I am going to give grades for each player, as well as for the team overall, with brief blurbs on every grade. I encourage you to follow up in the comments with grades or your own. Just as a note, the grades are based on a player’s own talent level. If Frankie Cervelli has a better grade than Joba Chamberlain, it does not mean that he has been more important to the team, just that he has performed his particular job better. I only included hitters with at least 20 games and pitchers with minimum 10 innings.
Jorge Posada: B+: Jorge has been excellent thus far, making up for a bit of a loss in OBP with a commensurate increase in slugging. He would be graded higher, but missing 30 games knocks him down a bit.
Frankie Cervelli: B+: Cervelli really does not hit much, but did show a knack for notching his hits when they counted. However, as a backup catcher, the focus was on his defense and gamecalling, both of which were excellent.
Mark Teixeira: A-: He is starting the ASG, so it is hard to be too critical, but he has been a bit too streaky for a middle of the order hitter. He has always been a second half player, so I fully expect him to settle in over the second half.
Robinson Cano: B+: His terrible numbers with RISP have clouded over the fact that he has reestablished himself as one of the AL’s premiere second basemen. He has similar numbers to such luminaries as Aaron Hill and Ian Kinsler, and is hitting better than Brian Roberts and Dustin Pedroia. He has settled down on defense as well.
Derek Jeter: A: Better on defense, mashing on offense, so what is not to like? The only thing holding him back from an A+ is the fact that his numbers are inflated by Yankee Stadium.
Cody Ransom: F: He is terrible with the bat, terrible in the field, and got injured when the team “needed” him. I do not get what the Yankees see in him.
Angel Berroa: F: Ditto.
Ramiro Pena: B+: He flashed the leather, showed some speed, and hit just enough for good glove utility guy.
Alex Rodriguez: B: The team has won since his return, so I may be lowballing him. However, he did miss a month and also had an atrocious 3 week slump.
Johnny Damon: B: Damon’s offense has been awesome, and there was a period of time where it seemed like he came through in every big spot. However, his defense in LF has been so shockingly bad that I could not fathom giving him a higher grade.
Melky Cabrera: A-: His offense is above league average for CF, and he has been the most clutch member of the team for most of the year. His defense has been spotty at times, but has been solid overall.
Brett Gardner: A: His offense is also slightly above league average, his defense has been mostly excellent, and his speed makes his offensive game play up. He has been a pleasant surprise, and Joe Girardi has done a nice job making sure he does not get overexposed.
Nick Swisher: A-: I wanted to give him an A, but his average defense and weak RISP numbers held me back. He carried the team during April, and continues to carry them on the road, as he leads the club in many offensive categories away from NYS. He has returned to the player that he was in Oakland.
Hideki Matsui: A-: He is incredibly streaky, but at the end of the day, his OPS is .882. His job is to hit, and he is doing it.
Offense Overall: A-: The grades for the offense are high, befitting a team at the top of the league in most offensive categories. They would get an A if the situational hitting was a bit better. This is an excellent offensive club that should only get better going forward.
CC Sabathia: B+: He has been very good and has eaten plenty of innings, but has not been entirely dominant. For the money that the Yankees are paying him, you would expect a bit more dominance, something that I expect to emerge as the season evolves.
AJ Burnett: A-: He is pitching about as good as CC is, and is healthy. I’m not sure what more you could expect, although his streakiness and poor showings vs. Boston knock him down a peg.
Andy Pettitte: C+: He is eating innings at a league average rate. I expected a bit more, and have been disappointed by his on-again off-again type season.
Joba Chamberlain: C+: He has struggled mightily, running up large pitch counts and low innings totals while allowing 1.5 baserunners per inning. That being said, he has mostly limited the damage, and is pitching to a 108 ERA+. Young pitchers take time to develop, and Yankees fans need to show some patience.
Chien Ming Wang: F: Do I really need to explain?
Phil Hughes: B+: His work in the rotation, outside of one poor start, was serviceable, while his bullpen performances have been spectacular. If he keeps this up all season, he will end up with an A for the year.
Jon Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Brett Tomko: D-: These guys all had some decent moments, but all have pitched poorly enough to deserve losing their job at some point. I still have hopes for Albaladejo.
Dave Robertson: B-: His numbers are excellent, but he has faltered each time that he has been used in a high leverage spot, not surprising for a young pitcher. He has a bright future in the Yankee bullpen, as he strikes out an absurd number of batters.
Phil Coke: A-: ERA under 3, WHIP under 1, and trending in the right direction. Some of his numbers suggest that he has had some help from a little bit o’ luck, but he seems to be getting better with each passing day. He figures to be a staple in this bullpen as a versatile lefty for a long time.
Alfredo Aceves: A+: A perfect swingman, Aceves has an ERA at 2, and a WHIP under 1. He can give you one batter or 4 innings, and has been instrumental in a number of victories. He was really the initial stabilizing force in the bullpen, and the relief pitching has coalesced around him.
Brian Bruney: C: He was dominant to start the season, but then got injured and lied about it, thereby leaving the team in the lurch. He has been fairly awful since his return, and really needs to get himself straightened out.
Mariano Rivera: A: Mo has had a few rough moments, but is once again putting together an overall fabulous year.
Pitching Overall: C+: The Yankees have three question marks in their rotation and cannot afford to move Phil Hughes at this point to assuage those issues. If Joba Chamberlain can find the pitcher that he was prior to his injury last season or CM Wang could bounce back, this team could really go on a roll. As it is, the improved bullpen bodes well for a better pitched second half.
Overall Grade: B+: This is a team on pace to make the playoffs and win 96 games. That being said, the team is in second place and is 0-8 against Boston, which made it hard to give an A grade. I think a B+ is fair.
How about you?