Celebrating A Great 2012 Season – Yankees Lose ALCS

The New York Yankees will not advance to the 2012 World Series. While this sucks, I think we should celebrate what the Yankees did this season.

The 2012 New York Yankees overcame a ton of adversity just to get as far as they did. According to Jeff Zimmerman over at Fangraphs, the New York Yankees lost the most player-days to the disabled list in the American League in 2012. Michael Pineda, Brett Gardner, Mariano Rivera and Pedro Feliciano all missed essentially the entire season. Austin Romine’s spring training back injury sidelined him for most of the year, forcing the Yankees to trade a valuable arm for Chris Stewart. Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte spend considerable amounts of time on the disabled list. Even CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and David Robertson missed time.

But unlike the 2nd and 3rd most injured American League teams – the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays – the Yankees didn’t let up. Without making a single major trade (Ichiro doesn’t count), the players that remained persevered and won a very competitive AL East.

Robinson Cano is the big hero among the hitters. Cano led an offense that saw every other non-Jeterarian hitter underperform expectations yet still score 804 runs – just 4 runs behind Texas (and their home ballpark) for the MLB lead. They were supported off the bench by Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez.

And despite all the home runs and injuries, Yankee pitchers weren’t half bad. They were 4th best in the AL in runs allowed, just behind the Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field. Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia probably the  best Yankee starting pitching staff since 2003, and Rafael Soriano and David Robertson led one of the better bullpens. Had the team not lost almost 1400 days to injured pitchers on the disabled list, the could possibly have challenged Tampa Bay for the best defense in the league.

Because of the way the playoffs ended, we’re going to be tempted to remember the 2012 New York Yankees with a lot of negativity, but we shouldn’t. Out of 30 MLB teams, the Yankees made it 4th farthest. That’s an accomplishment. The playoffs are a crapshoot, and the team’s hitters hit a slump at precisely the wrong time. But if you told me at the beginning of every season that my baseball team would win 95 games, the division, and make the ALCS, I’d take that every time over an unknown outcome.

This doesn’t mean the Yankees should sit on their success. The Yankees can definitely be improved, and Brian Cashman has work to do to keep his team of players rapidly exiting their prime years going. But take a look at the 2012 Boston Red Sox next time you want to see what a failure really looks like. The 2012 New York Yankees were no failures.

About EJ Fagan

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

22 thoughts on “Celebrating A Great 2012 Season – Yankees Lose ALCS

  1. The Yankees won the most games in the AL…Carl Yazstremski won the batting title in 1968 w a .301 batting average…but I would call neither…..GREAT.

    My beloved Yankees started off 21-21 but had a monster June. Nothing philosophical about that. Starting at that July date when they were 10 games up, they proceeded to play .500 ball for 2 months…then they closed strong. They averaged about 2 runs a game in the playoffs.

    So perception is everything…if you perceive that as good…I say whatever. I think it was a season of mediocrity. It looked good compared to the rest of the league. I see something different. I see a franchise record for homers w only 804 runs scored.

    I saw a lot of 1 run losses in games w no hit w RISP….I guess we see what we seek to see. Some saw Grandy’s 43 homers, some saw his strikeouts. Very few of us saw both.

    • In 1968 the AL, as a league, hit .230/.297/.339. for and OPS of .636.

      Yastrzemski hit .301/.426/.495 for an OPS of .921 and an OPS+ of 171. That’s really good in any year and for a year in which pitching dominated it was great.

  2. Great post. I was somewhat disappointed with how they finished. Not so much that they lost the ALCS, but the fact they could barely get a hit.

    Now that it is the offseason for the Yankees I think their first priority is resigning Kurodo, Pettitte and Ichiro, all on 1 year deals. Then they can focus on improving the middle of their line-up.

  3. Yeah, the playoffs were disappointing (again) but you have to recognize what the team overcame to achieve the best record in the league and hold off the Orioles for the division title.

    I’m sure there will be changes, some of them painful, but let’s hope the organization uses this opportunity to start building again for another championship.

  4. I’m really not into the participation trophy of “just making it.”

    That being said, this hasn’t been a particularly fun team to watch play for a few months, and in some ways, its a relief that its finally over.

    • Amen, Matt. This group was very frustrating for me. Not because they didn’t do great things, rather the lack of little things. I didn’t enjoy watching them as much as previous teams, and haven’t been this disgusted with the organization since 05. Apparently I’m not alone, the stadium got ugly on this group in the 2 ALCS home games, and tickets were selling for half of face on Stubhub. Prices are a good barometer for how much fans like/dislike a group, and this team gets very low grades.

