Yankees: Postseason Grades For Key Players

Now that the Yankees have been done for quite a few days now, it’s time to look back and give grades to some key players. 

After an incredible season highlighted by a revolving door on the injured list and an abundance of different Yankees stepping up to carry this team to a Divisional Title, the Yankees failed to make it to the World Series for the 10th consecutive season. Jose Altuve ripped the hearts out of Yankee fans across the world with a 9th inning walk off home run to send the Astros to the World Series for the 2nd time in the last 3 years.

Going in to the ALCS series, everyone knew beating the Astros was going to be a very tough task; however, what many Yankees’ fans did not expect was it to be the offense that failed to show up. In the ALCS alone, the Yankees went a combined 6-for-35 with RISP and left a staggering 42 runners on base—that just simply cannot happen.

As we begin to look ahead to the offseason and potentially tough business decisions, let’s take a look at the postseason performances by a few key players:

DJ LeMahieu

ALDS: .286 BA | .976 OPS| 4 RBIs | 4 Runs Scored

ALCS: .346 BA | 1.029 OPS | 3 RBIs | 6 Runs Scored

From the regular season to the postseason, nothing changed with DJ LeMahieu. He remained hot at the plate in the leadoff spot and was one of the few bright stars of an otherwise lackluster offense throughout the ALCS. Not to mention his game tying home run in the top of the 9th inning in Game 6 of the Championship Series was arguably one of the most clutch hits in Yankees postseason history; unfortunately for us, our hearts were then ripped out and stomped on just a half inning later when Altuve took Chapman deep to end the Yankees’ season.

Grade: A

Gleyber Torres

ALDS: .417 BA | 1.378 OPS | 4 RBIs | 5 Runs Scored

ALCS: .280 BA | .933 OPS | 6 RBIs | 3 Runs Scored

The 22-year-old Torres had an incredible postseason at the dish highlighted most notably by his performance in Game 1 of the ALCS where he went 3-for-5 with 5 RBIs in a 7-0 rout of the Astros. As good as the offense was for Torres, there were some questionable decisions and costly mistakes in the field including his two errors in the 8-3 loss in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Grade: A-

Masahiro Tanaka

Total Postseason: 2-1 Record | 2.25 ERA | 0.75 WHIP | 12 Ks 4 BBs

Playoff Tanaka was on full display this postseason and was the leader of a pitching staff that overachieved against even the most optimistic of expectations. In Game 1 of the ALCS Tanaka went 6 scoreless innings allowing one hit, one walk and 4 strikeouts on only 68 pitches.

Grade: B+

Aaron Judge

ALDS: .333 BA | .872 OPS | 0 RBIs | 3 Runs Scored

ALCS: .240 BA | .681 OPS | 2 RBIs | 3 Runs Scored

In order to hang with the Astros, we needed our biggest stars to match or outshine their biggest stars and that just didn’t happen. There is no bigger star on the Yankees than Aaron Judge and going 6-for-24 at the dish with 10 strikeouts is unacceptable—especially when Jose Altuve post a series slash line of .348/.444/.652. Despite the inconsistency on offense, Judge was a Dyson vacuum in Right Field making highlight reel plays one after the other.

Grade: B-

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Edwin Encarnacion

ALDS: .308 BA | .819 OPS | 2 RBIs | 2 Runs Scored

ALCS: .056 BA | .338 OPS | 0 RBIs | 0 Runs Scored

That poor parrot never even left its cage this postseason. Edwin started off the postseason well with a few hits in a very lopsided Divisional Round and then went completely MIA when the Yankees needed him most. In the ALCS alone, the Yankees’ DH went 1 for 22 with 0 RBIs and 0 runs scored and was so bad that he was replaced in Game 5 by Giancarlo Stanton who was playing with an injured quad.

Grade: D

Adam Ottavino

Total Postseason: 3.1 IP | 8.10 ERA | 7 Hits 3 Walks 4 Ks

In my opinion, this was the most shocking performance of anyone. At times this season Adam Ottavino looked like one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the league making opposing hitters look foolish with his wipeout slider. This couldn’t have been less true in the postseason as there were multiple appearances in which he didn’t even record an out—including one in which he gave up a back breaking home run on his first pitch to George Springer that evened the scored in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Grade: D-

Gary Sanchez

ALDS: .125 BA | .542 OPS | 0 RBIs | 1 Run Scored

ALCS: .130 BA | .428 OPS | 3 RBIs | 1 Run Scored

Besides his somewhat meaningless 2-run bomb in Game 4 of the ALCS, you would be hard pressed to find a single thing Gary did well this offseason. After having one of the best seasons of any catcher in the league this year, expectations were high for Sanchez going into this postseason run and he could not have disappointed more. He was a complete liability behind the plate and an even bigger embarrassment offensively. He allowed numerous past balls that should have easily been stopped and struck out 16 times in 31 at-bats. I can somewhat come to grips with the offensive woes but the defensive laziness in the biggest series of his life is just unacceptable and he needs to be better if he wants that big contract from the Yankees anytime soon.

Grade: F

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