"We're the bestest of friends!"- Tex - Nick Laham
How would you rank the contributions of everyone on the 2012 Yankees roster?
Last year, before I was a front-page writer, I made a FanPost of how I would rank everyone on the 2011 New York Yankees, with short comments on each of them. Since that post appeared to be well-received, I will continue the tradition with how I would rank everyone on the 2012 Yankees. How will I determine the rankings?
My determination of value for this ranking is how the Yankees would have been affected if the player's contributions were removed from the 2012 Yankees. This post is solely my opinion, so if you disagree (or agree), comment away! If you feel nothing, feel free to just sit there and continue munching on your Animal Crackers.
Ah, 2011 Andrew. Such a jokester (or something). Anyway, let's get this started.
47. Michael Pineda (DL)--The Jesus Montero-for-Pineda deal was one of the most hyped in last year's offseason given the talent levels of these two young players. The whole affair then ended up as arguably the biggest overall bust of any deal made last offseason. Montero couldn't take a walk and was mediocre at the plate while Pineda showed up to camp overweight, tore his shoulder labrum, hid it from the team, missed the season, and had a DUI later on to cap off the disaster. Just for fun, the two other players in the deal had horrible campaigns as well (Hector Noesi was demoted, and Jose Campos missed most of the season after a good start). Yippie.
46. Pedro Feliciano (DL)--You might remember Feliciano from the bottom of last year's list! He never played a game with the Yankees despite the $8 million given to him after five good years with the Mets. One can only hope that this spectacular waste of money will teach the Yanks a lesson about signing overworked relievers to silly deals.
45. Adam Warren (SP)--UNC's pride and joy was obliterated in his only appearance of the season, a spot-start on June 29th against the White Sox. The 2.1-inning, six-run, eight-hit disaster was enough to keep off the major league mound despite a September call-up.
44. Ryota Igarashi (RP)--So... why was he needed again? Were the Yankees just taking pity on the Mets? Three innings and a 12.00 ERA. Gross.
43. Justin Thomas (LOOGY #3)--Just think, kids. If you're lefthanded and have a pulse, you could one day pitch for the Yankees no matter how horrible you are! Thomas's highlights include digging the Yankees into a deeper hole in that 14-inning classic against Oakland on September 22nd.
42. Chad Qualls (RP)--At least the Yankees quickly realized their mistake in acquiring Qualls. He was gone after only 7.1 innings of underwhelming pitching. We were all surprised they got someone for him. Unfortunately...
41. Casey McGehee (3B/1B)--McGehee was the guy the Yankees got for Qualls. He was the least impressive position player on the roster all year. It's pretty impressive that he managed -0.6 fWAR despite only playing in 22 games. Hit .151/.220/.264 with a 28 wRC+. Ouch.
40. Steve Pearce (1B)--Remember when he hit cleanup that one time? Never forget.
39. Darnell McDonald (OF)--Now, we reach the players who had basically zero impact on this team. The Yanks picked up McDonald, recently cut by Boston, for a series at Boston. He did nothing. His older brother had more of an impact 11 years ago in as many games.
38. Ramiro Pena (INF)--Go away, Ramiro. Please.
36. Melky Mesa (OF)--Melky 2.0 will probably most be remembered for missing a base in that aforementioned 14-inning classic against Oakland, but he also got his first major league hit. And hey, in Melky Cabrera's first cup of coffee in 2005, he misplayed a Trot Nixon hit into an inside-the-park homer at Fenway Park.
35. Francisco Cervelli (C)--Cervelli was avoided like the plague in his September call-up after losing the backup catcher job to newly-acquired Chris Stewart at the end of Spring Training. He did get a big walk and score the winning run in the crucial Game 161 against Boston though.
34. D.J. Mitchell (RP)--Turned in a couple decent appearances, then turned into Ichiro. Wasn't that nice?
33. Mariano Rivera (RP)--Oh, how it pains me to put Mo this low due to that horrible ACL injury.
32. Chris Dickerson (OF)--I would put him higher, but as well as he played, he only had 17 plate appearances.
31. Brett Gardner (OF)--Got off to a good start, but a nagging elbow injury ruined his season and he only had 37 plate appearances.
