Well, that was fun…But not really. I know I sound like a bitter, spoiled brat, but watching the New York Yankees get swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS was about as fun as attending a funeral. Never happy to be here, never happy to see you. And now it’s over. At least until February.
So instead of crying in my beer, why not take a look back at the 2012 season, and at the very least, give it a nice once over before closing the book on it for good.
Best Moment: The Raul Ibanez Show
Without a doubt, Raul Ibanez’s two home runs in Game 3 of the ALDS was the highlight of the season. Many Yankees players have gone up and bopped a game tying or game winning home run, but rarely has it happened by the same guy. And in the playoffs? Wow. Just wow. He earned his way into the Aaron Boone hall of Yankees folklore. Good for him.
Runner-up: Yankees score 15 unanswered runs against the Boston Red Sox after trailing 9-1 in the 7th
Worst Moment: Mo Goes Down for the Season
I was in my kitchen listening to John Sterling bumble his way through the pregame and discuss a possible strain to Mariano Rivera‘s leg during batting practice. Thinking Sterling had finally succumbed to his own babbling idiocy, I went to the TV to see what was happening. It was like watching someone beat my dog with an umbrella. Horrible.
Runner-Up: Derek Jeter‘s broken ankle
MVP: Robinson Cano
Postseason woes aside, Robbie turned in another fantastic season (.313/.379/.550; 161 GP, 33 HR, 94 RBI). I doubt many people would argue with me when I say Cano is the best all-around second baseman in baseball. Let’s hope he comes back in 2013 out to prove naysayers who question his attitude (me) wrong.
Runners Up: Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, Derek Jeter
LVP: Ivan Nova
I honestly thought Nova would take the leap this year and become a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. He was flat-out nasty down the stretch last season, pitching like a veteran, with presence on the mound, fastball command, and an attitude that he belonged where he was. But this year, jeez, what a difference. Although he started out nicely, the wheels came off rather quickly, and last year’s Game 5 starter of the ALDS didn’t even make the postseason rotation.
Runner Up: Andruw Jones, Alex Rodriguez
Best Mid-season Move: Trading for Ichiro Suzuki
Not only did Ichiro prove he still has some gas left in the tank, you could make a case that he helped the Yankees avoid a total collapse in August and September. Over those two months, Ichiro hit .322 with 4 home runs, 12 doubles, and stole 11 bases. He also may have earned himself a return trip to the Bronx for one more season.
Runner Up: Staying put with starting pitching
Worst Mid-Season Move: None
Rookie of the Year: David Phelps
Hands down, it’s Phelps. He showed poise and the ability to deal when he needed to work out of a jam. Out of the flock of AAAA pitchers the Yankees recently harvested, Phelps was the one I heard the least about. But now I’m excited to see him continue to progress and hope he can stick in the rotation in 2013.
Why Was He Called Up Again?: Adam Warren
Warren will probably see the bigs again, but after his one spot-start this season – 2.1 IP, 6 ER – let’s hope he’s a little more seasoned.
Runner Up: Ryota Igarashi
Most Exciting Organizational Development: Gary Sanchez Continues to Impress
It wasn’t too long ago (eh, nine months I guess?) that the Yankees #1 prospect was a power-hitting catcher. Well, it doesn’t seem like there will be a huge gap in that category–nineteen-year-old Gary Sanchez did some serious damage across two levels of A-ball this season (.290/.344/.485, along with 29 2B’s, 18 HR’s and 15 SB’s). If he keeps up this trend, expect to see him sometime in early 2014.
Runners-up: OF Tyler Austin
Biggest Organizational Disappointment: Manny Banuelos has Tommy John Surgery
The Yankees don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to developing starting pitchers, but Manny Banuelos was supposed to break the mold and start a new trend. He looked sharp in Spring Training in 2011 and in 2012, and it seemed like only a matter of time before the Yankees had no choice but to give the young left-hander a shot at big league hitters. Well, it won’t be happening any time soon, with Banuelos down for most of this season and all of next season while he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Another ‘could have been’? I hope not.
Runner Up: Michael Pineda’s velocity disappears, tears labrum
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