The first half of Baseball is done and the defending World Series Champion New York Yankees are sitting on top of the very competitive American League East with an uncomfortable two-game lead.
Despite the slim lead the Yankees first half has been a good one. With a dynamic pitching rotation,the Bronx Bombers have been able to edge out the comepetition, without their starters, it is tough to say the Yankees would be where they are now.
The Yankee lineup is without a doubt one of the best in baseball, but it has let them down several times so far this season. The weak link on this team has been a less than stellar bullpen that is in need of some serious help come the trade deadline.
1. The Starting Rotation:
With three-fifths of their starters set to appear in the 2010 All-Star game (CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, & Phil Hughes), The Yankees rotation could not have been better.
CC Sabathia finished 12-3 with a 3.09 ERA earning him an All-Star nod and once again earning his money.
A.J. Burnett is 7-7 with a 4.75 ERA (6-2, 3.28 ERA before his terrible month of June), there is no doubt in my mind that A.J.'s numbers will come back down and become the dominant pitcher he can be.
Andy Pettitte is 11-2 with a 2.70 ERA showing that age is not a bad thing at 38 and maybe showing himself that he can still pitch at a competitive level and not retire.
Phil Hughes is 11-2 with a 3.65 ERA giving the Yankees the satisfaction of not trading for Johan Santana three years ago and showing his potential to come in future years.
Javier "Javy" Vazquez is 7-7 with a 4.45 ERA (due to a bad start of the season, 2.77 ERA last 5 starts) proving he can and will pitch in New York, unless a starter is traded for.
With a failed attempt last week to acquire 2007 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners, the Yankees are looking to improve on and already impressive unit. If New York can close of the rumored trade of Roy Oswalt (and they don't need Oswalt, nor did they need Lee) this already stellar rotation could be tremendous and give teams alot of hell in the second half. I give the rotation a 5/5.
2. The Lineup:
The Yankee lineup on paper is the best in baseball, however the first half doesn't show them justice. Ranked second in the American League with 469 runs, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixiera, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, & Curtis Granderson have not produced the numbers originally anticipated by fans. My guess, expect an explosive second half.
Derek Jeter finished with a .274 AVG, 8 HR, 43 RBI's, and 60 R in the first half, despite the low average his power numbers are impressive for a lead-off man and earned him an All-Star spot.
Nick Swisher has been playing the best baseball of his career. A career .250 hitter, Swisher is batting .298 (hovering around .300 all year) with 15 HR, and 49 RBI's earning him a ticket to his first All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby.
Mark Teixeira started the season as usual, slow, however his slump lasted a month too long causing his average to be down, but despite the lackluster start Teixeira powerful numbers are impressive, he finished with a .254 AVG, 17 HR, and 60 RBI's.
Alex Rodriguez's first half was weird, his average is down, but his run production is illegal which earned him his thirteenth All-Star Game (most among active players), he finished batting .269 with 14 HR, and 70 RBI's. He will without a doubt get his 30 HR 100 RBI season for a record fourteenth time
Robinson Cano who led the American League in average for 3 months is the first half MVP for the Yankees. Batting .336 with 16 HR, and 58 RBI's, Cano is shoving it in everyone's faces that he is without a doubt the best second baseman in the American League maybe even the best in baseball, and one of the best in the game.
Jorge Posada is one of the best offensive catchers in baseball, but his first half numbers wouldn't prove it, injuries have hurt Jorge's first half stats, but they are better then most catchers (.265 AVG, 9 HR, 29 RBI's), look for a great and healthy second half.
Curtis Granderson after missing a month with a groin strain, Granderson finished with a .240 AVG, just 9 HR, and 24 RBI's, for those Yankee fans comparing Austin Jackson's first half with Granderson's, don't, Granderson will have a big second half and then see if it was worth trading for him.
Brett "The Jet" Gardner has been the surprise of the first half for the Yankees. He finished the half with great defense and good hitting, he finished with a .309 AVG, 5 HR, 29 RBI's, and 25 SB showing he can be a productive everyday player, and that rat Johnny Damon is not needed to patrol left field, and hes gott a better arm.
Overall I give the Yankee lineup a 3.5/5 for the first half, look for everyone's stats to get into shape and take a look at the back of their baseball cards if you don't believe me.
The weak link of the Yankees is the bridge to "The Sandman". There is not one pitcher in the bullpen (besides Mariano Rivera) that has done their job in this first half.
Mariano Rivera finished 2-1 with a 1.05 ERA, 20/22 saves, and 33 K's in 34.1 IP. After him, it is not pretty, but after watching him come out and pitch an inning, there are not many things that are.
Joba Chamberlain is the epitome of inconsistency. With a record of 1-4, a 5.79 ERA and 42 hits in 37.1 IP, things are not looking good for the former standout, especially when his stuff is good having a fastball ranging around 92-98 all year and a tremendous slider if he can get it over the plate.
David Robertson is just better than Chamberlain with is his 5.46 ERA. If Robertson can get back to the 3.30 ERA he was last year the Yankees could see drastic improvement from their relief pitching.
Chan "Homerun" Park and his 6.18 ERA should be seeing a release in the near future, if not, the Yanks are in trouble.
Damaso Marte is a toss up on whether or not he will strikeout the lefty he faces, walk him, or give up a hit, your guess is as good as mine, what I know is they need him to be the force he was in the World Series last year.
I give the Yankee bullpen a 2.5/5, as you can read, the bullpen needs Alfredo Aceves back and maybe a Joakim Soria for the eighth.
The Yankee bench finished batting .241, with 5 HR, and 70 RBI's— this tremendous production from a bench that consists of mostly young rookies is keeping New York alive in the AL East. Overall I give the bench that right now consists of Marcus Thames, Kevin Russo, Colin Curtis, Ramiro Pena, and the very productive Francisco Cervelli (30 RBI's in 60 games) a 4/5 where maybe a veteran could be nice.
Despite the plethora of injuries sustained in the beginning of the season, the Yankee stand on top the AL East at the All-Star break. And with only one real weakness in the bullpen I would expect to see the offensive hitting power and run scoring ability of the all-around team to be nearly unbeatable. With a few trades the already great New York Yankees could get, well, better.
Overall I give the Yankees a 4/5 for the first half, thanks for reading :)