The Yankees began the 2009 season with arguably the most potent infield offense in all of baseball and ended the year by obliterating any doubts about that particular notion. The starting infield posted an insane 138 OPS+ (!) and a ridiculous .389 wOBA.
There was some concern about how well Jorge Posada would rebound from an injury-plagued 2008 campaign, whether Robinson Cano could bounce back after the worst season of his young career, and if Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez would continue to regress due to age. The only semi-sure thing seemed to be new first baseman Mark Teixeira, one of the Yankees’ most critical free agent signings of all time. Thankfully, the Yankees’ thirtysomethings apparently are completely unaffected by the passage of time, as they all posted huge 2009 regular and postseason campaigns.
Jorge Posada, C
162-Game Averages: .277/.389/.480, 124 OPS+
2009 regular season: .285/.363/.522, 133 OPS+, .378 wOBA
2009 postseason: .260/.345/.420, 2HR, 8RBI, .260 wOBA
Even with a slightly lower OBP and losing some time to the DL, the 38-year-old Posada still managed an above-average season in what some claim to be a borderline Hall-of-Fame career. As huge an asset as Posada has been to the Yankees over the years, I don’t know that he’s HoF material (although if Jim Rice is, who even knows anymore). Then again, it’s not like the HoF even really means all that much anymore given some of the so-called baseball experts who are allowed to vote. Regardless, Posada’s easily one of the top five catchers in Yankee history; the only question is how much longer he can continue to hit like he has.
Mark Teixeira, 1B
162-Game Averages: .290/.378/.545, 136 OPS+
2009 regular season: .292/.383/.565, 149 OPS+, .402 wOBA
2009 postseason: .180/.282/.311, 2HR, 8RBI, .271 wOBA
As huge as the acquisition of CC Sabathia was for the Yankees in 2009, there was no free agent I wanted the Yankees to sign more than Mark Teixeira last winter. Given how little we’d heard about the Yankees’ involvement with Tex during November and December of 2008, it seemed all but assured he’d land in Boston. Thankfully, Santa Cashman came through with the greatest Christmas present of all time on December 23, 2008, swooping in from seemingly nowhere to wrap Big Tex up and filling the Yankees’ greatest positional need for the next eight years with one of the best first basemen in baseball. I’ve never been more ecstatic upon hearing of a Yankee free agent signing than Big Tex.
And boy did he ever deliver. In his first year in pinstripes, Tex not only stomped on his career averages, but led the AL in home runs and RBI and may have had a case for MVP if not for Joe Mauer, all while playing spectacular defense and starting the year out batting .200/.367/.371 in April.
Of course, if there’s any one flaw in Teixeira’s game, he does seem somewhat slump-prone from time to time, which was underscored in the postseason. He did manage to make his few hits really matter, but ideally you’d like to see your monster first baseman hit more like his .948-OPS-self than the .593 mark he managed in the playoffs. Kind of crazy to think the Yankees won it all as efficiently as they did despite Teixeira’s limited production — imagine Tex had been swinging a hot bat at any point in the postseason.
Robinson Cano, 2B
162-Game Averages: .306/.339/.480, 113 OPS+
2009 regular season: .320/.352/.520, 129 OPS+, .370 wOBA
2009 postseason: .193/.266/.281, 0HR, 6RBI, .240 wOBA
Robinson Cano was an 86 OPS+ player in 2008. In 2009 he posted a 129, the finest OPS+ of his career. Cano had arguably the best year of his career on both sides of the ball this past season, although was pretty brutal in the postseason. I don’t generally put any stock in silly weather theories, but it does seem as though Cano plays distinctly worse in cooler climates, with a career postseason line of .217/.276/.358. Then again, he did have a torrid April this year, so there goes that theory. Hard to complain about a guy who’s one of the top three second basemen in the AL — if anything, you’d like to see him develop just a bit more patience and ideally not forget his bat come October.
Derek Jeter, SS
162-Game Averages: .317/.388/.459, 121 OPS+
2009 regular season: .334/.406/.465, 132 OPS+, .390 wOBA
2009 postseason: .344/.432/.563, 3HR, 6RBI, .416 wOBA
What more can you say about Derek Jeter? (I imagine Mariano Rivera’s season review will begin in much the same fashion). At age 35, all the Yankee Captain did was tie his second-best OPS+ while playing arguably the best defense of a defensively maligned career. Not to mention he was one of the few Yankees to elevate his offensive game in the 2009 postseason, turning in the team’s 3rd-highest OPS. With each passing year it seems as though Jeter will have to slow eventually, and each year he pretty much proves everyone wrong. How many years Jeter has left at this level of production is anyone’s guess, and it’ll be very interesting to see how the Yankees handle contract negotiations with the modern face of the franchise after the 2010 season.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
162-Game Averages: .305/.390/.576, 147 OPS+
2009 regular season: .286/.402/.532, 147 OPS+, .405 wOBA
2009 postseason: .365/.500/.808, 6HR, 18RBI, .365 wOBA
Hopefully by now the last of the A-Rod haters have exited the building. The Yankees were 13-15 when Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup on Friday, May 8. The Yankees went 90-44 from that point on. A-Rod managed to hit 30 home runs and knock in exactly 100 runs in a mere 124 games. A-Rod was the only Yankee infielder to not exceed his career OPS+ in 2009 — he merely matched it — but when you set the bar at 147 and still reach it in less than a full season, you’ve got a special player in your hands. Simply put, in a year that began with an admission of steroid use and a stint on the DL, there was no offensive player more critical to the Yankees’ 27th World Championship than Alex Rodriguez.
In addition to A-Rod’s return seemingly reminding Big Tex that he was also an elite hitter, Alex obliterated whatever perceptions ignorant Yankee fans had of the man in supposed “clutch” situations, hitting a couple of big-time walk-off bombs during the regular season (the shot in the bottom of the 15th against the Red Sox in that epic duel on August 7 was easily one of the best moments of the year), and practically carrying the team on his back through the first two rounds of the postseason, hitting outrageously tremendous ballgame-tying shots in the 9th inning off Twins closer Joe Nathan in Game 2 of the ALDS and in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the ALCS against Angels closer Brian Fuentes.
After a rough start to the Fall Classic, A-Rod still managed a .250/.423/.550 line with 1 home run and 6 RBI, all of which came in huge spots.
As much as people love the “core four,” and rightly so, I hope that Alex has finally engendered himself to even the most stubborn of Yankee fans. As I’ve said countless times before, everyone need to just sit back and enjoy the A-Rod era, as it’s unlikely we’ll see an all-around p
layer of his caliber in pinstripes for quite some time.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- essentialtexting.com on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- www25.tok2.com on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- グッチ 財布 on Sunday Links-Joba’s Timetable, Comparing eras, Pineda
- raspberry ketone diet 1200 on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- Free riot codes on Off-Topic
- Fran on The Great Subway Race
- sleeping bag hand Orientation on What about Austin Romine?
- camping stove heat diffuser on What about Austin Romine?
- 手機殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
- 手機外殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees