New York Yankees: Grading Each Yankee Hitter After a Third of the Season's Games
At exactly 54 games played this year, the Yankees have competed in exactly one-third of their games. They have a record of 31-23 and lead their division by three games, above their long-time rival the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees lead baseball with 5.26 runs per game. The Reds and Cardinals are the next best at 4.91 runs per game. They have the best run differential in baseball and also lead the majors in home runs, with 83.
Derek Jeter, SS
The Yankees captain recently signed a four-year deal(player option, but he'll take it) and is having his worst full year, statistically. Jeter has been on the decline since the beginning of 2010, and as a Yankee fan, it's very hard to watch. His defense has been below average as well.
OPS+ of 82
2 Home Runs
5 Stolen Bases
Jeter needs to step it up at the plate, and if he can't, it's going to be a painful four years.
Curtis Granderson, CF
Through the first 54 games of the season, Granderson has been arguably the second-best player in baseball. He is undoubtedly the MVP of the Yankees so far. He is second in home runs, third in RBI and fourth in OPS+. He also has the second-most stolen bases on the team and has been showing some stellar defense out in center. Also, he is having a better year off of lefties, something he has not been able to do his entire career.
17 Home Runs
8 Stolen Bases
OPS+ of 157
Granderson has been the best player on the Yankees this season and doesn't look like he'll slow down anytime soon.
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Teixeira has probably been the second-best Yankee hitter of the season. He is second on the team in home runs and third in the league. Teixeira is usually known for his slow starts but 2011 was different. He also leads the team in OBP. He started the year off with a bang, hitting a home run in each of his first three games. He is also a Gold-Glover at first and his defense has been great thus far.
16 Home Runs
OPS+ of 143
Teixeira is having a great year, but one thing I would like is for him to raise his low batting average.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
After going on a huge tear and hitting in the mid .350s in the first few weeks of the season, A-Rod cooled down. He not only cooled down but fell into a huge slump where he had just two hits in 18 at bats. He has since gotten back to a normal pace. A-Rod has been good this season and has come up clutch for the Yankees. He has also been playing above-average D at third.
.292 BA (leads the team)
9 Home Runs
OPS+ of 129
If A-Rod continues at his current pace, he'll have his best offensive season since his 2007 MVP year.
Robinson Cano, 2B
Last year's Yankee MVP (third in the league) has been doing okay, by his standards. He leads the teams in hits and has shown quite a bit of batting power, thus far. His fielding has been shoddy, as he's already doubled his error total, and it's only June.
11 Home Runs
OPS+ of 125
5 Stolen Bases
It would be a great year for the average second basemen, but Cano is not an average baseball player. After showing us what he could do last year, Cano needs to step up his game.
Nick Swisher, RF
After having arguably his best overall season of his career, Swisher has been slumping big time. He still has a fairly high OBP, but his other stats are terrible. He has the second-lowest BA of any Yankee in the lineup, and he has hit with little power. His defense has been below average in right as well.
4 Home Runs
OPS+ of 84
That D could turn into a C- if he continues this little hot streak he has going.
Jorge Posada, DH
In the last year of his contract, Posada has been straight-up awful. He basically has the lowest average in every team stat. It's not a slump either, Posada has just looked awful almost all season. He did have a much better May than April though, so maybe, just maybe, he can turn it around and have a decent second half.
6 Home Runs (none in May)
OPS+ of 70
Posada has been all kinds of awful on the season, and the Yankees have started to platoon him at DH with the rest of the bench.
Russell Martin, C
After the Yankees signed Martin to a contract in the offseason, most fans, including me, didn't really know what to expect. He'd been great before but constantly gets injured. In 2011 Martin has been great. Offensively, defensively and on the basepaths. After having a huge April, he's slowed down, but he has still been productive.
9 Home Runs
OPS+ of 120
6 Stolen Bases and no Caught Stealings
Nobody expected Martin to be this good, and it has been quite awesome to finally see a good defensive catcher for the Yankees.
Brett Gardner, LF
After having a terrible March/April, Brett Gardner had a great May. He was better all-around in May and had an OBP of .371 to go with a .301 BA. His overall numbers don't reflect how good Brett has been playing lately. Brett's defense in left has been great.
3 Home Runs
10 Stolen Bases
6 Caught Stealing
C-(B+ for May)
If Brett continues to do as well as he did in May, he'll have a great year. He just needs to steal more bases.
Coming into the year, the Yankees' bench was a strength. It still is, although, there have sustained a few injuries. Eduardo Nunez, Andruw Jones, Fransisco Cervelli and Chris Dickerson make up the current bench, while Eric Chavez is on the DL.
Jones has shown the most power, popping four home runs. Cervelli was injured and since coming back, he has hit a grand slam after showing no offense. Nunez has been very good at the plate, but his arm at short is questionable. Dickerson has been good, albeit, in a small sample size of games. Chavez was great before getting injured as well.
B- considering all the injuries.