30. Cory Wade (RP)--Pitched well in April and May before his season blew up in a disastrous June.
29. DeWayne Wise (OF)--By pure measures of fWAR, Wise was the 10th-most valuable position player on the Yanks in 2012. I like fWAR, but I'm not married to it. He played well and even pitched an inning, but simply did not make that much of a difference (only 63 plate appearances).
28. Freddy Garcia (SP)--It's not like his 107.1 innings pitched were useless--someone had to eat those innings and his better-than-expected mediocrity in the rotation after Pettitte's injury were helpful. Yet he was still clearly washed up and a complete non-factor by season's end.
27. Eduardo Nunez (INF)--Overall, it was just not a good season at all for Eduardo. He was demoted after the idea for him to be a utilityman was scrapped due to his defensive woes, and he didn't really contribute until very late in the season.
26. Chris Stewart (C)--I'm sure his pitch-framing was useful in some way. It's awfully hard to quantify that though, and he just did not seem to be the defensive specialist he was advertised to be. Remember when he hit a homeroff Jon Lester though? Ah, good times.
25. Andruw Jones (OF)--It's quite an achievement to hit 14 homers but still be pretty useless. Yet Andruw managed to do it and also somehow manage to fall off the playoff roster.
24. Ivan Nova (SP)--Nova took a giant step backward after a promising rookie campaign last year that led to him being the #2 starter in the playoffs. This year, he had an ERA over 5.00 in every month except June and didn't even make the playoff roster. Other than an improved strikeout rate, there wasn't much to Nova's 2012, and he will be desperate for a comeback year in '13.
23. Joba Chamberlain (RP)--Oh, what a year it was for Joba. From a confusing Tommy John surgery to a gruesome trampoline injury, it did not seem like much could go right for the beleaguered former top prospect. Even when he finally made it back to the mound, he was statistically underwhelming.
22. Jayson Nix (INF)--Nix's numbers were very similar to Jones's, which is both a facepalm for Jones and a highlight for Nix. His versatility in the infield was much appreciated, as was the ability to turn him into a Pinstripe Bible/Alley meme.
21. Derek Lowe (RP)--Hey, for as much as a post-May dumpster fire Lowe was with Cleveland this year, no one really expected much when the Yankees signed him off the scrap heap in mid-August. He didn't do much at first, but he came up huge down the stretch in a Ramiro Mendoza-esque role by pitching to a 1.26 ERA in his final 14.1 innings. Nonetheless, Lowe's magic disappeared in the playoffs, and he still should not have been the first man out of a fresh bullpen in ALCS Game 1. Maybe the Yanks could have actually won a game in that series.
20. Cody Eppley (ROOGY)--This year, we were introduced to a new, bizarre concept--the ROOGY. Yes, why bother have people in the 'pen who can actually get all kinds of hitters out when you can just constantly mix and match? I thought the idea of keeping a guy like Eppley around was silly, though admittedly there were not many alternatives. Righties hit .227/.276/.319 in 130 plate appearances against Eppley with only five extra-base hits, so the rookie was good at his curious job. Like Lowe, it was more than what anyone expected when he was claimed off waivers from the Rangers in April.
19. Clay Rapada (LOOGY #2)--Yes, I'm contractually obligated to put the OOGY duet back-to-back on this list. It's hard for me to argue that either was more important to the squad than any of the players below since they were, of course, "one-out guys." This weird-looking LOOGY was better against his assigned batters than Eppley, holding lefties to a .186/.263/.255 triple slash in 115 plate appearances with only three extra-base hits.
18. Boone Logan (LOOGY #1)--Logan's statistics were not as good as Eppley and Rapada's were, but at least he was more capable of retiring opposite-handed hitters. A good start this year was ravaged by a poor May (4.86 ERA) and an even worse July (9.95 ERA). He recovered to pitch decently in the final two months and threw 3.2 scoreless innings over five playoff games.
