The all-star break is almost here to mark the half-way point of the 2010 season. I want to take the time to grade the Yankees individually and as a whole.
Derek Jeter: A-
The Captain had some slumps at the plate to this start of the season that kept him from getting a solid A. His defense, however is still up to par to keep his grade up high.
Nick Swisher: A
Nick Swisher has really broken out this season. He’s already reached 13 homeruns and 84 hits before the all-star break. Last year it didn’t take him until after the break to reach some of the accomplishments he has reached this season. His defense has also excelled very high. Swisher deserves to be in the all star game (please vote!).
Mark Teixeira: B-
Okay. Mark Teixeira. Yes. Slow starter. HOWEVER, this is clearly his slowest start of all his seasons. Because of this abnormally slower start, he lost his bid for the all-star team. This really isn’t what’s important. He has, however, started to heat up in June and so far in July. I expect him to be hitting a lot after the break. He’ll still hit at least 30 homeruns and 100 RBI by the end of the season.
Alex Rodriguez: B
ARod did not have a slump like Teixeira, but he is still not showing his best stuff. So far he only has 12 home runs and 62 RBI which is abnormal for Alex as this point of the season. I’m not at all worried about ARod though. He is starting to heat up and he will continue that after the break.
Robinson Cano: A+++++++
If there was such thing as a score like this, there is no other player in MLB that is deserving of this grade. This is Cano’s break-out season. He has really matured to the fifth spot in the lineup. He is leading all of MLB in batting average and is leading the team homeruns, hits, and RBI. Although his defense has always been stellar, it has improved a lot this season. I’m really looking forward to the second half of the season for Robinson Cano.
Jorge Posada: B+
The only reason why Posada isn’t in the A category is because he’s been hurt. He started off the season red hot. Unfortunately a right foot hairline fracture placed him on the DL in May. When returning he was off to a slow start in the DH spot, but Jorge is returning to form. He left yesterday’s July 4th game when hurting his finger, but I’m sure he’ll be back after the break.
Curtis Granderson: B
Granderson is another regular who saw the DL during this half of the season. He, however, has not really been as hot as Posada. He did have a home run in his first AB as a Yankee, but as still not really broken out. He is hitting better this season against left handed pitchers. I also expect Granderson to break out after the break.
Brett Gardner: A+
I’ve been saying it this entire first half of the season. Brett Gardner is the unsung hero of the Yankees. He has been clutch hitting in two out situations. He has 24 stolen bases and was only caught five times. For a guy who does not hit a lot of home runs he has five so far which is pretty impressive. He has 80 and has collected a total of 109 bases. We also can’t forget to mention that he has a batting average of .319 and an OBP of .401.
Francisco Cervelli: A-
Cervelli has come up huge off the bench this season. He is one of the leaders in MLB with a high BA with RISP. If I could find the exact number I would give it to you, but I know he is up there. His high energy behind the plate keeps pitchers calm and collected. He has done a great job for the Yankees while Posada was on the DL.
Ramiro Pena: C
Pena has come up huge in some spots during the season, but he has really not shown up. He’ll be more valuable in the second half of the season.
This group consists of Kevin Russo, Chad Huffman, Colin Curtis, and Greg Golson. I put them all together because they have all not have a great amount of playing time, but when they did they came up huge. Russo and Curtis are still on the bench for the Yankees, and Huffman and Golson have been optioned to AAA. I will not be surprised to see one of the two, if not both, back at some point in the second half of the season.
Nick Johnson: D
Yes, that’s right, people. Nick Johnson is still a Yankee. I know it’s hard to remember that because he really hasn’t been around. Before being placed on the DL for a wrist problem, he really wasn’t showing anything at the plate. He wasn’t aggressive and was walking too much. We won’t be seeing him until August.
Marcus Thames: C+
Thames’ bat hasn’t been terrible, but it also hasn’t been great. He can hit well, but he hasn’t been doing that in most clutch situations. The reason why I say “most situations” is because he has two walk-off hits. He also played some dreadful defense while Granderson was on the DL which gave Kevin Russo some time to shine out there. I think Thames will turn things around in the second half.
CC Sabathia: A-
CC started off great, then was losing it a little, and now he is lights out. July is here so CC will be bringing some of his best stuff for the rest of the season.
AJ Burnett: B
I would have given AJ an A if not for the month of June. AJ clearly had his worst month of his career by losing every game and getting an ERA in that month over 11.00. He turned it around in his first game in July, and he did have an awesome April and May.
Andy Pettitte: A+
There’s not much to say about Andy Pettitte other than he’s just stellar. He’s pitching like he’s in his 20s again. His ERA is under 3.00 and he has 10 wins.
Javier Vazquez: B-
Javy had a dreadful start to the season this year when his ERA went up to 9.00 in just the first month. The reason why he doesn’t have a lower grade is because he has really turned this around for the better. I have no worries about Javy. I think he’ll have a much better second half to the season.
Phil Hughes: A+
It is clear that Phil Hughes is a future Yankee ace. He’s just 24 years-old and he’s already pitching like one. He has 10 wins and went through the first month of the season with and ERA under 2.00. Hughes had his first bite of the Hughes rules recently and struggled greatly in his last start. I think he’ll handle the next skip a little bit better since he’ll know what to expect.
Mariano Rivera: A+
I’m not giving Mo an A+ because he’s Mo. He gets it because like Andy Pettitte he is pitching like he’s 20 years-old. He has two blown saves this half, but compare that to how many other closers have blown saves. Mo is on fire.
Joba Chamberlain: B
Joba can be a whole lot better than he’s shown so far this half. As Mo’s set-up man he has been inconsistent. I think the second half of the year will be better will be better for him. He’s still getting used to having this role for the rest of the season.
Damaso Marte: B+
He started off slow, but Marte has turned things around. He is a lefty specialist, but he has been used to face a lot of right handed batters which is an odd decision. He’ll continue to be valuable in that bullpen.
Chan Ho Park: D
Park has been very disappointing so far this season. He has given up too many runs in clutch situations almost costing the Yankees games. I will not be surprised if very soon he is no longer wearing the pinstripes.
David Robertson: B-
D-Rob has great stuff, but he has not shown it so far this season. He started off very rocky and very slow, but he is very slowly pulling out of it. He’ll turn it around in the second half and be very valuable in the second half.
Alfredo Aceves: A
Aceves has an A for what he was able to give the Yankees before being placed on the DL. He was stellar and lights out being one of the bullpen’s long inning guys. Hopefully we will see him in the second half back and healthy.
Sergio Mitre: B+
Mitre is a natural starter, but has been in the bullpen this season. He did make two starts this season when Pettitte was skipped in the rotation and gave very stellar performances. The reason why he doesn’t have an A is because he has not been giving his best stuff out of the bullpen. When he’s off the DL he’ll make a fresh start and be much better.
And last, but not least. . . .
Randy Winn: F
There really isn’t much to say about Winn. He was expected to do a lot off the bench, and has done nothing. He’s had too many dreadful ABs and has played some dreadful outfield. Instead of optioning Russo to AAA upon Granderson’s return, Winn was DFAed and is now on the Cardinals. If he showed up and played to his potential, he would’ve still been in pinstripes.
As a team, I give the New York Yankees an A-. Although we do have the best record in baseball at this moment, we still have not played our best baseball. Players like Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner keep the Yankees in the A category, but as a team, we can be a whole lot better. We have the potential to be better than the 2009 team, and I think in the second half we will prove that.