Through The First 54: A Yankees Report Card
The Yankees are exactly a third through the season (the weather hasn't been any help) and so far so good. Since starting the year 9-9, the Bronx Bombers have been on a tear sporting an impressive 28-8 record. Offensively there are few teams that can keep pace, ranking in the top 5 in Runs Scored, Total Bases, HR's, RBI's, Batting Average, OBP, Slugging, and OPS. The scary thing about this is this just the beginning, believe or not, they could get better. As for pitching it's been a bit of a different story, the rotation and bullpen alike have been a bit of a disappointment. With the exception of Severino and Chapman, the rest of the pitching staff has been up and down all year, however they have gotten the job done to this point but you would like more consistency. All-in-all this team could be better but it's hard to argue the results, with that said they get a B+.
Grade through 54 games - B+
On an individually level there have been some real disappointments, but for the most part a lot of pleasant surprises. Let's take a look:
Gary Sanchez: C-
This has been a real kick in the groin type season for Gary. Coming off a spectacular year, the expectations going into spring training were through the roof. With a much needed weight shed, an emphasis on defence, and now an established presence in the Majors, everything lined up nicely for another big season, or so we thought. The home runs, and rbi's are there (12 and 35), however he's still struggling behind the plate defensively, and is battling to stay above the Mendoza line. He hasn't been drawing a lot of walks and therefor his OBP. is suffering as well. Lot's of time left to turn it around but the Yankees would love to see him step it up sooner rather than later.
Austin Romine: A
Romine has been fabulous this year. The backup Catcher in just 20 games is already flirting with his career highs. He's been a much needed solid option behind Sanchez, and is the go to signal caller for Sonny Gray. Can't ask anything more of Romine to be honest, but can he keep it up? I doubt it, but he gets an A for effort from me.
Greg Bird: Too early to tell
Yankee's fans, and quite frankly the organization itself has gotten used to going without Bird in the lineup. He's played in just 6 games this year but he has been a much needed lefty bat. With 3 rbi's and homer already, here's to hoping the 1st basemen can stay healthy.
Tyler Austin: B-
Austin has been quite the surprise this year, and has provided quite the punch as well. He's struggled as of late but in April he was one of the Yankees hottest hitters and helped keep them afloat through that rocky start. Batting just .222 Austin was hitting lefties so well he forced Manager Aaron Boone to send down beloved utility man Ronald Torreyes upon Bird's return. I don't see him staying up if his bat remains cold, but he filled the void nicely and that's all the Yanks could ask.
Neil Walker: C
One of the sneakier signings Brian Cashman was able to pull the trigger on this offseason. Walker has been decent. Not good, not bad, but decent. Platooning at 1st with Austin, Walker has been able to find a spot in the lineup with his left handed bat, but with limited offensive upside he'll have to catch fire if he wants more playing time.
Gleyber Torres: A+
Player of the week, Rookie of the month, through 35 games he's been every bit of the prospect we were told he would be. 9 HR's, 27 RBI's, slashing a line of .317/.376/.583 in just 120 AB's, he's been sensational and a much needed addition in the Yankee infield. A+ might seem like an ambitious grade, but he's been arguably the Yankee's hottest hitter since his arrival. Still a lot of season left to play, but this rookie may be making a case for an All-Star bid if he can keep it up.
Ronald Torreyes: B-
A really tough decision to send down for Boone I'm sure, but Ronnie didn't deserve it. A jack of all trades, Torreyes was as versatile as he was effective through the first 54 games of the season, if it wasn't for the hot hitting tandem of Walker and Austin, Torreyes would still be dawning the pinstripes. But as it be, Torreyes had options and the Yankees needed to make room for Bird. I'd like to believe Ronnie will be back up relatively soon.
Miguel Andujar: B
Leading the team in doubles, young Miggy has been more impressive than anyone could have predicted. He had a hot spring training, and has taken full advantage of Brandon Drury's injury at the beginning of the season. Although he's had his up's and down's, Andujar has been another on of those nice surprises the Yankees have benefitted from this year.
Didi Gregorius: B+
In April he was the best player in the league, come May he was one of the worst. Didi will certainly be looking forward to be looking June. With that said Didi has been impressive even with the awful May. Batting .245 with 11 HR's and 36 RBI's, he still ranks highly amongst Shortstops in almost every offensive category. I believe Didi's talent lies somewhere between April and May, but no player can sustain what he did in the first month of the season, but that's what makes baseball baseball, you just never know. He'll be fine.
