New York Yankees: Mid-Season Report Card
Team: New York Yankees
Record: 51-44 (6 GB)
Biggest Surprise of First Half:
The biggest surprise for this team is how well they have actually played with injuries to all of their highest paid and accomplished players. The Yankees all season have been without outfielder Curtis Granderson (84 home runs the past two seasons), first baseman Mark Teixeira (Over 400 RBI’s past four seasons), third baseman Alex Rodriguez (two MVP awards with Yankees) and the captain shortstop Derek Jeter (Over 3,000 career hits). Despite all four stars not playing yet, the Yankees have a record of 52-44 and only sit six games back from first place in a tight AL East race. The guy who has played for the Yankees all season and could be considered the ‘backbone’ of this offense is outfielder Brett Gardner. Gardner has had an impressive 2013 with a steady .272 batting average, 13 stolen bases and 30 RBI’s as a leadoff hitter.
Biggest Disappointment of First Half:
It’s tough to pick a disappointment for a team that is highly exceeding everybody’s expectations. Throughout a season of overcoming adversity, there is one disappointment for this ball club aside from all the injuries. Third baseman Kevin Youkilis was brought in to spell the injured Rodriguez, however, Youkilis has only played a total of 28 games. Assuming Youkilis’ injury keeps him out for the season (he’s on the 60 day disabled list), it will be the fewest amount of games he has played in a season. It’s just safe to say that the amount of injuries this team has sustained is the biggest disappointment of the season which extends to backups. Another overlooked injury that the Yankees have had to overcome is catcher Francisco Cervelli, who is on the 60-day DL.
The Yankees’ MV P is pretty simple, second baseman Robinson Cano. The captain of the AL home run derby team has kept the Yankees within reach of being contenders. Cano has been playing healthy all season and has helped carry this team to the record they have today. Cano is batting over .300 this season with 21 home runs and 65 RBI’s. Cano is tied for 7th place with Adrian Beltre in AL home run leaders.
Prospect Ready to Make an Impact:
Outfielder Zoilo Almonte has filled in nicely for the injured Yankees’ on both the offensive and defensive sides of the plate. Filling in this season, the first year player is batting a pretty solid .267 with 23 hits in 25 games played. Almonte is also responsible for nine RBI’s in his limited playing time. The power numbers aren’t there for this young outfielder, but he has hit safely eight times in his last 13 games. Almonte has been a solid filler for this injury-riddled Yankee ball club and could see more playing time as a backup in the near future. If Granderson can’t come back soon for this team, look for Almonte to be the one player that must make an impact for himself and this team to succeed.
Contender or Pretender:
The Yankees are contenders, barely though. The team is well over .500 with all the injuries they’ve had and backups they’ve had to use. The Yankees pitching has been consistent for most the season, so if the pitching keeps up their solid work, the Yankees will be contenders through the final month of play.
Overall Team Analysis:
This will be an interesting team to watch during the back half of the season. The Yankees are only getting healthier and haven’t come close to putting up the amount of runs were used to seeing. The second half of the season is very unpredictable for this team, but up to the mid-season mark the Yankees have been playing like hungry contenders. It’s not very often you see a team like the Yankees succeed at scrappy small ball, but they’ve had no choice but to play like that. The broadest statement for this section is that they’re just hurt, but the Yankees have been playing complete team ball with some of the better pitching this club has seen in a while. The Yankees will go as far as their injuries and pitching take them.