The MLB All-Star Game is tonight which means, at the season’s symbolic halfway mark, it’s time to hand out some grades for the 2022 Yankees. With a league best 64-28 record, and a 13-game lead in the AL East, overall things have been pretty good for the Bronx Bombers. However, there are still holes to be filled at the trade deadline and current players who have underperformed despite the team’s success. Before we get started, keep in mind that I am a Yankee fan, so my views may be slightly biased, and, of course, these grades are all unscientific.
Season Stats: N/A
The often-(deservedly)-maligned Boone has pushed the right buttons much more times than not this year regarding lineups, substitutions, and pitching changes. He has also struck the right tone with the media (something he did not do last year), and has even had a few notable ejections when standing up for his guys. Is he the best manager in baseball? No, but he’s well on his way to his fifth postseason appearance in as many years as the Yankees’ leader.
The Coaching Staff
Season Stats: N/A
As the Manager, Aaron Boone has to get a slightly higher grade, but the rest of the coaching staff has been fantastic for the Yankees this year. The organization has improved in all facets after last year’s disappointing season, most notably on defense and on the basepaths (their 63 stolen bases rank third in MLB, and match their team total from all of 2021). Carlos Mendoza (Bench Coach), Dillon Lawson (Hitting Coach), Luis Rojas (Third Base Coach), and Mike Harkey (Bullpen Coach) have all played an integral role in the team’s hot start. However, Pitching Coach Matt Blake has been the staff’s standout as he continues to work wonders with the team’s starters and bullpen arms. Credit him for turning Nestor Cortes (36th-Round Pick in 2013) and Clay Holmes (Career 5.57 ERA before coming to New York) into All-Stars this season.
Season Stats: N/A
I was among the many Yankees fans who questioned Cashman when he traded Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt (who has yet to play for the Yankees this year due to injury). I worried about settling for a stopgap at Shortstop, rather than pursuing one of the big names on the market, and moving a fan-favorite in Urshela. I also had concerns about bringing back Anthony Rizzo rather than “upgrading” at First Base with Freddie Freeman or Matt Olson. I eventually came around to the preseason conclusion that the team is still “good” but not “great.” Their dominance so far this year proves why Brian Cashman has been the team’s General Manager since 1998… and why I’m writing this article for free. That wasn’t the only smart move that Cashman made this offseason, as he traded Albret Abreu for Jose Trevino (the latter is an All Star, the former is already back with the Yankees). He also signed Matt Carpenter when anybody in the league could have had him, and last year’s Clay Holmes trade looks like even more of a robbery. As always, the biggest test for Cashman will come as the trade deadline approaches. Despite sitting atop the standings, the Yankees still have needs. Expect them to add an Outfielder, multiple bullpen arms, and potentially another Starter.
Season Stats: N/A
It’s tough to give the Hal Steinbrenner-led Ownership group a grade so far for the 2022 season. Their decision to not open the checkbook for a major star in the past offseason hasn’t come back to bite them yet, but they can’t be graded until this season concludes. In New York it’s simple, they’ll get an “A+” with a World Series win, and an “F” for anything short of that. The big questions for Steinbrenner will be if he is willing to destroy the farm system in order to acquire Juan Soto from the Nationals (and then pay him… also, I’m in favor of it), and if he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Aaron Judge (I thought the Yankees’ initial offer was fair, but Judge has obviously earned himself even more money this season).
Done for the Year
Season Stats: 14 Games, 3.00 ERA, 1-1 Record, 1 Save, 15.0 IP, 16 Strikeouts
The 31-year-old pitched what was likely his last game for the Yankees on May 19. Green underwent Tommy John Surgery and will head to free agency once the 2022 season concludes. He was off to a solid start this season, and should be remembered as a key member of this latest Yankees-era (his 290 appearances, including 18 in the Postseason, rank second among Yankees pitchers since his debut in 2016).
