So the baseball season is over. The St Louis Cardinals who performed very well in the Series are the champions and probably deservedly so. It still sticks in my gut a little that the eventual winners only made the playoffs as the wild card but with the wildcard system likely to expand in 2013, me complaining about that is about as meaningful as a National League fan complaining about the Designated Hitter rule – so I shall make no more noise in that regard. The system allows for that possibility and it has happened. C’est la vie.
It remains only for me to summarise the way that the Yankees performed in their small part in that playoff system – which they entered as the American League team with the best winning record but exited in the first round (careful, Darren, careful) and then to go through the usual nonsense of awarding my Yankees of the year awards.
Anyway, let’s begin with the October batters:
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – October|
Jorge Posada. Posada drifted out of September and I, for one, was surprised when Girardi announced that Jorge would be the everyday DH in the ALDS. I was also a little (but not much) surprised when Posada didn’t make an announcement that he would retire when the Yankees were eliminated – thereby allowing the Yanks fans to give him a rousing farewell in the manner that they saw Paul O’Neill off a few years ago. Anyway, whether Posada will now retire or whether he will seek a DH role at another club remains to be explored but what is of no question is how well he did in these last 5 games of the season. He led the team in batting average and on-base average and came in second in slugging. Hitting a triple at this point of his career is no mean feat and if these games are his final ones in the Majors, he has gone out in a worthy way after a fine career.
Brett Gardner. Gardner was another who ended the regular looking jaded and gave little sign that we should expect much of him in the playoffs. Like Posada, he came up trumps in the important moments and kept us in it right down to the wire. Surprisingly, he had no stolen bases to contribute but the .412 BA was very presentable.
Robinson Cano. Cano was by some considerable distance the Yankees most consistent performer from April to October and if the MVP should come from the Yankees camp (which I don’t think it will) then Cano would edge out Granderson. He hit over three hundred in October and twice hit the ball out of the park for a four-bagger. Cano has aligned himself with Scott Boras for future contract shenanigans but that blot aside, the Yankees should do all they can to make him a career Pinstriper.
Curtis Granderson. Granderson was some distance behind the three above-named in offensive performances but his defensive work nudges him into this category one more time. He also contributed a double, a triple and a homer in a series when we were a little light on extra-base hits.
Alex Rodriguez. The 2010 playoffs ended (for the Yankees) with A-Rod striking out, it was no surprise that the 2011 season drew to a close in a similar manner. Quite simply Rodriguez was atrocious at the plate and only has some half-decent work in the field to commend him. It’s interesting to wonder what the Yankees might be considering if he didn’t have that unmovable contract attached to him. His .111 batting average with no power is simply proof that unless there is some major moments from him in Spring Training next year, he should be removed from that clean-up slot and hid much further down the lineup card.
Mark Teixeira. Mark was not a lot different in the playoffs than he had been all season long. His defensive work was great but his offensive work left something to be desired. Where there was a change was the lack of home runs in the play offs and a further slight decline in batting average.
Nick Swisher. Swisher added one of the four homeruns that the Yankees hit in the playoffs but otherwise there was not much to report. The Yankees are rumoured to be likely to pick up his $10 million plus option which is not surprising either.
Russell Martin. Russell Martin is another that is very likely to be back in the Bronx in 2012 and I am the only one who seems to wonder why. We can’t put it down to Cervelli’s latest struggles with concussion because the decision seemed to have been made before that became an issue. We can’t put it down to his ability with the bat. In the playoffs as in the bulk of the regular season, there were few signs of life. He is a great battery partner and strong defensively but being a major league catcher on the Yankees usually requires more than that if we are going to win. Ask Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada………..
Derek Jeter. Jeter was very quiet at the plate in the playoffs. Not bad, not great, just quiet. He needed a big finish to finally silence all those doubters who shouted so loud before the All-Star break. It didn’t come and we must wait and see which version of the Captain turns up in 2012.
Andruw Jones. Jones performances in August and early-September meant that he deserved a chance to add some oomph when the bats weren’t delivering the runs in the playoffs. In the end, he was given the chance to deliver one sacrifice fly (which he took) but no other bats. That might be a missed opportunity.
Jesus Montero. When Girardi notified Posada that he would be DH in all 5 games, there seemed to be little left to offer Montero. Jesus doesn’t look Major League ready behind the plate and short of Martin getting injured, he wasn’t going to be majorly used with the tools of ignorance. Somehow or other, he got two at-bats, and delivered up two hits and one RBI. There’s a lot to like about this young man whatever the downside.