New York Yankees Report Card: Grading the Offense Through First Third of Season
"School's out for the summer." Not so fast, Alice Cooper—the Yankees are just getting their first report card of the year.
This list will be how I have graded the Yankee hitters to this point in the season, strictly based on their performance at the plate.
While some Yankees have hit some bombs, others have bombed their first test, and their grades will reflect that.
Here they are: the Yankee Class of 2010.
9. 1B Mark Teixeira
2010 Stats: .220/8/34
Mark has been, by far, the biggest disappointment for the Yankees this year. We all knew that he struggled early on in most of his big league seasons, but not to this extent.
Now, for me, I always got in trouble for texting in class. Well, that doesn't seem to be Mark's problem. His problem is that he's not sending enough "Tex Messages," with only eight home runs through the first third of the season.
Coming off a near MVP season in 2009, Teixeira has let the Yankees down big time, but there is still time to improve, and they need him to do so if they want to get back to the World Series here in 2010. So for this report card, I have to give him an "F."
8. CF Curtis Granderson
2010 Stats: .269/3/11
For Curtis, the season started out fantastic, homering in his first AB with the Yanks against their nemesis the Red Sox, in Boston no less.
My, how long ago that seems. About a month later he was mired in a major slump that dropped his average to around .220. Then he was placed on the DL for a groin pull, which he missed about a month for.
But he did show some improvement and finished with a flare, raising his average to its current state of .269. He also drove in a couple of runs and hit a home run in his first seven games back. Even more impressive was the fact that he hit it off a left-hander, which he has struggled with over his career.
Taking into effect the time he missed and his flare at the end, I have to give him a "D+" considering the Yankees gave up their top prospect to get him.
7. C/DH Jorge Posada
2010 Stats: .323/6/14
The 38-year-old veteran catcher has been very good at the plate this season for the Yankees. Unfortunately he has missed some time.
He recently missed a couple of weeks for a broken foot, which he took a foul ball off. But he returned much quicker than anticipated; with the original recovery time frame being three to four weeks, Jorge was ready in just over two.
He is a leader on this team and has been the main catcher for nearly 13 years now. Hitting .323 is quite impressive for a catcher at his age, which leads me to believe that he will become the primary DH, while splitting time with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate.
Taking into consideration his age and current stats, plus the time missed, I will have to give Jorge a "C+" because absences can kill your grades.
6. C Francisco Cervelli
2010 Stats: .294/0/24
The "Cisco Kid" has really done a lot to keep the Yankees in the race this year and stepped up his game when it matters the most.
He started almost every game Posada missed with his foot injury, and he deserves a lot of credit for doing so.
While the Yankees have never viewed Cervelli as a threat on offense, he has done rather well at the plate, with 24 RBI out of the backup catcher role and getting a hit almost half the time with runners in scoring position.
This makes him a very valuable player on the Yankees bench and gives him one leg up on his competitors down on the farm for Posada's starting job, which will eventually be up for grabs in the next couple of years.
Considering the low expectations of him and how well he has done, I'm going to give him a "B-."
5. LF Brett Gardner
2010 Stats: .304/3/18
The speed demon out in left has stepped his game up this year for the Yankees, taking over as the starter in left for the departed Johnny Damon.
Gardner has provided the Yankees with a speed option on the basepaths that they have not had in a long time. In this, his first full season as a starter, he already has 19 thefts.
But this is what the Yankees expected out of him. However, they did not expect him to hit .304 this year.
Brett also filled in for Curtis Granderson in center field when he went on the DL and did a good job, proving that he can play anywhere the Yankees want him to in the outfield.
In light of his speed that has rejuvenated the Yanks, and his impressive .304 batting average, I have to give him a "B+."
4. SS Derek Jeter
2010 Stats: .302/5/31
The Captain of the Yankees has had an up and down season in the first part of 2010, going through slumps and hot streaks throughout.
The way he started out of the gate it looked like he was going to have another stellar season. But then the free fall dropped his average down into the .260s and started the talk of whether this was the beginning of the end for the great Jeter.
But those doubters were soon silenced by his march back towards .300, where he stands today at .302.
For Jeter, though, .302 is not acceptable, considering his career average is .317. However, he has driven in 31 runs this year out of the leadoff spot and as always has been a leader on the field.
So I will give Jeter a "B+." With plenty of time to improve, I have no doubt that his grade will be going up by the end of the year.
3. 3B Alex Rodriguez
2010 Stats: .300/8/43
Much like Teixeira, A-Rod started off very slowly for the Yankees. Fortunately he has rounded back into shape now.
A-Rod has been lacking his power numbers of old, with only eight home runs in early June. But he has not suffered on the RBI side of the stat sheet, as he is tied for the team lead with 43 heading into tonight's game.
His batting average was very low through the first 30 games or so, but he has restored that number back to around his career average.
Alex's struggles early in the season did not seem to effect the Yankees as a team, and his recent rebound has earned an "A-" for A-Rod.
2. RF Nick Swisher
2010 Stats: .318/9/31
Clearly the most improved player from last year's Yankees, Nick just might be on his way to a career year, at least in batting average.
Nick has been one of the hottest hitters in the league over the past month. In fact, this May was the best month of his career, statistically speaking.
With nine home runs and 31 RBI, he continues to prove to be a solid run producer for the Yanks. He has been so good that he is now being plugged into the two hole in the lineup.
Everything about Swisher has been stellar this season, besides missing a few games with a biceps injury. So I have to give credit where credit is due, and Nick gets an "A+."
1. 2B Robinson Cano
2010 Stats: .373/12/43
Robinson Cano is the best hitter in the league, in my opinion, and is definitely the best hitter on the Yankees.
Roby's batting average at .373 is good for tops in the Majors heading into tonight, leading Justin Morneau by four points.
Subsequently, he also leads the Majors in hits with 79, which gives him 954 career hits, making it likely that we will see him surpass 1,000 for his career this season.
Regardless, Cano seems to be entering his prime, which is only good news for the Yanks.
Throwing all that on top of his team-leading 12 home runs and 43 RBI, which is tied for the team lead, Cano is by far the best hitter on the Yankees through the first third of this season. Needless to say, he has an "A+++++."