Season Stats: 4 Games, 2.16 ERA, 1 Save, 8.1 IP, 8 Strikeouts
The former elite Yankees’ prospect who had his career essentially derailed by injury finally debuting for the team in 2022 was certainly a feel-good story. He made four appearances (all in games the Yankees were either blowing a team out, or getting blown out) and didn’t look great despite the low ERA. Regardless, we’ll always have his nine-out save in the Yankees’ 18-4 win over the Cubs. Bañuelos now pitches for the Pirates after the Yankees traded him for cash considerations.
Season Stats: 1 Start, 9.00 ERA, 4.0 IP, 5 Strikeouts
Gil, one of the Yankees’ top prospects, had six great starts in 2021. He seemed like a real asset for the 2022 team, but unfortunately pitched in just one game. Gil injured his elbow during a start in Triple-A and had to get Tommy John Surgery. He was a prime candidate to make spot starts for the Yankees this year, and potentially enter the rotation in 2023. Now, with a long road to recovery ahead of him, the future is murky for the 24-year-old.
Season Stats: 2 Games, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 1 Strikeout
McKay became noteworthy earlier this year when the Yankees acquired him from the Rays for $1 (not a joke). He pitched two meaningless innings for the Yankees this season before being sent back to Tampa Bay (for an unknown sum of cash this time). He is now on the Athletics’ roster.
Can’t Be Graded
Season Stats: 14 Games, .245/.269/.286, 4 RBIs, 2 Doubles, 3 Stolen Bases
Andújar’s career has unfortunately fallen far from the heights he hit in his rookie season. In that special 2018 season, Andújar slashed .297/.328/.527 with 27 Home Runs, 92 RBIs, and 47 Doubles as he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Shohei Ohtani. Since then, injuries and managerial decisions have limited the 27-year-old to just 92 total games in pinstripes. He looked solid in his 52 Plate Appearances this season, but was sent back down to Triple-A following a brief stint back in the Majors, which prompted him to request a trade. He’s been impressive in Triple-A, but doesn’t seem to be a part of the franchises’ long term plans, so he’s a name to watch as the trade deadline approaches.
Season Stats: 17 Games, .300/.364/.600, 2 Home Runs, 4 RBIs, 6 Stolen Bases
The 30-year-old hit a rare Home Run on Sunday in the Yankees’ last game before the All-Star break, but the key stat was that he was two-for-two on Stolen Base Attempts. With his elite speed (even after tearing his ACL last year), Locastro seems like a lock to make the Postseason roster as a high-level pinch runner (even if he spends a majority of the rest of the Regular Season in Triple-A).
Season Stats: 3 Games, 1.17 ERA, 1 Save, 7.2 IP, 2 Strikeouts
He’s pitched in just three games, but Weber has looked solid as a bullpen depth option. If he keeps this up, he’ll either be eligible for a grade if I do another report card after the season, or he’ll get picked up for another team the next time the Yankees DFA him.
Season Stats: 4 Games, .000/.083/.000, 1 Stolen Base
The 24-year-old has only played in 16 games over the last three seasons. The Yankees have a serious decision to make as Florial’s value is probably at an all-time high (slashing .300/.383/.523 in Triple-A). He either needs to be promoted to finally get consistent at bats in the Majors, or should be the centerpiece of a trade for an established player.
Season Stats: 1 Game, .333/.333/.667, 1 Double
In his one game with the 2022 Yankees, Brantly memorably (at least to me) broke up Michael Kopech’s perfect game bid with a double in the 6th inning.
Season Stats: 63 Games, .251/.299/.415, 7 Home Runs, 27 RBIs, 5 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 Stolen Bases, 3 Errors
Trevino has to be the most surprising All-Star in recent-Yankee history. He was brought into the fold right before the season began as it became clear that Ben Rortvedt wasn’t going to be healthy enough to back up Kyle Higashioka on Opening Day. The 29-year-old has lived up to his reputation as an elite pitch-framer (he’s been one of the best defensive catchers in baseball this season and is beloved by the pitching staff), but he’s also been strong offensively. He has come up clutch at the plate multiple times, and wrestled the starting Catcher job away from Kyle Higashioka.
