Yankees Player Report Cards: Position Players, Pt. 1

The regular season and the postseason are two completely different animals. The water in the former will almost always find its own level, and the latter is a total crapshoot. (Although, most players’ histories are written by what they do in the postseason, fairly or unfairly.) So before we move on to playoff baseball, let’s do a little report card-style grading of each Yankee player’s 2022 regular season.

Two things before we get started: Expectations matter in the grading, so the players’ grades aren’t comparisons to each other but to what their individual expectations were. Secondly, I included only those position players who had at least 150 plate appearances in 2022.

Enough of the preamble. In no particular order…

Giancarlo Stanton

It was an odd season for Stanton. From Opening Day through May 21st he posted a .308/.357/.568 slash line with a 160 wRC+ (the wRC+ was good for 12th best in MLB among 170 qualifiers). Then somewhat remarkably, he went a four-month stretch – May 22nd through September 30th to be exact – with a .148/.253/.368 slash line and a 77 wRC+. The wRC+ ranked 220th out of 246 MLB players with at least 250 PA over that span and was unfathomably dead last on the Yanks.

All of that said, Baseball Reference was the harshest on him of the three grading systems by far, and his season 113 OPS+ was a tick better than average among DHs, he finished with 31 HR and 78 RBI and ended the season with a bomb in three consecutive games.

We can only hope the ankle and Achilles injuries that had him sidelined for 42 games over the summer were bothering him more than he let on both prior to and after his IL stints, and the guy we’ve grown accustomed to watching vaporize baseballs this time of the year is back.

Grade: C+

Jose Trevino

Like Stanton, Baseball Reference didn’t like Trevino as much as FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus did, and still, they graded him with 2.3 bWAR in only 353 PA – which is to stay his harshest critics said he was a better-than-average player in ’22. He certainly regressed to the mean offensively after the hot start that earned him an All-Star berth and he’s never going to remind anyone of Johnny Bench with his throws to second base. That said, he’s an elite framer and came up with plenty of big hits throughout the season making him a huge part of the Yanks’ success – in fact, both FanGraphs and Prospectus ranked him as the second most valuable Yankee position player in ’22.

Grade: A –

Kyle Higashioka

True story: Early in 2021 when I wrote for Pinstripe Alley, I pitched an article idea that Higgy should start getting some playing time over Gary Sanchez. Not only did the pitch get a thumbs down, but there were also extensive responses from more than one staff member as to why that was such a bad idea.

Since July 1st of 2021, Sanchez has posted 1.2 fWAR in 183 games – Higgy 1.7 fWAR in 115 games. There’s my fucking article.

Despite a horrendous start to the season, Higgy posted close to two fWAR and WARP despite playing only 83 games in ’22. The power bat started coming around in the second half and despite not being the framer that Trevino is, he has a much better arm – 2022 was a big step forward for him.

Grade: B

Matt Carpenter

Aaron Judge had the second-best wRC+ on the Yankees this season. That’s all you need to know about Matt Carpenter’s 2022 campaign.

Grade: A+

Oswaldo Cabrera

Oswaldo made his MLB debut on August 17th, 2022 – since then he’s been the second-best player on the Yankees going by fWAR. A switch hitter with power who’s played six positions flawlessly is something to be excited about long-term but is something very, very valuable in October.

Grade: A

Marwin Gonzalez

Conversely, Marwin played the same role as Cabrera in ’22, played almost twice as many games as the rookie, and produced 0 (ZERO) WARP and 0.1 fWAR. It’s nothing personal because Marwin seems like a good teammate, but there’s no reason for him to be on the postseason roster.

Grade: D

Check back tomorrow for the rest of the position player grades!

Did I miss something? Let me know – leave a comment below or yell at me @mybaseballpage1 on Twitter and/or the “My Baseball Page” on Facebook.

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