As I promised in my blog the other day, I went through everyone that played a significant amount of time for the Yankees this year and gave their performance a grade. What’s a significant amount of time? I don’t know exactly, but Dustin Fowler, for example, did not get a grade. He did not even play a full inning for us which was a real shame. So without further ado, your 2017 Yankees report card.
Obviously had to be the first guy listed. Sure, he went through quite a slump in the second half, but you could not have possibly asked for more from a guy in his rookie season. His stat line boasted a .284 average, 52 HR and 114 RBI. He set a rookie record for home runs, besting Mark McGwire’s previous high of 49. His postseason included more up and down play, but was overall productive. At the end of the day, Judge was the Yankees’ MVP this season, and will likely finish second in AL MVP voting behind Jose Altuve.
After a solid 2016, Sir Didi had a career year in 2017. .287, 25 HR and 87 RBI along with sound defense, Didi solidified himself as one of the top shortstops in the game this year. And who could forget his clutch home runs in the playoffs, including his game-tying shot in the wild card game or his 2 homers off Indians’ ace Corey Kluber in ALDS Game 5? I would be absolutely shocked if the Yankees don’t lock up Didi long-term this offseason.
What a turnaround season for the 23-year old right-hander. After a 2016 season that included him getting sent down to AAA and then relegated to the bullpen, Severino not only won a rotation spot out of spring training, but became a bona fide ace this year. 14-6, 2.98 ERA and 230 strikeouts could have Sevy finishing as high as 3rd in AL Cy Young voting. And at just 23, the sky is the limit for this fireballer.
Here’s a name that most people probably didn’t expect to be this high on the list. But Chad Green was absolute money this year out of the pen. 5-0 with a 1.83 ERA and 103 punchouts in 69 innings pitched, Green’s ability to get out of jams along with his durability to pitch multiple innings makes him one of the biggest bullpen weapons in baseball. The Yanks could try him out as a starter again come Spring Training (fingers crossed we don’t have another Joba Chamberlain situation on our hands), but in his current role Green is a rockstar and there’s no two ways about it.
Another Baby Bomber who came up big. Sanchez followed up his stellar rookie campaign with another promising season, posting a .278 average with 33 HR and 90 RBI in just 122 games. El Gary also made his first All-Star & Home Run Derby appearances as well. However, he continues to struggle somewhat defensively. Despite his cannon of an arm, he had issues at times with passed balls, and obviously should have done a better job catching the ball on plays at the plate in the ALCS. For these reasons, Sanchez will be the most highly scrutinized player on the roster coming into 2018. However, his bat is ont of the Yankees’ biggest assets, and was surely a huge part of their success this year.
A veteran presence on this young team, Gardy came up clutch in big situations this year. Whether it was the 3-run homer against the Cubs or solo shot in the wild card game, the guy had ice in his veins all year. While I would like him to hit higher than .264 out of the leadoff spot, the 21 home runs help to alleviate that. Gardner is a huge part of this team, and I don’t see that changing in 2018.
Starlin was also an All-Star this year, swinging a hot bat in the first half. He battled injuries all year, playing in only 112 games, but still managed to finish at .300. His defense was suspect, however, and looked lost at the plate in the playoffs. With Gleyber Torres on the way, look for Castro to be mentioned in trade talks this winter. However, I think he’s just too good a player to get rid of right now unless the Yanks are offered something really intriguing.
The big man had a consistently good year. If you told me in 2015 that CC would be pitching multiple elimination games for us just two years later, I would’ve asked what you’re smoking. But he pitched a great playoffs, despite not having his best stuff in Game 7. His season stat line boasted a 14-5 record and a 3.69 ERA, more than enough for a 3rd/4th starter. Hopefully we see him back in Pinstripes in 2018.
Another name I did not expect to see this high on the list. In March, if you told me that of Bird and Judge, one would hit 52 homers and be an MVP candidate, and the other would start the season 6-60 and go on the DL for most of the season, I would’ve had Bird pegged as the MVP candidate. But Bird’s season was greatly hampered by the foot injury he suffered late in spring training. After returning in late August, however, he was productive and finally gave the Yanks consistent production from the first base spot. He was also arguably their best hitter in the playoffs. Bird’s abysmal start/injury along with the emergence of Judge made me forget how good Greg Bird can potentially be, but the playoffs gave me a reminder. That lefty swing combined with Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right could be a beautiful marriage for years to come.
Toe was an unsung hero for this club all year long. Due to injuries to Didi and Castro, he played in 108 games, more than your average utility infielder. He’s not gonna take over a game, but he puts the bat on the ball, leading to a .292 batting average. On the rare occasions he does go deep, it’s awesome to watch. His spirit and Judge home run celebrations with Didi were huge parts of why this team was so fun to watch.
I was excited to see Robertson come back in the Todd Frazier megadeal. I always liked him, and he was consistent out of the pen for us in 2017. He was also big in the playoffs, particularly in the wild card game. 5-0 with a 1.03 ERA in 30 games? You can’t ask for much more.
Hicks had a real case to be an All-Star before he got hurt, boasting the AL’s second-best on base percentage behind only Mike Trout for awhile. But when he returned from injury he was not exactly the same. He did get big hits against the Mets and Red Sox, and who could forget his throw to get Benintendi at third in the same game? His playoff performance at the plate left a lot to be desired, but Hicks’ defense in center was invaluable to the Yanks all year long. As a switch-hitting outfielder that plays great defensively and can hit for power, Hicks figures to be part of the Yankees’ future plans if he can hit somewhat consistently.
