Yankees Roster Report Card Through Memorial Day

There are few  better points than Memorial Day to evaluate MLB player performance.  As it stands today, the New York Yankees are at the 29% marker of their season, and it is becoming clear who is a contributer and who isn’t.  Let’s review the Yankees roster to this day in report card fashion.  A=Excellent, B=Good, C=Acceptable, D=Disappointing, F=Failure

Catchers 

Brian McCann: McCann had a pronounced slow start to begin 2015 both with the bat and with the glove.  McCann has since heated up, getting his OBP and SLG up to .310 and .428 as of now, in addition to his usually stellar defense.  McCann’s numbers will always be killed by the shift, but these last couple of weeks show that McCann still has life left in his bat.  B-

Infielders 

Mark Teixeira: Teixeira may be the second-biggest surprise on the Yankees roster this year, behind a certain someone to be named shortly.  Tex has sent 14 Tex Messages into the right field porch thus far, and he’s finally beating the shift by going over it this year.  Add in his sharp fielding and you’ve got a premier player. A

Stephen Drew: Stephen Drew may be having the most expectedly disappointing season ever.  Signed to a $5 million dollar deal this offseason, Drew has been just as bad this year as last, and is showing no signs of improvement.  With Rob Refsnyder almost ready and Jose Pirela on the roster, it’s time to take Drew off of it. D- 

Didi Gregorious: Sir Didi has been disappointing this year but is still just 25.  Given the impossible task of replacing Derek Jeter, Gregorious’s trademark defense has had some hiccups and his offense has been lagging.  But for a number 9 hitter with defense that will straighten out, Didi escapes receiving a grade matching his first name. C-

Chase Headley: I counted myself among the Chase Headley fan club after seeing his profound impact last year on the Yankees.  He got on base at a consistent clip and had a knack for clutch hits and of course his Gold Glove-caliber fielding.  This year, all of those qualities are down, but with improvement shown over the last few weeks, Chase’s stock is likely heading up. C+

Alex Rodriguez: I was not shy to admit my support for A-Rod and my belief that he could still hit, but his season has shattered even my biased expectations.  Rodriguez has been the Yankees’ most consistent hitter, and it’s hard to fathom a lineup without him at DH batting third anymore.  His inability to play in the field is quite bothersome, but it could save him time on the DL.  A

Outfielders

Brett Gardner: A casual Yankee fan may not notice how well Gardner has been playing this year.  While he is consistently a plus defender and a tough out, Gardner’s OBP is up over .360 and has clubbed 4 home runs, more than usual for him.  Gardner is even more important now without the injured Jacoby Ellsbury, but he will not disappoint. A-

Jacoby Ellsbury: Ellsbury was off to such an amazing start this season, that you knew something bad had to happen to him.  The injury-prone star hurt his knee, and won’t come back until late June.  But Ellsbury had already stolen 14 bags, accumulated a .324 average, and was setting the table at an inhuman pace.  Let’s hope he’s at least half this good after the DL. A

Carlos Beltran: 2015 has been a tale of 2 months for Beltran.  One month he looked completely done, ready to retire.  This month though, he has a 14-game hitting streak and has slugged 3 homers.  His defense and baserunning is atrocious, but if Carlos is hitting, the Yankees have a productive player.  C

Starting Pitchers

Masahiro Tanaka: The Japanese lightning rod was off to a rocky start in 2015 before settling down and then reinjuring his elbow.  Tanaka is the key to the Yankees’ playoff hopes.  If he comes back, they are in.  If his balky elbow gets worse, the Yankees can kiss October goodbye. Incomplete

Michael Pineda: Big Mike has been in charge this season, although he has had some troublesome outings in between.  The Yankees’ second best starter, Pineda must be on his game for the rest of this season to prove his worth to the rest of the big leagues. A-

CC Sabathia: CC has been the very definition of inconsistent this year, going from shutdown starts channeling days of yore to ones where he cannot even escape 4 innings.  Sabathia can still strike out hitters at an impressive clip, which makes the fact that he is getting beat by singles even more annoying.  CC needs to hone in on his new pitching style in a hurry to save his bacon. C-

Nathan Eovaldi: The man known as “Nasty Nate” has been a quality 4th starter for the Bronx Bombers, but the Yankees were probably expecting a bit more improvement.  Eovaldi has potential, and he should be a mainstay in the Yankees’ rotation for years to come. B-

Relievers

Andrew Miller/Dellin Betances: These two relievers are grouped together here, as they are in most situations.  The two firemen are unbeatable out of the bullpen; simply dominant to no end.  Miller has not blown a save yet, and Betances hasn’t even allowed a run on the season.  Who needs David Robertson anway? A+

Middle Relief: Unfortunately, all the other relievers are grouped together for a much different reason than the two bullpenners prior.  They have disappointed on the season to varying degrees.  Justin Wilson is a lefty who can have 3 good outings in a row and then one so bad that you forget the previous 3, David Carpenter has been all shades of awful this year, and Chris Martin was finally carving a niche in the bullpen pecking order before injury struck.  Joe Girardi needs these relievers to step up or step out, as they cannot keep throwing games away. D

Conclusion: The Yankees simply require more consistency on a daily basis.  When batting, they have a tendency to hit streaks that either make or break a week, when pitching they roller coaster around the whole game enough to make a bystander dizzy, and when fielding they can be maddening.  But when these 3 facets are firing on all cylinders, the Yankees look like a contender.  OVERALL GRADE: B

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