect hitting between .300 and .320. Even more disappointing is the fact that he only has one home run and four RBI.
Hopefully, for him, and the Yankees organization, Cano will do much better in May.
The captain lives on.
Derek Jeter may be 37 years old (turning 38 in June), but not only is he the best contact hitter on the Yankees right now, he's one of the best in baseball. Currently, he's hitting .400.
But what's been even more impressive is the power he's shown as well as his ability to go for extra bases.
He has four home runs, 13 RBI and seven doubles.
And to think, two years ago, many people (myself included) thought that Jeter's career was over. Not yet, my friends.
Though his bat has cooled recently (he's yet to record a hit since April 21 against the Boston Red Sox), Eduardo Nunez has done a decent job as a utility infielder, manning mainly the third base and shortstop positions.
He's hitting .278, and while he's yet to hit a home run in 36 plate appearances, he does have three RBI.
My only concern is his defense (remember he had 20 errors in 90 games at the two positions last year).
He does have three errors, which doesn't sound like much, but it makes me a bit wary as to how many he'll have by the end of the season.
However, if he can continue hit at a decent rate, he'll continue to have a spot on the roster.
To be honest, I wasn't sure how Alex Rodriguez was going to do this season.
I was expecting a huge decline in power or an injury to occur during spring training.
Fortunately, though, A-Rod has started off the season very well.
While I wish his batting average (.256) was a bit better, I can't complain, seeing as he still has plenty of power left (four home runs, 11 RBI) and the plate discipline to get himself on-base.
Recently, we've see a return of Rodriguez batting third in the lineup, and for the time being, I think that's fine. He's a doing good enough job offensively to be rewarded with playing at that spot.
Another player I had my doubts about, mainly because of injuries over the past several years.
Like Rodriguez, though, Eric Chavez has being doing very well offensively.
Despite only having a third of A-Rod's at-bats so far this season, Chavez does have three home runs, five RBI and a batting average of .310.
His performance has earned him starts at both third base and designated hitter, and rightfully so.
Curtis Granderson had a monster 2011 season, hitting 41 home runs and stealing 25 bases, but 2012 has the potential to be even better than that.
Already, Granderson has nine home runs (tied for second in the league, behind only Matt Kemp) and 17 RBI with a batting average of .276.
The only thing I'm wondering is why Granderson has yet to steal a base this season. Again, this is probably more of Girardi trying to take the long-ball approach.
I'm not expecting him to go all Jacoby Ellsbury and have a 30-30 or even a 40-40 season, but he does have speed, and it should be used.
Though Nick Swisher suffered a hamstring pull, he's not had to be put on the disabled list.
That's good, because Swisher certainly has provided plenty of pop with his bat for this team.
In what may be his final year as a member of the Yankees, Swisher was hitting .284 with six home runs and a team-leading 23 RBI (tied for fourth in the league), before suffering an injury this past Sunday.
He should return sometime next week, and hopefully he'll be hitting plenty of long balls when he comes back.
Raul Ibanez isn't doing too badly in his first year in pinstripes.
His .237 batting average isn't anything great, but then again, that's not why the Yankees signed him.
They wanted him for power, and he has certainly done that.
He has three home runs and 12 RBI so far this season.
What's also nice is the fact that he can play at both corner outfield positions, allowing a free spot at designated hitter for players such as Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones.
Like Ibanez, Andruw Jones is here for one reason—power.
And so far, he's done well, recording three home runs and five RBI through 12 games.
Also, like Ibanez, it's good to see Andruw Jones performing in the outfield.
While he's not the 10-time Gold Glove winner he used to be, he can still get it done out there.
However, what discourages me is his low .182 batting average. Yes, he's more or less a bench player, but if he's going to play somewhere between 60-80 games this year, I would at least want something closer to the .247 batting average he had last season.
Not exactly what anyone has been expecting from the ace of the Yankees rotation, right?
April hasn't been particularly great for C.C. Sabathia.
Through five starts, he has an ERA of 4.58 and has already allowed five home runs.
Fortunately for him, despite not pitching his best stuff, he does have a 3-0 record.
But if the Yankees want to win the AL East once more and reach the postseason, the pitching rotation needs to improve, and that starts with the ace, Sabathia.
Interestingly, Hiroki Kuroda has been the best pitcher in the rotation so far.
He's done a decent job so far pitching for the Yankees, although he still has room for improvement as the season progresses.
He has an ERA of 3.69 through five starts, with a record of 2-3. He also has 20 strikeouts.
My only concern is the home runs he's going to give up throughout the season.