Season Stats: 48 Games, .174/.228/.318, 5 Home Runs, 15 RBIs, 4 Doubles, 2 Errors
After a strong showing in Spring Training, Higashioka seemed set to finally step in as the Yankees’ primary catcher. That wasn’t the case, however, as he’s struggled offensively and is not on the same level as Jose Trevino on defense. He’s just meant to be a backup, which is fine.
Season Stats: 85 Games, .224/.343/.498, 22 Home Runs, 57 RBIs, 15 Doubles, 1 Triple, 6 Stolen Bases, 4 Errors
On the field, Rizzo has been fantastic. He’s on pace for a career high in Home Runs and is still one of the best defensive First Basemen in baseball. However, his biggest impact on the 2022 Yankees has been in the clubhouse. The 32-year-old is seemingly the co-leader, alongside Aaron Judge, of a team with a great record, and even greater chemistry.
Season Stats: 81 Games, .268/.325/.484, 14 Home Runs, 41 RBIs, 18 Doubles, 1 Triple, 5 Stolen Bases, 5 Errors
In 2021 and the abbreviated 2020 season combined, Torres hit just 12 Home Runs. So far in 2022, he is already at 14 and looks to be much closer to the player who burst onto the scene with 62 Home Runs in his first two seasons. Playing at Second Base again, Torres looks much more comfortable on defense, and is rounding into a really good all-around player. He should have been an All-Star this year, and is arguably the Yankees’ biggest X-Factor if they want to make a deep Postseason run.
Season Stats: 82 Games, .271/.318/.325, 27 RBIs, 15 Doubles, 13 Stolen Bases, 11 Errors
We knew coming into this season, with the Yankees’ plethora of Shortstop talent in the Minors, Kiner-Falefa was simply a one-year stopgap. However, that is a tough role to fill when you are playing Shortstop for the New York Yankees. On offense, Kiner-Falefa has been solid despite the fact that his 280 At Bats are the third most among players without a Home Run. It’s weird that he hasn’t gotten one yet, but he’s just not a Home Run hitter. He’s a solid contact guy, and his 13 Steals (on 16 Attempts) have provided a nice spark. The bigger issue for “IKF” is his defense. He was sold to the fanbase as a Gold Glove Winner (he was, but it was at Third Base), so his defensive mistakes have been under extra scrutiny. Strangely, he makes the easy plays look hard, but the hard plays look easy. His 11 Errors are tied for fifth in MLB, and that is probably generous. He’ll be a player to watch as the season continues, especially with Shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza playing very well in Triple-A.
Season Stats: 72 Games, .224/.310/.390, 9 Home Runs, 35 RBIs, 16 Doubles, 2 Stolen Bases, 4 Errors
Assuming “C” is the median on this “F to A+” grading scale, that is exactly where Donaldson should land. He’s been a plus-defender, but not spectacular. He’s had a few big hits, but he’s also hit just nine Home Runs (he’s never played 100 or more games in a season and hit less than 24 Home Runs). My biggest concern (aside from his 27.3% Strikeout Rate) is that Aaron Boone can’t find the right spot for him in the lineup. He’s bounced up and down the lineup after hitting leadoff on Opening Day. Ultimately, Boone and the Yankees will have to make a big decision come playoff time regarding whether or not Donaldson is their starting Third Baseman.
Season Stats: 83 Games, .279/.383/.403, 8 Home Runs, 35 RBIs, 14 Doubles, 4 Stolen Bases, 1 Error
Rotating between First, Second, and Third Base, the 34-year-old veteran has been an extremely valuable piece of this Yankees squad. He leads the team in Walks and OBP, and remains one of clutchest hitters in the lineup. He’s also been red-hot, as his average in July was .351.