Speaking of the Yankees’ future outfield plans, this guy figures to be a huge part of them. Frazier gave the Yanks an instant boost when he came up, with both his bat and his legs. I love the fire he plays with, always looking to turn singles into doubles and make things happen on the bases. He did hit a rough patch that caused his season batting average to dip to .231, but every Yankee fan saw that Frazier has the potential to be a special player for us in the near future.
The guy who was supposedly the prized possession of the deal with the White Sox, Kahnle didn’t show us too much in the regular season, going 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 26.2 IP. Not bad numbers by any means, but nothing that made him live up to what we had heard about him. Well he was absolutely lights out in the playoffs (ALCS Game 7 excluded), becoming Girardi’s go-to guy at all times. Kahnle is under team control through 2020, which is great news for us Yankee fans.
People said Montgomery had only a small chance to make the rotation in Spring Training, but he pitched so well he forced the Yankees’ hand. His rookie campaign did not disappoint, as he went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts. Will he be a Luis Severino-type ace going forward? Probably not, but Montgomery figures to be a big piece of the Yankees’ future rotation.
This one is basically all recency bias. Frazier did next to nothing in the regular season after he was acquired, hitting only .222 in 66 games. But in the playoffs, he was one of the team’s most consistent hitters, and its heart and soul. Not sure if Frazier will be back because the Yankees infield is crowded, with Headley and Castro under contract with Torres and Miguel Andujar waiting in the wings. But I would love for Frazier to be back in a utility corner infielder/DH role.
This guy was quietly a big part of the Yankees’ great bullpen this year. 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA in 46 appearances is great from a middle reliever. He didn’t pitch much in the playoffs, but Warren figures to stick in the Yanks’ bullpen in 2018.
Sonny was solid ever since we made the megadeal for him on deadline day. However, the Yankees loved to not give him run support. Gray went 4-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 11 starts after being acquired from Oakland, and pitched decently well in both playoff starts he made. Again, he’s no ace, but is more than solid for a middle of the rotation guy.
What an up and down season this guy had. He looked untouchable in April, which included a complete game shutout to take down Chris Sale and the Red Sox at Fenway. Then he forgot how to pitch completely in a stretch that saw him miss a start and give up six runs in the first inning on Derek Jeter night. After a lights-out September, Tanaka was unreal this postseason, helping the Yankees to wins in ALDS Game 3 and ALCS Game 5, and keeping them in the game in ALCS Game 1. Hopefully, he doesn’t use that performance as leverage and opt out this offseason. Based off his postseason, I’d give him an A. But this is a full season report card, so this is the best I can give him,
Guy low key batted .326 in 13 games for us. Then again, he only played 13 games so I can’t rate him too high.
Austin also battled injury, playing in only 20 games this year and not making the postseason roster. He batted .225, with his only real highlight being his home run off Chris Sale at Fenway. With Greg Bird back in the picture, you have to wonder where Austin fits in the Yankees’ future plans.
Holliday’s season was a strange one. He started off very productive before getting Epstein-Barr virus, better known as mono. Even when he was able to return, his swing did not. He finished the season with a .231 average, 19 HR and 64 RBI, playing in just one postseason game.
Romine played in 80 games and batted .218 as the Bombers’ backup catcher this year. After a strong start where he played every day filling in for the injured Sanchez, his numbers dropped off. He was serviceable, but his lack of production at the plate and weak arm make it likely they could search for another catcher this offseason.
Stats wise, Headley was better than some guys above him on this list. A .273 average, 12 HR and 63 RBI aren’t awful. But it’s Chase Headley. He’s just so average I can’t not give him a C. Just no other way to put it.
Classic Pineda season. Looked like an ace with dominating stuff, dropped off, got hurt. It’s a shame we never saw this guy pitch up to his potential but I can’t say I’ll miss him. Since he likely won’t return, hopefully he figured himself out elsewhere.
Shreve has yet to be the lefty from the pen the Yankees want. A 3.77 ERA in 45.1 innings leaves a lot to be desired. Decent in middle relief but not ready for high-leverage situations.
I don’t know where to begin with this guy. Lights out one day, unpitchable the next. Thank goodness he figured himself out for the playoffs. I wanna up his grade for that but I hated this guy too much when he was blowing saves against the Red Sox like it was his job. I would’ve given him an F then, or an A during the playoffs, so let’s just average that.
Used to be able to make a case he was one of the best relievers in the league. Now it would be hard to make a case as to why he would have been on the World Series roster.
Tommy Layne, Bryan Mitchell, Giovany Gallegos, Jonathan Holder
Basically just throwing these guys together as relievers that the Yankees put in games 20ish times or more that I don’t really care about. Looking at the stats now, Holder wasn’t awful but these other three should probably not pitch for the Yankees ever again.
Grade: Don’t really care
It was painful watching this guy start baseball games. Really not fun to watch pitch.
See Cessa, Luis.
For all the hype around this guy, jeez did he look lost at the plate this year. Hopefully he figures it out over the offseason because with his speed and ability to play so many positions, he could be really useful. But I think Helen Keller honestly would have had better luck at the plate than Wade did in 2017.
Another guy with a lot of hype who never panned out. He batted .135 in 20 games for the Yanks this year before they finally cut ties with him.
Remember when this guy was pitching for us and losing baseball games like it was his job? Wow, those were dark times. We had a petition for the Yankees to release him before he was finally traded. The fact that this guy gets a World Series ring if the Astros win is just another reason to root for the Dodgers.
Grade: F (but not like an F that was close to a D, like an F that was close to a 0 because you forgot to hand in your assignment for 3 weeks)
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahah fuck this guy