  5. So a “glas just to be there” moment? I don’t think so. Nice analysis; here’s a more straight to point one: Yankees Suck! And this time, plenty to back that chant up. That’s gotta be one of the worst ALCS performances by any team, let alone one with the hightest payroll in the league.

    Don’t kid yourself Fagan. There was talk of this team hitting it on all cyllanders and finishing strong in the final series of the year (should have considered it was against your failure red sox), and primed to go all the way. This doesn’t look like a team that overcame adversity in a great season and will come back stronger/better for it next year.

    Don’t kid yourself, they failed/choked big time and find themselves in the same boat as the 2012 Red Sox. Don’t look for the Dogers or Marlins to bail them out.

    Now Baltimore…there’s a team that we should be talking about, and it’s sad they had their own choke against a even bigger choker.

  6. The 2012 Yankees were the 1992 Yankees with better pitching (3.86 ERA vs. the ’92 team’s 4.21) and alot more homeruns (245 vs. the ’92 team’s 163.)

    The 2012 Yankees collected the same amount of hits as and only one more double than the ’92 Yanks. They posted the third worst BA, the worst OBP, the third worst runs per game, and the third worst runs total (tied with the ’01 Yanks) since ’92. Only the ’08 Yanks had a worse BA, runs per game, and runs total, and we saw what happened to them. So it is no surprise to me that this team coaxed six more wins than the ’08 Yanks to squeak by with the division title (which finishing two games ahead of the Os is doing when you were up by five times that in mid-July) to be able to barely beat a reenergized franchise before being mauled by the Tigers for the third time in six years, with A-Rod in the eye of the storm a second time.

    The 2012 Yankees had the oldest average age per player, the most strikeouts by a Yankees team, and the second worst triples total in team history.

    The 2012 Yankees were so bad scoring without the homerun, they scored only 71 runs more than the ’92 team despite hitting 82 more homeruns. This means the ’92 team scored without the homerun more than the 2012 team (2012: 804 R – 245 HR = 559 R without the HR – men on base for HRs vs. the ’92 team’s 733 R – 163 HR = 570 R without the HR – men on base for HRs. PATHETIC.

    The ONLY reasons this team didn’t finish 76-86 like the ’92 team did was their 1-2 punch of Sabathia and Kuroda (or vice versa if you want to say Kuroda was the ace.) Take away these two and they finish 76-86 or worse.

    I propose this all-homegrown 2013 Yankees starting nine:

    C – Dioner Navarro (re-sign him for two years at his 2012 salary)
    1B – Jesus Montero (reacquire him, trade Teixiera for prospects)
    2B – Cano (cross the bridge called 2014 when you get to it)
    3B – Nunez (trade A-Rod to the Marlins for Heath Bell)
    SS – Jeter (see Cano)
    LF – Melky Cabrera (re-sign him for two years at $12M a year)
    CF – Gardner (trade Granderson for prospects)
    RF – Juan Rivera (re-sign him for $3.5M so he makes $4M, the same total he’d make if the Dodgers picked up his $4M club option for 2013)
    DH – Alfonso Soriano (reacquire him after A-Rod is traded)

    I want Stewart and Nix re-signed for backup catcher and 2B/SS respectively, Kevin Youkilis signed for super-backup 1B/3B who could get a hearty helping of DH, and Shane Victorino acquired via trade or signed if he’s a free agent for fourth outfielder and someone who could take over CF or RF if Gardner or Rivera don’t get the job done with the bat.

    Rotation: Sabathia/Kuroda/Pettitte/Hughes/Nova, Phelps, Warren, Pineda, or Chien Mien Wang re-signed to a minor league contract

    Bullpen assuming Soriano opts out: Rivera re-signed, Robertson, Heath Bell, Logan, Rapada re-signed, Chamberlain, and Aardsma (replace the lesser of the last two listed in spring training if Soriano doesn’t opt out)

  7. What a complete load of crap. “The Yankees had the second-worst BA in the history of the ALCS (.157), second only to the 1969 Twins (.155) so let’s just sing Kumbaya and celebrate the watercolor memories.”

    The Yankees in 2012 could not advance to the Series because their entire offensive strategy is to hit lots of HRs against weak teams. They set the all-time baseball record this season for fewest Sac Bunts ever by a team in one year. Other AL teams don’t even bother to defend the bunt anymore against the Yankees, which is why they also had the lowest team ground-balls-for-hits average in the majors this season.

