By Dominic Lancella on June 18, 2014
It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season so far for the New York Yankees, as the bombers are currently three and a half games back in their division. They’ve had to deal with the arrival of new faces, the first season without Mariano Rivera and the last one with captain Derek Jeter. With the voting for the 2014 All-Star Team closing in less than two weeks, here are five Yanks who belong on the team.
Gardner might come as a surprise and he’s definitely borderline when it comes to All-Star consideration, but he’s a legitimate candidate. Gardner has played great this season and became especially more important to the Yankees while Carlos Beltran was hurt. He’s stolen 14 bases so far and been caught only once. There are many impressive American League outfielders this season, which might keep Gardner off the team, but he belongs there.
Filling the role of closer after Rivera’s retirement has to be one of the hardest spots to replace in any sport. Robertson has made the transition seamlessly besides missing a short time with an injury. He’s third in the AL in saves and has converted on 17 of his 19 chances. He almost averages two strikeouts per inning, and the Yankees are 19-4 in games he’s pitched in. He made his first All-Star team in 2011 and deserves to go again this year.
While Robertson made the transition of replacing Rivera, Ellsbury’s made the transition from the Boston Red Sox to New York very well. After a hot start to the season, he's slowed down a little but still has a decent .282 batting average. His 18 stolen bases rank third in the AL. Again, there’s some stiff competition in the AL outfield, but Ellsbury's played well enough that he deserves to make the cut.
Jeter making the list should surprise no one. If nothing else, Jeter belongs on the team because it’s his 20th and final season in MLB. This year would mark his 14th All-Star selection in his great career. Jeter will make the team simply because he’s Jeter, but he’s also played pretty well after only playing 17 games last year due to injury. He’s got a .275 BA and is on pace to get over 150 hits this season.
The rookie from Japan has been worth every penny. As of now Tanaka looks like he’ll be the AL’s starter for the game. He leads the league with 11 wins and leads the AL with a sparkling 1.99 ERA. He’s pitched 99.2 innings and already has 113 strikeouts. It remains to be seen whether he’ll start the game or not, but Tanaka is a lock to make the team. He’s not only an early favorite for rookie of the year, but he’s also an early Cy Young candidate.
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