While he's allowed one less than Sabathia so far, you have to remember he did allow 24 home runs with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. Considering the dimensions of Yankee Stadium, as well as a number of stadiums throughout the American League, it'll be interesting to see whether Kuroda gets lit up or not.
Ivan Nova is actually 3-0 in four starts so far this year, although you wouldn't think that the way he's been pitching.
He has a 5.18 ERA and has had more difficulty pitching at home than on the road,
What's more concerning is the hits he's given up. He's averaging nine hits allowed a game, and mind you, he's averaging about six innings a game.
It's rather nerve-wracking to see a pitcher give up so many hits and then have your relief pitcher(s) get out of these jams.
Maybe May will be a better month for him.
He's young, he's talented, and I like the fact that he can throw a knuckle curve.
But what has happened to Phil Hughes?
2011 was a forgettable year, and 2012 hasn't gotten off to a great start, either.
Hughes just seems to get himself into trouble right out of the gate, and the longest he's pitched in five starts was 5.2 innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.
When you have trouble pitching enough frames to be eligible to earn a win, you're in trouble.
And with David Phelps getting a chance to start (at least) one game, and with Andy Pettitte to return soon, Hughes' spot in the rotation is in danger.
Just looking at that number makes my stomach drop.
12.86. That's Freddy Garcia's ERA in four starts.
What's worse is that each start gets worse and worse. His past two starts, he couldn't even get past the second inning.
It's simply atrocious. If there was a grade lower than an F, I would give it to this man.
Let's hope that relegating him to the bullpen will result in a more positive change.
David Phelps, the 25-year-old rookie out of Notre Dame, will make his first career start on Thursday.
In six games, Phelps has done a decent job as a long reliever.
He's pitching in 17.2 innings, allowing seven runs for an ERA of 3.57. He's also struck out 14 batters.
With Andy Pettitte set to return, this may be Phelps' only shot to show that he can perform as a starter. He can't be worse than Freddy Garcia, right?
D.J. Mitchell is a recent call-up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
He went 2-1 in four starts with a 3.13 ERA before being called up and pitching in his first career game on Tuesday, against the Baltimore Orioles.
He pitched just one inning, allowing two hits, no runs and striking out a batter.
Mitchell has done a good job in the minors the past three years, and he's about to turn 25 years old in a couple of weeks, so he's still young.
It will be interesting to see what he can do in relief for this franchise.
Boone Logan has done a very good job as reliever of the Yankees that past couple of seasons, and it looks like 2012 will be no exception.
In 12 games, he's allowed just one run (a home run) and eight hits in 9.1 innings, for an ERA of just 0.96.
All in all, a very good job from Boone Logan so far.
Another reliever that has been doing well is Cory Wade.
Though he's pitched in three fewer games than Logan, he has still pitched effectively.
Wade has allowed just two runs and nine hits through 12 innings.
Will he repeat his stellar 2011, when he earned six wins in 40 appearances? I'm not sure about earning those wins, but his effectiveness should still be there.
While Clay Rapada has been the least effective reliever on the roster, he has still done an alright job so far.
In 10 games, he's pitched in seven innings, serving in late-game situations.
He didn't start off too well, allowing two runs in his first game against the Rays. However, since then, he's only allowed one run (against the Boston Red Sox on April 21).
I wish to see more of Rapada pitching, and by that, I mean more than just a third or two-thirds of an inning. It would help in keeping the bullpen from wearing thin.
Rafael Soriano, like Cory Wade, has allowed just two runs so far this season.
There are three differences, though.
One is that Soriano has pitched one fewer game and one fewer inning than Wade, so his ERA is higher, at 2.25.
Two, Soriano has given up 10 hits and six walks, whereas Wade has allowed nine hits and two walks. And three, Soriano only has eight strikeouts, while Wade has 15.
That's not to say Rafael Soriano hasn't been effective. He has been—just not as effective as some of the other relievers on the roster.
There is no better reliever in baseball right now than David Robertson.
In 11 games, he's yet to allow a run over the course of 11 innings.
In addition, he has 18 strikeouts, just two less than Hiroki Kuroda.
If Robertson can continue to pitch like this, I think the Yankees have easily found Rivera's heir to the closer spot.
Mariano Rivera didn't start off what will likely be the final season of his career on the right foot.
In his first game, against the Tampa Bay Rays, he allowed two runs on three hits and blew a save.
However, since then, he hasn't allowed a run and just three hits in seven games. He's also earned five saves.
Unless something happens, Rivera, who is arguably the greatest closer of all-time, will be just fine.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!