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New York Yankees: Pitchers Report Card at All-Star Break

The All-Star break is here and that means it is time for the Mid-Summer Classic Report Card for the New York Yankees.  The first part of the season has been a tale of two teams.  The Yankees looked awful in April and parts of May before going on a tear that saw them enter the break with the best record in Major League Baseball.  Without further adieu, here are the grades for every Yankee:

C.C. Sabathia, LHP – Sabathia has had trouble locating his fastball and he was very hittable to begin the year.  However, Sabathia battled through and was able to begin to turn around his season before suffering a groin injury and going on the disabled list for the first time since he was with the Cleveland Indians.  Still, this hasn’t been vintage Sabathia but yet he still gives the team a chance to win every night and that can’t be overlooked.  He still leads the team in ERA (3.45) and strikeouts (105).  Grade: B-

Hiroki Kuroda, RHP – When the Yankees signed Kuroda he was overshadowed by the news of Michael Pineda being acquired for Jesus Montero.  Kuroda has become the solid number two starter the Yankees were hoping they were getting.  He has pitched to a 3.50 ERA and has given the Yankees a chance to win every night out behind Sabathia.  Grade: B

Ivan Nova, RHP – Nova was awful through May, posting a 5.60 ERA on May 30th.  However, Nova has put together seven straight starts of allowing 3 earned runs or less since his May 30th start.  His ERA has fallen from that hideous 5.60 mark to a very respectable 3.92.  He also leads the Yankees in wins with 10 and can very easily achieve 18-20 wins this season, especially if he pitches like he has been over the last month.  His awful start still drives down his grade but not by much.  Grade: B

Andy Pettitte, LHP – Andy’s return from retirement had everyone wondering where they would pitch him.  However, Michael Pineda went out for the year with a labrum injury and ineffectiveness from other starters opened up a variety of possibilities.  Pettitte pitched like the Andy of old, pitching to a 3.22 ERA and 3-3 record in 9 starts before breaking his ankle on a comebacker against the Cleveland Indians which will put him on the shelf for 6-8 weeks.  When he was on the mound it was like he never left.  Grade: B+

Phil Hughes, RHP – To say Hughes got off to an awful start would be an understatement.  Fans and media were questioning whether or not he had the stuff to survive in the Majors as a starter.  Then, something clicked.  Maybe he and Nova were visited by the pitching fairy and magic dust was sprinkled on their arms.  He still has problems with the home run, however, but has limited the damage by mostly making them solo homers.  It will be interesting to see which version of Hughes the Yankees get, the one who won 18 games two years ago or the one who plays Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Grade: C+

David Phelps, RHP – Phelps has been a surprise for the Yankees and has also been a bit of a jack of all trades.  He has only appeared in 15 games but 3 of those have been starts.  His 3.05 ERA is superb and he has given the Yankees everything they have asked of him. They demoted him to the minors to start to stretch out his arm so he can take a place in the rotation where the Yankees think he belongs.  Even though he has only appeared in 15 games it is hard to argue with the results.  Grade: A

Freddy Garcia, RHP – Garcia started the year in the rotation and pitched so poorly that he was demoted to the bullpen after posting a 12.51 ERA to start the year.  He pitched much better in relief and the Yankees transferred him back to the rotation after injuries to Sabathia and Pettitte.  He has since allowed only 3 earned runs in 12 innings as a starter over two starts and looks more like the Freddy from last year than from April of this year.  His ERA has come down from 12.51 to 5.23 and he has strengthened the back end of the rotation.  His grade would have been higher had he not had the awful start.  Grade: C-

Boone Logan LHP; Cody Eppley, RHP; Clay Rapada, LHP; Cory Wade, RHP – This core of middle relievers has been something of a revelation.  Logan is having what might be his best season to date.  Eppley, who was acquired off of waivers from the Texas Rangers, is death to right-handed batters as Rapada has been death of lefties.  Wade has not enjoyed the repeat success of last year but has really only had a terrible month.  Prior to that, Wade was providing innings out of the bullpen.  His numbers are awful to look at but they are only because of six bad outings.  Before that, he had a 2.63 ERA.  A little rest might do him some good.  Overall this group gets high marks.  Grade: B+

David Robertson, RHP – After Mariano Rivera went down for the season with an ACL injury the Yankees used Robertson as their closer.  However, Robertson had health issues of his own.  Robertson is healthy now and his 14.59 strikeout per nine innings ratio is evidence he hasn’t lost anything.  He is probably the best middle reliever in the game.  Grade: A

Rafael Soriano, RHP – He has stepped into the closer’s role and has taken over for Mariano Rivera without so much as a hiccup.  He has saved 20 games in 21 chances and has posted a 1.60 ERA.  The Yankees are looking like geniuses for signing him now and nobody is complaining about his inflated contract.  He might be on his way to being the MVP for the Yankees this season.  Grade: A+

Those not receiving grades due to limited appearances: Adam Warren, RHP; Chad Qualls, RHP; D.J. Mitchell, RHP; Ryota Igarashi, RHP; Mariano Rivera, RHP.

 

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