If you hop into the proverbial Wayback Machine with me, you’ll see I wrote this post a little over two years ago about the 2010 version of the team. As we’re on the edge of the season, let’s take a look at the current incarnation of the Yankees and see what makes each one of them valuable.
Russell Martin: Martin brings two main things to the table. He’s a good hitter for his position and he’s a top-notch defender. That’s just about all you could ask from a catcher. As a bonus, he’s reputed to handle pitching staffs very well and by all accounts, pitchers love throwing to him. Talk of an extension for Martin has been bandied about this offseason, and not without good reason.
Mark Teixeira: He’s essentially the perfect combination of offense and defense for a first baseman. I feel like at least once a week, we marvel at some ridiculous scoop or diving stop made by Tex. And, of course, he’s got all the power in the world. Though we do get plenty frustrated when Tex pops one up or hits it into the shift. Still, there aren’t many better than him.
Robinson Cano: Pretty much everything. Moving on.
Alex Rodriguez: This is something I don’t usually talk about, but I’m going to go with something intangible here. Regardless of his health or whether or not he’s on a hot streak or a cold streak, I just feel better when Alex Rodriguez is in the lineup.
Derek Jeter: While Jeter’s best days at the plate are certainly behind him, he’s still more than adequate as an offensive shortstop. While he’s unlikely to improve in terms of fielding, he’s still going to be in the black in terms of value to the Yankees.
Brett Gardner: Defense, defense, defense. The left-field position is definitely not based on defense, and that certainly helps Gardner accrue value on the other side of the ball. What is worth noting, though, is that left field at Yankee Stadium certainly isn’t your average left field. It’s a huge space and Gardner covers it nimbly and ably.
Curtis Granderson: LiK. Martin and Jeter, Granderson provides premium offense at an up the middle position. But unlike them, Granderson is most definitely a good hitter overall, and not just for his position. He walks. He hits for power. He steals. He’s the complete offensive package.
Nick Swisher: He’s like a mini-Teixeira. While he’s not necessarily an elite level hitter or fielder, Swisher’s well above average at both. He has supreme on base skills, a powerful bat, and a more-than-competent glove. He’s pretty much perfect for this team.
Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones: Platoon splits are valuable, and both of these guys are good at hitting their opposite-handed counterparts. Believe it or not, Ibanez was average against RHP in 2011. Jones, as you know, hammered LHP. An added bonus with Jones is that he can actually play the OF corners pretty well.
Tune in at a later date for pitchers.