July 15, 2009

Yankees hitters midseason report card

The past few seasons the Yankees seem to put together All-Star studded lineups from top to bottom, but for some reason it is never as good as expected and goes through its struggles. This season is no exception. They missed two big boppers for the first couple of months, but now the lineup is where the Yankees expected it to be.

I will give each hitter a grade based on their expectations. A grade of ‘C’ is meeting expectations, ‘A’ and ‘B’ are above expectations, you get the picture.

Mark Teixeira:
Known for his slow starts, Teixeira experienced another letdown April. Though, he was worth the wait, as he has been sensational since May. He hit .200 in April, and is hitting .295 since. He has totaled 21 homers and 63 RBIs, and is hitting .275/.378/.535 on the season. I can easily see him duplicating that performance in the second half.

Robinson Cano: B+
Cano is enjoying a nice rebound season thus far. He hit .271 last season after an incredibly slow start, but he’s already at .308 this year. For a career .327 hitter after the All-Star break, Cano is bound for a great year. His 13 homers and 46 RBIs are also very high for him at this point.

Derek Jeter: B+
Jeter has hit over .300 in 10 of 13 complete seasons. He’s up to .321 this year and is tied for the team lead in hits. Jeter’s numbers have been very consistent by month, and is off to a scorching start in July. He also has a chance to reach 20 homers for only the fourth time in his career.

Alex Rodriguez: C—
A-Rod’s season didn’t start until May 8, but his production numbers have met expectations. Seventeen homers and 50 RBIs is not bad for a shortened first half. An awful June sunk his average to .233, but like Jeter, a hot July has brought him up to .256. It looks like he is having the exact same season as last year: 35 HR, 103 RBI, .302/.392/.573.

Jorge Posada: B
For a 37-year-old catcher, .285/.369/.508, 11 HR and 40 RBIs is a very good season. He spent most of May on the DL too. Posada is hitting well in July and could be ready for a strong second half.

Johnny Damon: B
Damon has taken full advantage of the short porch in the new Yankee Stadium this season, and is playing like he wants to be re-signed. His contract expires after this season and he has almost reached last season’s home run total already. This power and production has exceeded my expectations, which is why I want him re-signed.

Melky Cabrera: C+
The Melk Man has hit all of his expectations as a part time outfielder, and has also taken advantage of the new stadium’s short porch. He already has reached his season-high for homers with eight. His bat really helped the Yanks out in April and May, hitting a combined .321.

Brett Gardner: B—
Gardy will always be known for his speed, and is making a solid run at the AL Rookie of the Year Award. He’s 18/22 in steal attempts and has an OBP of .352. If he bumps that number up a little closer to .400, he could be a deadly weapon for the Yanks. A .282 average is very respectable for a weak hitter.

Nick Swisher: C+
Fans were bowing down to Swisher after his blazing start, but he quickly fell back down to his usual numbers. He’s down to .237/.360/.464 with 14 HRs and 47 RBIs. Swisher may see reduced playing time in the second half with the acquisition of Eric Hinske.

Hideki Matsui: C—
Solely a DH this season, Matsui hasn’t quite met hitting expectations. He’s only hitting .265 but has driven in 40 runs. If he wants to continue playing in the majors, he is going to have to put on a show in the second half. The Yankees have already said they will not re-sign him.

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