Season Stats: 89 Games, .284/.364/.618, 33 Home Runs, 70 RBIs, 14 Doubles, 8 Stolen Bases
The 30-year-old chose to bet on himself as he turned down the Yankees’ extension offer before this season. That has proven to be a wise choice as Judge is an AL MVP Favorite (FanDuel has him second, slightly behind Shohei Ohtani), the league leader in Home Runs, and the best player on the best team in baseball. He leads the Yankees in Home Runs (33), RBIs (70), Runs (74), Hits (96), Slugging, OPS, and WAR. He’s also unselfishly become the team’s primary Center Fielder (opening up Right Field for Giancarlo Stanton), and has spent a lot of time hitting leadoff. Judge’s unselfishness, leadership, and of course on-field play has made his bet a very smart, and profitable, one. He can make himself even more money by leading the Yankees to their first World Series in over a decade (and if that doesn’t happen, he can use the A+ that I gave him as a bargaining chip in the negotiations).
Season Stats: 76 Games, .237/.319/.516, 24 Home Runs, 61 RBIs, 6 Doubles, 1 Error
In his fifth year in New York, Stanton finally made his first All-Star Game with the Yankees. He’s also once again embraced playing in the Outfield. His willingness to play Right Field has provided the Yankees with the flexibility to rotate infielders in at DH in order to have the best lineup possible. He’s also, somewhat quietly, hit 24 Home Runs and continues to be the consummate pro when it comes to dealing with the New York fans and media. If it weren’t for the one slump he had after a return from the IL, Stanton would be looking at an “A” or “A+”.
Season Stats: 79 Games, .236/.361/.352, 6 Home Runs, 29 RBIs, 5 Doubles, 2 Triples, 9 Stolen Bases
After a dreadful start to the year, Aaron Hicks has really been heating up. He’s been steadily improving at the plate, but his biggest contribution so far this season is his move to Left Field. With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton becoming the primary Center and Right Fielders, respectively, Hicks has comfortably shifted over to Left Field, where he had not played since 2017. Due to the poor start, Hicks will have to settle for a “C” grade, but he is definitely trending in the right direction.
Season Stats: 75 Games, .164/.288/.342, 11 Home Runs, 23 RBIs, 4 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 Stolen Bases, 1 Error
It’s a bold statement, but Joey Gallo is approaching Jacoby Ellsbury-level when it comes to bad recent Yankees. The 28-year-old has been abysmal this season with big slump after big slump, a 38.1% Strikeout Rate, and constant struggles in big situations. The only reason he isn’t getting an “F” is because his 14.8% Walk Rate is second on the team, and I will concede that he is playing out-of-position in Right Field rather than Left. With all that being said, I don’t think Gallo is a broken player, I just don’t think he’s fit for New York. I’d be surprised if he’s still on the team come August.
Season Stats: 31 Games, .354/.469/.911, 13 Home Runs, 34 RBIs, 5 Doubles
Who would have thought that Matt Carpenter, 36-years-old and on-the-verge of retirement, would be one of the biggest stories of the 2022 MLB season. In the Yankees’ version of Linsanity, Carpenter has become a Home Run hitting Folk Hero with an iconic mustache and a resurrected power swing. In 31 games, the veteran has incredibly hit one Home Run per every 6.08 At Bats. He’s also playing in the Outfield for the first time since 2014 (where, admittedly, his defense hasn’t been great, but we’ll let it slide since he’s been put out there just to make sure his bat is in the lineup). He’ll have to cool off eventually (I think), but for now, he’s deserved a spot as an everyday starter. He makes me want to change the grading scale to the one in A Christmas Story.
Season Stats: 52 Games, .234/.301/.378, 3 Home Runs, 10 RBIs, 7 Doubles, 2 Stolen Bases
The 33-year-old has performed as advertised as a do-it-all utilityman. He’s played every position other than Pitcher, Catcher, and Center Field, and has been relatively solid at the plate. While he’s been fine, I’m not sure a solid utility player was worth bringing in considering it essentially meant putting our cheating 2017 Astros hatred in the past.
Season Stats: 19 Starts, 3.02 ERA, 9-2 Record, 113.1 IP, 147 Strikeouts
If anybody else on the roster was having the season Gerrit Cole is having, they’d at least get an “A-”. However, when you’re on a nine-year, $324 Million deal, you’re held to a higher standard. Despite a few random rocky starts, Cole has still performed like a true ace. He is second in the league in Strikeouts, and is trending towards his fifth consecutive top-five Cy Young finish. Regardless, the only thing that matters for Cole is Postseason success, as he desperately needs to make up for the disastrous performance that he had in the 2021 Wild Card Game.
