July 15, 2010

Yankees hitters midseason report card

The Yankees’ offense has been a bit of a disappointment this year, but still ranks among the best in the game. They lead the majors in team OBP and are second in runs, but dipped to seventh in batting average.

I will give each regular 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:
Teixeira headed into the break with his highest batting average of the season at .254. Some may be harsher on him, but I credit his production higher than most people. He still has 17 homers and 60 RBIs; in other words, on pace for a great season. If he can continue to raise his BA up to around .275, he’ll have a solid end-of-the-year line.

Robinson Cano: A+ 
Clearly the team’s MVP thus far, Cano has exhibited all the skills scouts expected him to develop: Power to both fields, production and great defense. He’s “slumping” lately, hitting just .205 in 39 July ABs, but still holds a monstrous .336/.389/.556 line.

Derek Jeter: C-
New York sports media is hinting at 2010 being the year of Jeter’s downfall, but I’m not too concerned. Yes, his numbers are down considerably from last year, .274/.340/.392, but crawling out of this hole isn’t asking too much of the 36-year-old. Is it time to consider Brett Gardner for the leadoff spot? Possibly, but I’ll need a lot more evidence before making that switcheroo.

Alex Rodriguez: C- 
Last year he missed the first month of the season and still slugged 30 homers and drove in 100 runs for the season. This year his power numbers have declined slightly but his run production has soared. A 30-homer, 130-RBI year could be in the works, but, like Teixeira, he needs to raise his batting average.

Jorge Posada: B-
Posada has battled injuries to rack up a .265/.373/.464 line, but his production has taken the biggest hit with just nine homers and 29 RBIs in nearly 200 ABs. He’s an aging catcher, 39 next month, and this might be his last year as a full-time backstop.

Brett Gardner: A
Everyone knew Gardy had the speed to be successful in the majors, but nobody expected him to hit .300 with almost a .400 OBP. He was a borderline All-Star pick and has played great defense despite his transition to left.

Curtis Granderson: D
I was excited when the Yankees made the deal to land Grandy, but it turns out the Yankees would be better off with Austin Jackson in center than Granderson thus far. He posted a .240/.309/.409 line with just seven homers and 24 RBIs in the first half. He did miss a month due to injury, but he’s been very quiet with the bat since the first series of the year in Boston.

Nick Swisher: A-
The Moneyball Man is coming into his own in pinstripes. He had a good year last year, but this year’s he’s upped his percentages — especially batting average, earning him his first All-Star selection.

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