17. Phil Hughes (SP)--17th does appear a little low for a guy who threw 191 decent innings and was third among pitchers in fWAR, but it's hard to qualify Hughes's season as "above average." His 101 ERA-, 108 FIP-, and a whopping 35 homers allowed (second-most in team history) should speak to that. He's at a better crossroads position than Joba, but that's not really saying much.
16. Russell Martin (C)--The Russ bus was painful to observe as he sputtered along under the Mendoza line for months until a .258/.347/.539 September pushed him over. He also belted seven homers that month and hit two walk-off blasts this year of his career-high 21 homers, so it was not all disappointing...just mostly disappointing I suppose. On defense, he threw out a career-low 24% of baserunners, but did steal many strikes over the course of the season according to some statistics. If this is the last we've seen of Russ as a Yankee, they could have done a lot worse over the past two years behind the dish.
15. David Phelps (RP/SP)--The Notre Dame kid finally got a shot on the big squad after dominating AAA for a year and a half and making the club out of Spring Training. He rewarded the Yanks by becoming a crucial piece of their bullpen, even as Joe Girardi hesitated to use him much in the first half. He made some spot starts, most notably filling in for the poor September Nova in Game 161, and his curve was very helpful in mid-relief. Time will only tell if he can find a spot in the Yankees' rotation, but now we know that he can certainly help out of the 'pen.
14. Alex Rodriguez (3B)--It was not the best of seasons for our four-legged friend at the hot corner. A painful pitch from King Felix forced him from the lineup in late July, and he did not seem like the same player when he returned a couple months later. The postseason was brutal. Yes, there is hope for him to come back, but his terrific 2009 is further and further in the rearview mirror and he has basically declined for three straight seasons. Prove 'em wrong, Ardo.
13. Mark Teixeira (1B)--2012 was probably Tex's worst season as a big leaguer, and like A-Rod, he's been declining since that superb '09 season that netted him a second-place finish in the AL MVP balloting. He missed time with a calf injury, forcing retreads like Pearce and McGehee into the lineup, and his 123 games played were a career-low, as were his 24 homers (the first season since his rookie '03 that he missed the 30 plateau). Tex will only be 33 in April, so we can reasonably expect a recovery at least to '11 standards, but it's becoming even more doubtful that he will ever capture that 2005-08 form that got him that huge eight-year, $180 million contract before '09.
12. Ichiro Suzuki (LF/RF)--Remember the shock that went around baseball when Ichiro was traded to the Yankees? It serves as further proof that we truly have no idea what Ninja Cashman is planning behind the scenes. No one saw that coming. Considering the meager price it was to obtain his decent services for a half-year (Mitchell and minor leaguer
Lord Farquaad Danny Farquhar), the deal was a success in the short-term. He was not great in August, but it was at least good to get Ibanez and Jones off the field and onto the bench, where they belonged. It didn't even matter that Ichiro had played one career game in left field (back in the '01 ALCS). Then, his .362/376/.486 September happened, and many fans fell in love with him. Should they re-sign him and have the starting outfield in 2013 be Gardner/Grandy/Ichiro though? Eh...
11. Curtis Granderson (CF)--I was tempted to put Grandy lower because he was poor on defense and his second half would have been better spent pondering where his mid-2010-mid-2012 form went over a nice glass of Maker's Mark. However, I can't just ignore the first half and the 43 homers. Fun fact: Grandy is the first Yankee outfielder with consecutive 40-homer seasons since some schmo named Mickey Mantle. Weird. Still, Grandy's horrid second half and even worse postseason (3-for-30 with 16 strikeouts) will certainly be remembered by both the front office and fans as he reaches free agency after the '13 campaign.
I'll be back with the top 10 later. Who do you think the top player will be? The order? The most confusingly-placed player? The huge manatee?