Season Stats: 16 Starts, 3.45 ERA, 5-3 Record, 86.0 IP, 95 Strikeouts
The 28-year-old continues to be snakebitten by injuries. Just as he was starting to again look like the All-Star level pitcher of 2017 and 2018, Severino suffered a shoulder injury and was sent back to the IL. The injury is not considered too serious, but his timetable to return remains unclear. The injury, assuming it’s minor, could be a blessing in disguise for both the Yankees and Severino. He can get some rest before the stretch run, while the team may be pressured into acquiring one of the top starting pitchers on the trade market.
Season Stats: 17 Starts, 2.63 ERA, 7-3 Record, 95.2 IP, 99 Strikeouts
Nestor Cortes quickly ascended from loveable, funny novelty act to elite Starting Pitcher. The 27-year-old started the season on an absolute tear and pitched his way onto the All-Star team. While he has come back down to earth a little bit, there is no reason to believe that the Yankees won’t trust him to start big playoff games. Keep an eye on how he performs at home down the stretch. He sports a 1.90 ERA so far this season in eight starts at Yankee Stadium.
Season Stats: 18 Starts, 3.26 ERA, 3-2 Record, 102.0 IP, 80 Strikeouts
The big story for Montgomery this season has been the lack of run support that he gets from the Yankees’ offense. The team has just a 9-9 record in his 18 starts so far this season. Despite that, he’s still on pace for a career-best season.
Season Stats: 18 Starts, 3.86 ERA, 10-2 Record, 100.1 IP, 82 Strikeouts
He looked great on Sunday in his last start before the All-Star break, but that snapped a streak of four consecutive very shaky outings. Overall, Taillon has been the “worst” of the Yankees’ five starters, but he’s still having a strong year. However, I’m not sure how comfortable I would be with him starting games in the Postseason.
Season Stats: 41 Games, 1.31 ERA, 4-1 Record, 16 Saves, 41.1 IP, 44 Strikeouts
If it weren’t for one (relatively) bad week, Holmes would have gotten an easy “A+”. When Aroldis Chapman went on to the Injured List in late May, Holmes took over the Closer role and hasn’t looked back since. He’s allowed just six earned runs in 41.1 Innings (with four of those runs coming in one random terrible outing against the Reds on July 12), and had a streak of 31.1 straight innings without allowing any runs. He’s been arguably the best reliever in baseball.
Season Stats: 32 Games, 2.19 ERA, 6-2 Record, 1 Save, 49.1 IP, 64 Strikeouts
Michael King has quickly progressed from starter, to bullpen depth, to elite set-up man. As the Yankees’ bullpen was hit with the injury bug early in the season, King was forced to slide into the role of top set-up man. He’s excelled there as he’s stacked up 15 Holds and boasts an impressive 11.7 Strikeouts per 9 Innings. King has shown an ability to pitch multiple high-leverage innings (which will be huge come playoff time), and has a strong case as one of the bigger All-Star snubs.
Season Stats: 33 Games, 2.27 ERA, 2-2 Record, 1 Save, 35.2 IP, 29 Strikeouts
With all the talk about Clay Holmes’ dominance, Michael King’s emergence, and Aroldis Chapman’s struggles, Wandy Peralta has flown completely under-the-radar. The lefty has become one of Aaron Boone’s most trusted bullpen arms, and is having a career year. The most important stat for Peralta is that he is holding opposing lefties to a .098 Batting Average.
Season Stats: 31 Games, 3.09 ERA, 2-3 Record, 1 Save, 32.0 IP, 32 Strikeouts
Luetge’s season has been a very strange one. Honestly, with the way he started the year, I would have been surprised that he even made it to the All-Star break still on the roster. However, since June 7th, the 35-year-old has a 1.37 ERA in 14 appearances. His best showing came on July 8 against Boston as he struck out six over 3.1 scoreless innings. That is when I finally bought back in on him as a potentially trustworthy reliever.
