Yankees 2015 midseason grades

With the first half in the books and the second half just ahead, Wallace Matthews hands out his midseason report card for the New York Yankees.


GM Brian Cashman

Blame him for Stephen Drew, credit him for Chasen Shreve. Blame him for Chase Headley, credit him for Andrew Miller. The CC Sabathia deal might not look very good anymore, but nobody's complaining about Mark Teixeira this season. And the deal Cashman gave Brett Gardner a year ago is now looking like a steal. Plus, Dellin Betances, Rob Refsnyder and, at some point, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino all came out of the farm system on his watch.

Manager Joe Girardi

He can drive you crazy with his news conference evasions and justifications -- and his sometimes knee-jerk pitching and pinch-hitter changes -- but you can't deny he's in the game at all times and does a superior job of managing his bullpen and keeping his aging roster rested. He's no Joe Maddon when it comes to personality, but who is?


Michael Pineda

Except for a brief drop-off following his 16-strikeout game against the Orioles, Big Mike has been nasty all season. One of the league's premier starters.

Adam Warren

Caught in a numbers squeeze, the Yankees' second-most reliable starter, behind Pineda, gets relegated to the purgatory of middle relief once again. Great attitude but has got to run out of patience at some point.

Masahiro Tanaka

The good news is he's apparently healthy enough to pitch. But by now, it's becoming clear that while a very good pitcher, Tanaka is not the lights-out ace he was expected to be by many. Still a solid No. 2/3 starter.

Nathan Eovaldi

An every-five-days puzzle. Great fastball, few strikeouts, too many pitches and way too many hits. Has nine wins because of incredible run support (7-plus per game), but his WHIP, BAA, hits and home runs allowed are even worse than Sabathia's. The Yankees might eventually reap the benefits of Evo's potential. Or they might not.

CC Sabathia

Despite Girardi's efforts to convince you CC is pitching better than his numbers, this once-great lefty is among the AL's worst in ERA, WHIP, hits and home runs allowed. The decline has not been pretty, and the end is still two seasons away.

Chris Capuano

Caught a tough break with quad injury in spring training and has done OK as a long man, but that's not what the Yankees signed him for. A poor investment at $5 million.

Ivan Nova

Has looked pretty good since returning from Tommy John surgery but four starts is not enough to make a fair evaluation.


Dellin Betances

The Big Nasty, in his second season, is still one of the toughest pitchers in baseball to hit and one of the easiest to strike out against. Nobody likes facing him.

Andrew Miller

Hot fastball and swing-and-miss slider make him the best pickup of the offseason, obviously, and the only thing keeping him from the A grade is the month lost to a forearm strain. Averages more than 14 K's per 9 innings, and opposing hitters are batting a ridiculous .096 against him.

Chasen Shreve

The throw-in on the Manny Banuelos-for-David Carpenter trade is the only thing keeping it from being Cashman's Jay Buhner-for-Ken Phelps. Shreve has allowed just two runs in his past 20 innings pitched and is as reliable a reliever as the Yankees can call upon, Betances and Miller included.

Justin Wilson

Francisco who? Wilson (obtained from the Pirates for Francisco Cervelli) has allowed just one earned run since May 22, a span of 20 appearances and 17 2/3 innings.

Esmil Rogers

The president of Team Rogers was never very effective in any of the various roles in which Girardi tried to use him.


Brian McCann

A much more productive hitter than he was in his first year as a Yankee, McCann's numbers this year, barring injury, should approach the ones he put up as an Atlanta Brave. Has also greatly improved his throwing, gunning down 40 percent of would-be base-stealers. Could do a little better blocking pitches in the dirt, but it's a minor gripe.

John Ryan Murphy

A capable backup but not an impact player this season -- neither at the plate nor behind it.


Mark Teixeira

Joke all you want about the gluten-free diet and the cupping, but something has got Tex, at 35, healthier than he has been in years. Already has matched last year's HR and RBI totals and is on track for one of the best, if not the best, all-around power seasons of his career. Exceptional glove saves his infield a ton of errors and his pitchers a ton of runs.

Garrett Jones

Has shown himself to be valuable in various capacities -- first base, right field, DH, even relief pitching -- and is capable of hitting the ball out of the park. Don't bother sending him up against a lefty, however.

Didi Gregorius

Had a rocky start, and his baseball instincts don't always seem to be top-notch, but he has improved of late and is making fewer mental mistakes out there. Biggest victory of season for him? Hardly anyone asks him about replacing Derek Jeter anymore.

Chase Headley

Inexplicably shaky defensively this year after playing an excellent third base last year, and his offense has only been so-so. But an excellent clubhouse presence, well-liked by his teammates and a gamer; missed just two games with a calf strain that might have sent other guys to the DL.

Jose Pirela

Although he plays with great energy and enthusiasm, the spring training sensation has shown himself to be a marginal role player who is completely useless against right-handed pitching.

Stephen Drew

Girardi says he has hit in tough luck, but the metrics don't really bear that out. Power numbers are excellent, but he can't seem to hit anything other than home runs. Defense at second base, a new position for him, has been at its usual high level.


Brett Gardner

Has really emerged as a team leader both on and off the field this season. A solid hitter and reliable outfielder, with speed on the basepaths. Always accountable for his mistakes, which are few. Future captain? Maybe.

Jacoby Ellsbury

The Yankees' best all-around player -- when he's in the lineup, that is. The epitome of a leadoff hitter and an excellent center fielder but has yet to disprove the rep he carried from Boston of being oft-injured and slow to return to the lineup. The minus is for the 40-plus games he has missed so far this season.

Chris Young

Has shown signs at the plate of being the player the Mets thought they signed last year with 10 home runs in limited duty, but like too many Yankees -- Jones, Gregorius, Pirela -- is pretty much a platoon player, hitting just .180 vs. righties. Unfortunately, has been forced into full-time duty due to Beltran's frequent absences. A fair to below-average big league outfielder.

Carlos Beltran

This was a bad signing from the beginning, and Beltran's constant injuries, as well as his obvious lack of speed -- due to age and poor physical conditioning -- and enthusiasm make it likely the Yankees will get nothing in return for the $45 million they have committed to him.


Alex Rodriguez

What can you say? The biggest surprise of the season, among the best stories in baseball and a truly productive hitter to boot. A-Rod came to camp having to scuffle for ABs, and now the Yankees hate to give him a day off. DH duty has done wonders for his soon-to-be-40-year-old legs.