In taking a bit of a belated look at the 2010 Yankee season, we'll start at the back end and work our way forward with the bench first. Oh, and I'm only counting guys who had 75 or more ABs and weren't injured. Sound good? Good.
* Francisco Cervelli- C+: This season proved that Frankie was nothing more than a backup catcher as his offensive numbers over extended at-bats were painful to look at (.335 SLG, .694 OPS). He does get bonus points for hitting well with RISP and the couple of very hot streaks he had at the beginning and end of the regular season, but loses some for his less than stellar defense this year and Jorge-like inability to throw out runners.
* Marcus Thames- A-: Gets bumped to the bench slot because Nick Johnson was supposed to be the everyday DH, but Thames did exactly what he was supposed to do this year: destroy left-handed pitching. But he also held his own against the righties, actually posting a higher tripleslash (.896) than he did against lefties (.812). He loses points for being a complete disaster in the field, but he would be welcomed back next year by me for sure.
* Ramiro Pena- C: 154 at-bats this year put the final doubts to rest about whether or not the kid can hit at the Major League level, and the fact of the matter is he can't. A .227/.258/.247 line with only 2 XBH in those 154 at-bats is ugly any way you look at it. He can provide a solid glove on the left side of the infield, but doesn't have any other tools that make him a more attractive option than Eduardo Nunez.
* Lance Berkman- B-: In 106 platoon at-bats at DH and 1B, Berkman showed that his power is pretty much gone (1 HR, .349 SLG) but that he can still work a count with the best of them (.358 OBP). The injury he suffered after joining the Yankees didn't do him any favors and he actually did swing the bat batter upon returning from the DL and filled in admirably at first in Teix's absence.
* Austin Kearns- C-: He started off strong and got some big hits while filling in for Brett Gardner, but then turned into a walking strikeout in late September. He's got all the tools to be a solid 4th outfielder and is a better stick than Randy Winn, Kevin Russo, Chad Huffman, or Colin Curtis, but doesn't have enough to overtake anybody on the Yankee roster as a starter.
* Eduardo Nunez- B+: OK, I lied about the 75 ABs thing, but Nunez is a worthy candidate for breaking that rule. In just 50 at-bats Nunez showed some patience and some toughness at the plate (14 hits), a little pop (1 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI), and the potential to improve with more chances. He also was a perfect 5-for-5 in steal attempts and can play a better SS than Jeter and just as good a 3rd base as A-Rod. Supposedly he was the deal breaker in the Cliff Lee trade in July so the Yankees have plans for him. I'd like to see him step into Pena's role in 2011 and see what he can do with a couple hundred at-bats.
For the rest of guys (Juan Miranda, Russo, Winn, Huffman, Curtis, Chad Moeller, Greg Golson), I'll give them a collective "C" grade. Yeah, they're numbers don't look at all impressive when you put them all together, but you wouldn't expect them to in the first place when you look at that list of names. These guys were brought in to provide depth and to help fill out a lineup card when injuries struck and they did that job admirably.
** Tomorrow we'll cover the bullpen. **
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