Season Stats: 32 Games, 4.00 ERA, 5-0 Record, 27.0 IP, 30 Strikeouts
The preseason acquisition from the Mets has performed about as expected. Castro’s 4.3 Walks per 9 Innings are a bit concerning (however, he has been much higher than that in past years), but considering his role as a relatively low-leverage reliever, it won’t hurt his grade too much. Overall, he’s a solid regular season reliever who probably won’t be in the Postseason hierarchy. For now, he’s on the Injured List with a shoulder injury.
Season Stats: 14 Games (1 Start), 3.00 ERA, 4-2 Record, 24.0 IP, 21 Strikeouts
Unless the Yankees trade for another starter at the deadline, Schmidt seems like he’ll be in line to make occasional spot starts. He’s looked much more comfortable this year compared to his brief trips to the Majors in 2020 and 2021. If he can continue to provide two or three innings as a spot starter/opener/long reliever, Schmidt will have a role down the stretch.
Season Stats: 17 Games, 2.33 ERA, 1-0 Record, 19.1 IP, 23 Strikeouts
Marinaccio’s inclusion on the Opening Day roster was a bit of a surprise. However, the rookie has been successful so far in the big leagues. Over 19.1 Innings, he’s surrendered just seven hits (he’ll have to work on the 10 Walks) and five runs. He also has a strong 10.7 Strikeouts per 9 Innings. It looked like he was heading back to Triple-A (only because of injured relievers returning, not because of his play), but now he’s on the Injured List with shoulder inflammation.
Season Stats: 6 Games (2 Starts), 1.42 ERA, 3-0 Record, 19.0 IP, 14 Strikeouts
In his two starts this season, Sears has pitched 10.2 scoreless innings and allowed just six hits. He’s also had success as a multi-innings reliever. With the injuries piling up in the bullpen and fatigue potential getting to some of the starters, expect to see a lot more of JP Sears this Summer and Fall.
Season Stats: 9 Games, 0.84 ERA, 1-0 Record, 10.2 IP, 13 Strikeouts
After the Yankees traded him in the offseason, Abreu spent 11 games in early 2022 with the Rangers and Royals. Now back in the Bronx, this is the best the 26-year-old has ever looked. He’s allowed just one run over 10.2 Innings Pitched and has thrown in 13 Strikeouts. Don’t expect Abreu to play for a fourth team this season.
Season Stats: 20 Games, 7.85 ERA, 1-2 Record, 18.1 IP, 20 Strikeouts
After a breakout 2021 season, expectations were sky-high for Loáisiga coming into 2022. Unfortunately, he just didn’t look good at all right from the start. In his first 18 appearances, the 27-year-old had an ERA of 7.02. He then hit the Injured List and missed nearly two months. In his two games since returning from the IL, Loáisiga is still struggling. In 1.2 Innings, he’s allowed six hits and three runs. The Yankees will definitely need him to figure things out fast, or else they desperately need another high-end reliever.
Season Stats: 23 Games, 4.74 ERA, 0-3 Record, 9 Saves, 19.0 IP, 21 Strikeouts
Chapman started the 2022 season without allowing an earned run in his first 12 appearances (he also began the year 9/9 on save attempts). From there, however, he had a streak of five straight games allowing an earned run. Then he went to the Injured List and missed about six weeks as Clay Holmes took his job as the Yankees’ closer. Since returning from the Injured List, not only has Chapman struggled, he also doesn’t have a defined role. Holmes is the closer, Michael King is the top set-up reliever, Wandy Peralta is the best lefty reliever, while Chapman is just a big question mark. In 19 Innings Pitched, he’s allowed 16 Walks and 15 Hits, he cannot afford to be that high in both categories. He’s also lost faith in his fastball, which is a real issue because his slider has been getting crushed. Simply put, Chapman, maybe the greatest closer of his generation, cannot be trusted in a big spot right now. He’ll have the rest of the Regular Season to fix his problems, because in this form he cannot get on the mound in the Postseason.