    It starts with a competent GM and a competent manager. The Yankees have neither. Cashman has literally wasted more money on shit pitching than any other three GMs in baseball history combined. His entire record in signing players is a train wreck. Girardi is simply the worst manager ever in the history of the game.

    If the Steinbrenners want a team that can win in all, and compete against good pitching, they need to fire Cashman and Girardi, and start building a team with a three-dimensional offense. Two years in a row now we have seen where the season ends with “a clout or an out” as the entire offensive plan.

  8. God people who follow the Yankees as a whole are the worst collection of “fans” in any sport. Each comment here reads more self entitled and whinny than the next, it’s embarresing to be honest. Learn some grace and dignity.

    Good write up EJ.

    • Well, Chris, do you think anyone on this site believes your nose is not up someones ass? I love it when someone criticizes you for being critical. Why don’t you get angry at people who get angry…or beat up people who beat people up….hypocrite.

      • No ones criticizing anyone for being “critical”, it’s annoyance at childish and irrational whining. The Yankees aren’t entitled to win the Series every year, the amount irrational venom following being bested by a better team is utterly stupid. Grow up, praise the other team, and think of rational discussion on how to get better. It’s called losing with grace and dignity.

        • I praised the Detroit fans that I watched the game with. I then went to a blog for the Tigers and congratulated them….then I went to this site and told the guy who wrote that the Yanks had a great season that I suppose it was a matter of perception. Maybe your comments were directed at me and maybe not. But i’m glad you’re around to dictate how long the praising of the team has to last before I vent. Of course the Yanks can’t win it all every year…I just wanted them to do anything other than what they did with bases loaded.

  9. nah. the Yankees offense completely imploded in the post-season and there’s no papering over that and celebrating how well the team fared in the first 162 games.

    when the hitters that didn’t look utterly lost are restricted to Jeter, Ichiro and Ibanez —- all superannuated— and Nunez, not yet a dependable fielder— there are major problems.

    Swisher, Rodriguez and possibly Granderson played their way off the team.

  10. Quite simple: This is one of the most embarrasing post-season endings in many years….I do not think there is SOMETHING to celebrate. One Tiger´s player -Delmon Young- proved to be a better offensive weapon that the whole Yankee team…Come on, you are delusional…

    “A great Yankee Season” -not just good, or very good, but GREAT- should always mean winning it all…

  11. Highpoints: Surviving 10-game lead collapse and avoiding another historic choke as in 2004. Girardi “going with his gut” for a change and benching the post-season non-performers. Ibanez heroics. Beating up on “The Dancing Fool” Valverde. Red Sox season. Jeter season. Lowpoints: Injuries. Way too many strikeouts, regardless of how many HRs. Horrible with RISP. Worst post-season hitting since 1963 World Series, without excuse of facing top pitchers other than Verlander. Hopes: Jeter in left, Gardner in center, Ichiro in right, bye-bye to WhiffenPoofers Granderson and Swisher. Maybe Pineda finally pitches. Rivera and Pettitte return. A catcher who can hit. Unsure about ARod. If post-season hitting woes were due to wrist injury, give him another chance, If not, unload him if someone wants to pick up a large enough chunk of his pay.

    • Surviving a 10 game lead collapse is a highpoint? You’re right about Boston. Without them in the division and all the wins against them, Yankees don’t even make the post season. Typical Yankee fan, looking for highlights from other team’s downfalls and not looking in the mirror at your own. I don’t see any highpoints loser. I’m gutting this team starting with A-Rod. No team has ever won with a 39 year old SS. Jeter needs to graciously bow out too.

    • Gitardi “going with his gut?”


      Gitardi doesn’t take a shit without looking in his white binders to see which paper to use on his ass.

      And Jeter doesn’t need to “bow out.” When you lead the entire league in hits, it’s not retirement time, doofus. He should move over to 3B like Cal Ripkin did.

  12. One does highlights where in a season that could have been MUCH WORSE than it was (e.g., completing the choke of the 10-game lead and finishing as a wild card or worse, unprecedented in Yankee history). While the goal is always a pennant, and the World Series a bonus, it is seldom achieved, and avoiding more ignonminious history is a “WHEW” highlight, especially after 2004. And just as a Red Sox fan enjoys Yankee troubles, a Yankee fan enjoys Red Sox troubles. They are (bitter) rivals.