Aaron Judge: A
Sporting a tremendous line of .288/.414./.585 Judge is once again the Yanks best position player, and in my opinion it hasn't been close. A constant threat, Judge has retained his power stroke but has also developed a much better sense of plate. He's walking more, getting on base at a high clip, and has laid off the high fastball that tortured him all last year, and has proven to be one of the best all around Right Fielders in the game. He's still striking out a ton, but you can't take anything away from him he's been spectacular. The reining AL ROY is on track for another MVP type year.
Giancarlo Stanton: D
Stanton has been the biggest disappointment for the Yanks so far this year. Sure his numbers at this point in the year resembled those of last year before his offensive explosion, but you can't deny the fact that he just hasn't been that good. Batting 4th for the majority of the year Stanton with RISP has been terrible, sporting a line of .214/.299/.339, and is on pace to strikeout over 200 times. The scary thing about Stanton's year is that he has yet to put together a sustain streak of positive AB's. Now that can be a good or bad thing depending on which way you want to look at it, yes he's still putting up numbers but he's been an ineffective cleanup man to date. With all this said we've seen literally the worst version of Giancarlo possible and the Yanks are still in a very good position, I have zero doubt Stanton explodes at some point, but patience is wearing thin in the Big Apple.
Brett Gardner: B+
Gardy has been throwing a party all season long being the steady lead-off man we've all come to know and love. Sure, he isn't going to hit .300, and sure last year will probably be the best we see of him, but he has been very reliable at getting on base and making the most out of his AB's. Team wise he's 2nd in walks, 2nd in runs scored, and 3rd in hits, what more can you ask out of your No.1? I think we can all expect Gardner to keep this pace, he's made a career out of doing just that.
Aaron Hicks: C+
Hicks has a had a pretty bland year to date, though he does have 2 inside-the-park home runs, nothing other than solid defence to ride home about. It's surprising we just haven't seen any strides at the plate from Hicks, at the beginning of the year the Yanks seemed committed to making him the everyday Centre Fielder but inconsistency and injuries have plagued him.
Luis Severino: A
Sevey has proven his Ace status this year (as if there was any doubt), with a dazzling 8-1 record with a 2.31 ERA, not to mention he has 92 K's through 78 innings pitched. His hits, walks, and HR's per 9 have all improved. Severino is once again proving himself to be a legit Cy Young contender.
Masahiro Tananka: C+
Tanaka has been somewhat of a disappointment this year. Yes he's 7-2, and I guess it's fair to say he's gotten the job done, but with an ERA of 4.79 and having allowed 15 HR's in just 67 innings pitched there is a lot of room for improvement.
Sonny Gray: F
Gray is lucky to have a rotation spot at this point. He's been a mixture of awful and unreliable, those traits are not what you're looking for in a starting pitcher. Name a stat and they've ballooned on Gray, needless to say it's been a stark contrast to what the Yankees traded for last year. The bright side is we've seen glimpses of what Sonny can do and that has left us praying from sunnier days in the future.
CC Sabathia: B-
CC's last few starts haven't been all that great but like always he's a very trustworthy stop in the rotation. The big fastball is gone, the breaking stuff doesn't break the way it once did, but he's still getting outs and the Yankees will take it.
"The Fifth Guy": C
Not much to say here as German and Montgomery have essentially split duty as the fifth guy in the rotation since Jordan's injury. Both have been serviceable, but neither have been impressive, probably what you'd expect out of these two.
For the sake of time we'll score this one as a whole. The bullpen has been a roller coaster of emotions for Yankees fans. Guys like Betances and Robertson have great stuff but have struggled to command it, Kahnle is just getting from injury and Green is starting to get back to himself. Holder, Cole and Shreve have all been okay but I wouldn't trust any of them in a tight spot. Chapman has truly been the closer we've been wanting since the days of Mo. He's been hard to hit, he's been clutch, and he's been the best reliever out of the pen the whole year.
Bullpen grade: C+
Through the first 54 games, the Yankees are who we thought they were, division contenders, and it looks like it'll stay that way. If guys like Gray, Sanchez and Stanton can step than it'll make the need for another starter diminish and will truly make the Bronx Bomber's the most potent offence in the game. I guess we'll just have to wait and see until game 108 for the Yankee's next report