Today we have the rest of the 2022 report cards for Yankees position players (if you missed part 1, simply go back to the previous post). Let’s get right to it, but two quick reminders:
I only included players with at least 150 PA in 2022, and the grades are based on the individual expectations for the player, they aren’t in comparison to the other players.
In no particular order…
Gleyber had a nice rebound campaign in ’22 after a rough all-around 2021 season. Baseball-Reference had him ranked as the second most valuable Yankee with 4.1 bWAR, and although FanGraphs and Prospectus weren’t that high on him, he did finish with a solid 2.9 WARP and 2.7 fWAR. Remarkable accomplishments considering that after a hot first half, he went almost one-third of the season (46 games to be exact) with a putrid .181/.226/.298 slash line from July 13th to September 9th. Fortunately, he’s righted the ship at the right time and has been scalding hot since with a .391/.442/.696 line for a Judge like 220 wRC+ down the stretch.
As Yankees fans know, there are two DJs: There’s the healthy one, and then there’s the one who plays through injuries. And although admirable, the latter is a so-so player – a big drop off from the monster that is a healthy DJ.
On August 2nd, DJ was sporting a 142 wRC+ and was on pace for a 5-6 WAR season. Since then, thanks to a cranky toe, he’s been unable to drive the ball and has slashed an anemic .167/.238/.211 in 127 PA. Yet, similar to Gleyber, overall DJ had a very good bounce-back season after struggling through 2021 with injuries, as all three grading systems had him between 3 and 3.9 WAR.
Even as a fan and supporter of Donaldson, I have to say his 2022 season was a disappointment. Although very good defensively, the power hitter with the great eye just never materialized as he posted sub-100 numbers in OPS+, wRC+, and DRC+. And since all three versions of WAR had him in the neighborhood of an average player…
Admittedly, much of the IKF vitriol should have been directed at Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman for first passing on Corey Seager and Carlos Correa (in part because of Oswald Peraza) and then bringing Peraza up and not playing him regularly – none of that is IKF’s fault.
That said, don’t buy the “he was exactly as advertised, he did exactly what they expected him to do” nonsense because that’s not true. In spite of some signs that he was actually better in ’21 than his numbers suggested, not only did IKF not improve, but he regressed in ’22. The average of his three versions of WAR was 3.2 last season (a good everyday player) and dropped to 1.8 in 2022 – a slightly below-average everyday player.
In April, I predicted Rizzo would finish just short of three WAR and the Yanks would get a HR total in the high twenties from him– my prediction was pretty damn good as he finished with 32 bombs and an average of 2.6 WAR from the three iterations.
And although his bat was very good (between 130 and 132 in OPS+, wRC+, and DRC+) his glove and base running dragged his value down somewhat.
Hicks was nowhere near the disaster that most Yankees fans characterized him as – anyone who can get on base at a better-than-league-average rate, as Hicks did in ’22, has value. That said, the lack of power and not-so-great defense made his 2022 season unquestionably a disappointment.
There’s nothing to say that already hasn’t been said. Quite simply one of the best seasons a Yankee has ever had, possibly the best.
Check back tomorrow for the pitchers’ grades!
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