The Yankees are 48 games into the season and sit 25-23, just two games out of first place in a very weak American League East. Every 50 games or so I’ll be ranking the ten best Bombers up that point. Here are my top 10 players from this season, thus far.
1. Masahiro Tanaka
Not only has Masahiro been New York’s best player but he’s been one of the better pitchers in the American League. He’s had 9 starts in Major League Baseball and all 9 have been deemed quality. Tied for 3rd in wins with 6, 4th in ERA at 2.39, and number one in WHIP in the entire AL. His big smile is all an act when he steps between the lines with the plus velocity fastball and devastating splitter.
2. Yangervis Solarte
There is zero doubt in my mind Yangervis has been the most reliable position player to this date, for the Yankees. Leading in, out of all qualified players, batting average, total bases, walks and on-base percentage. The 26 year old rookie, who had an unbelievable spring hasn’t stopped almost 50 games in. Some people, like myself, we’re a little skeptical even after the hot spring management kept Solarte over now Twins shortstop, Eduardo Nunez. I tip my cap to the same management I doubted because without Yangervis, these Yanks could be what some call cellar dwellers.
3. Dellin Betances
Filthy. Nasty. Use any similar adjective to describe Dellin this season and you’d be right on point. Heading straight for an all-star appearance if he continues on the path he’s on, the young stud is showing everyone why he was a highly coveted prospect from the Yankees farm system. He has a crazy mark of 49 strikeouts in 28.1 innings. That’s good for a casual 15.59 K/9 mark.
4. Mark Teixeira
The Notoriously slow starting Mark Teixiera has been surprisingly great this past month or so. He leads the Yankees in Home-Runs (9), RBI’s (25), and Slugging percentage. Teix is the leader in all those major categories and he missed 15 games with a DL stint. Yankees fans haven’t seen this early production from Teix since May 2009 when he had an absurd 13 HR’s and 34 RBI’s. With the help from Kevin Long he’s made an adjustment from the left side of the plate and it’s been such a positive for Mark.
5. Brett Gardner
Brett has been flat out productive early on this season. He’s way up from his career .270 mark at .292 and he’s had some early pop with 3 HR’s from a guy who has 26 HR’s in now his 7th professional season. Brett has been a terror on the bases when he’s picked his times to swipe a bag as he’s been perfect on the season in 11 attempts. The .364 OBP for a leadoff hitter is great and if that continues, he’s going to continue terrorizing pitchers days on the base paths and at the dish.
6. David Robertson
Mariano..who? Just kidding. But David has been lights out before and after his brief 15-day DL stint. In 14 appearances he’s converted all 10 out of 11 of his save opportunities. He’s only allowed 4 earned runs and has earned an excellent 13.50 K per 9 innings. The heir apparent to the greatest closer of all-time has been nothing short of great replacing Mo. 1 mistake to Adam Dunn away from being a perfect 11 of 11
7. Adam Warren
Usually it’s an issue when 3 out of 10 of your top players are relievers but Adam, like the others I’ve named, have been great. He has a 1.63 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 22 appearances totaling 27.2 innings. He’s been a great setup man for D-Rob and has 8 holds to prove just that. He took Shawn Kelley’s job right from under his feet and hasn’t slowed down a bit. If anything, he may fall into a 7th inning role because the emergence of Dellin, but I’m confident in any 7-9 inning roles we have if Adam, Dellin and David are involved.
8. Ichiro Suzuki
It’s time Ichiro starts taking people’s at-bats. In just 37 games and only 70 AB’s, Ichiro has been flat out producing. He’s hitting .357 with a .410 OBP which is a sign the guy needs more playing time. Even tho he’s older, and slower than he was, the guy has played great when given a chance and there haven’t been many productive guys in this lineup so why not go with the hot hand till he proves he doesn’t deserve time?
9. Jacoby Ellsbury
The Yankees simply need Jacoby to produce. It was timely HR on Saturday to put the Bombers up by 1 run in the 10th inning which turned out to be the game winner. Jacoby has been in the midst of a serious slump, before the last couple of games where he had 2 hits in each one of those games. Before the 2 hits Saturday, Jacoby was entrenched in a 3 for 40 slump. He had a great April, which is why I can’t see him off of this list. Along with the fact he’s been great defensively and on the base paths. I really like Jacoby slotted in the 3 hole and I think he is the Yanks best hitter who will figure it all out sooner rather than later.
10. Vidal Nuno / David Phelps / Chase Whitley
All 3 of these guys deserve to share a spot. With all of the rotation talk coming into spring, the Yanks seemed set with there starters and that would be a strong aspect of the team this year. With injuries, these guys have kept the Yankees afloat thus far. Phelps has has 2 solid starts in a row, same with Nuno and Whitley, for his 1st 2 Major League starts, all from the stretch has done a formidable job as well. Compare them to Sabathia and Nova, they’ve actually outpitched them and it’s not all that close.
Your opinion differs? Agrees? Send in your comments here or tweet at me @The_Real_Grande!