The Yankees first half: thoughts at the all-star break

The midsummer classic is upon us as the game’s best will soon flock to San Diego, California and put on a show for all MLB fans. For the Yankees, they will have Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances representing them. After an up and down first half, the Bombers record currently sits at 44-44, an even .500. Unless the team goes on a torrid stretch, they will (hopefully) become sellers at the deadline. So with this, I offer my thoughts on the season so far.

Didi Gregorius is really improving
I personally think that Didi Gregorius’ offensive improvement has been one of the best stories of the Yankees 2016 season. After coming over in a trade from Arizona in 2015, Gregorius struggled, posting an average of .221 by the end of May. He would wind up to finish the season with a .265 average. He continued this upward trend of solid production into 2016 and currently sports a spectacular line of .298/.328/.468 all while becoming a consistent force in the bottom of the Yankees lineup. He’s been one of the league’s best against left-handed pitching, torching them for a .360 average. He’s hit 11 home runs already, matching his career high, and should be able to hit at least 20 by seasons end. It has been exciting to see Didi grow, and the shortstop is still only 26 years old. As long as Didi continues his slick defense at short and hits the way he has, there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t be considered a top five shortstop in the game.
Jim McIssac - Getty Images

Mark Teixeira has to go
Don’t get me wrong, Teix has been my favorite Yankee for a long time now, but it is clear that the Yankees have no reason to resign the 36-year-old at the season’s end. Teixeira, a notoriously slow starter, started off this season slow as expected, but never rebounded. He’s produced up to this point a horrid slash line of .193/.272/.317 with only seven homers and twenty RBI’s. This is a severe drop off in production from 2015, where by July 3rd he was slashing at a line of .245/.359/.537 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI’s. That was all-star production, but now, Teixeira is a shell of his former self. Sure, he is still a defensive whiz at first, but with Greg Bird waiting in the wings, the Yankees must say goodbye to him after 2016.

Ownership must make the call to sell at the deadline
I've written an entire article on it and many others here at the BBB think so too, but the Yankees would be incredibly foolish if they didn't go into sell mode at the trade deadline. The simple fact is that this year, the Yankees are a mediocre ball club. They are a team that will always be floating around .500, and those types of teams don't make it to the playoffs. Randy Levine and Hal Steinbrenner can try and make the Yankees sound better than they are, but they must get a grip on reality and utilize the valuable trade chips they have. Players such as Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Beltran and Andrew Miller could bring back immense hauls that would immediately put the Yankees in a better position for future success.


Brian Blanco - Getty Images

Aaron Judge needs to see some time in the Majors
We have a piece on the subject, but it is evident that Aaron Judge has owned the minors this season. The imposing right fielder has improved his plate discipline greatly, lowering his overall strikeout numbers from last season. In 83 games this season, he’s hit 16 home runs and driven in 54 runs while hitting at a clip of .261. Even if the Yankees keep Carlos Beltran at the deadline, Judge will force the Yankees hand with his solid production in AAA. Once Judge returns from a PCL sprain in three to four weeks, he should at least get the chance start over the underwhelming Aaron Hicks. Judge will be the starter in right field come 2017, but why not get him some valuable time in the majors this season and gear him up for next season?

Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

The Aaron Hicks trade has been a failure
Aaron Hicks was brought over to be a capable 4th outfielder that could hit lefties. He not only has a terrible .155 average against lefties, but he’s hitting a .197 as a whole with just 16 RBI’S. While he has a cannon of an arm, he’s made some questionable plays in the outfield, sometimes misplaying fly balls. Aaron Judge really should be the 4th outfielder at this point, as he’d definitely be able to hit better than a measly .197. At least the Yankees only gave up John Ryan Murphy, who’s now in AAA, for Hicks.

Rob Refsnyder is taking advantage of his playing time
If there’s anyone on the Yankees roster who deserved a shot for regular playing time, it was Rob Refsynder. After bouncing back and forth between AAA and the majors last season, the now utility man has found his niche with the Yanks this season, becoming a versatile weapon for the team. Ref surely had to have a chip on his shoulder coming into this season after the Starlin Castro acquisition, and he’s been more than willing to play any position asked of him, from right field, second base or first base. The righty has a solid slash line of .276/.377/.368 and always plays with hustle and intensity. There’s never been any question surrounding Ref’s offensive ability, and now he’s proving to the Yankees that he’s the real deal.

Rob Osentoski - USA Today Sports

Austin Romine proving he’s more than capable as a backup
Romine turned some heads in spring training after he swiped the backup job from Gary Sanchez, who was the favorite to win the job. In 36 games, Romine has collected 27 hits, three home runs and 16 RBI’s. He’s shown an ability to work well with the Yankees staff, despite his sporadic playing time. After losing time to Francisco Cervelli and staying put in the minors, Romine has really emerged this year and has made himself one of the better backup catchers in baseball.



Article by: Phil Akre
Follow me on twitter: @philakre
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