Progress Report: Yanks first-quarter grades
Yankees' first-quarter grades
CC Sabathia, SP
Sabathia is 5-2 with a 3.78 ERA. The ERA could be a little lower, and recently against Cincy he gave up the lead the minute the Yankees handed it to him. But all in all, he has been an ace thus far. In the regular season, that often means pitching a lot of innings and helping out the bullpen. Sabathia has done that time and time again.
Curtis Granderson, CF
Granderson has not been perfect. Like most everyone on the team, he has failed with RISP and his RBI total (25) is low in comparison to his power numbers. However, it is not his fault the Yankees rarely have anyone on base when he hits all of his home runs. He leads the team in long balls with 14. He still bats second for some reason and not third or fourth, where you'd figure those homers would lead to more runs.
Raul Ibanez, DH/OF
Ibanez has done exactly what the Yankees wanted -- he has mashed righty pitchers. He also has picked up the slack left by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. The Yankees picked Ibanez over Johnny Damon in part because they felt he could play the outfield better. He is not very good in the field, but he has been out there.
Derek Jeter, SS
Jeter has been the best player on the team. Though he has slowed a little of late, Jeter has been a top-notch leadoff man. His defense still isn’t great, but he fields the balls he gets to. It will be interesting to see if Jeter finishes above .315 this year. He is at .348 right now and leads the league in hits with 64.
David Robertson, RP
Robertson may not be the closer when he comes back from his injury, but the guy has been excellent all year. He had the hiccup with his first blown save, but he has been dominant besides that. He has struck out an insane 24 batters in 14 1/3 innings.
Robinson Cano, 2B
Cano took a while to get started this year, which pulls his grade down. He has also seemed disinterested in the field at times -- Robbie being Robbie. Cano, though, has picked it up at the plate and there are plenty of hits in that bat.
Andy Pettitte, SP
Pettitte has pitched just three games, so you could give him an incomplete, but we will give him a B because he has had one great start, one very good one and one bad one.
Brett Gardner, LF
Gardner could be an incomplete, too, but his value has been highlighted by his injury. He has only played nine games, but the Yankees have shown how much they miss his defense and his ability to score in ways besides station-to-station baseball.
Rafael Soriano, RP
Soriano is now 3-for-3 as the closer. He could end up being one of the most important players on the team. His demeanor has improved, too, now that he is pitching the ninth inning.
Joe Girardi, manager
I don’t think Girardi has done anything particularly wrong, besides the Opening Day walk to get to Carlos Pena. However, the Bill Parcells axiom applies: You are what your record says you are. The Yankees are just a little above .500, so the manager can’t receive more than a C.
Russell Martin, C
Martin has been a failure at the plate for the most part. He is under .200 on the season, but he continues to play excellent defense, which is why the Yankees really have him around. Still, if he doesn’t pick it up at the plate, he may regret not taking the Yankees up on their two-year extension offer this offseason. Martin is a free agent at the end of the year.
Ivan Nova, SP
Nova has given up too many hits and his ERA is higher than Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda. If you don’t believe in wins, you might think Nova deserves a D, too. But somehow, the Yankees win a lot when he is on the mound -- so we are going to count that for something.
Nick Swisher, RF
Swisher started off strong then got hurt. In a free-agent year, Swisher arrived in tremendous shape but may have been a little too tight and has had groin issues since spring training. Swisher looks as if he will have a typical Swisher year, which is .260 with 20-25 homers and 80-90 RBIs.
Phil Hughes, SP
Hughes has been much better in his past four starts, though overall he still has been below average. Hughes is trending in the right direction but still doesn’t miss enough bats to truly be more than a No. 4 or 5 starter.
Hiroki Kuroda, SP
Kuroda is 3-6 in his first nine starts. You could argue he deserves a C because he is one good start then one bad start throughout the season. But one out of every two starts being good is not good enough.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
A-Rod has struggled mightily at the plate this season. He hit a couple homers on Wednesday, ending a 52 at-bat homer-less streak. He figures to be better than he has been, but forget the all the millions the Yankees are paying him, they need A-Rod to be great because their lineup is dependent on him being a huge run producer. He says the numbers will be there. So far, they haven’t been.
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Teixeira hasn’t hit all season and now is going to try to swing for the fences. Maybe that will work. You could argue his excellent defense could move him up to a C, but we liked the symbolism in giving him a D, because that is basically all he has provided this year -- defense.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Wallace Matthews has covered NY sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He joins ESPNNewYork to cover the Yankees, which he's done since the days of Stump Merrill for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork.com. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years as a sports writer at the New York Post.
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