Part 1 of 3: Did the Yankees have a successful regular season in 2012? Their 95-67 record was the best in the American League. They either led the league or were tied for first place in their division from June 12 through the end of the season. They had a 10-game lead on July 18 in the AL East. This lead eventually evaporated and with a week left in the season the Orioles pulled even. However, the Yankees finished two games ahead of the Orioles.
The Yankees overcame an injury plagued season. The Yankees put 16 different players on the disabled list a total of 17 times. These 16 players missed a combined 1,510 games. Starting left fielder Brett Gardiner was sidelined beginning April 17 and was exclusively used as a pinch runner in the last month. Mariano Rivera made just nine appearances in the season. Michael Pineda, their projected number three started, missed the entire season. Their ace, CC Sabathia, was on the DL twice. Andy Pettitte suffered a broken ankle and missed three months. Alex Rodriguez missed over a month after suffering a left hand fracture. Teixeira missed nearly the entire month of September with a calf injury. Joba Chamberlain suffered a dislocated right ankle and made only 22 appearances in relief. David Robertson, their projected seventh inning pitcher, missed time on the DL.How did the Yankees overcome so many missed games by key players? The Yankees hit a franchise record of 245 home runs and finished second in the Majors with 804 runs scored. The Yankee starting pitchers compiled a combined 71-50 mark, the best winning percentage among all AL starting staffs. Rafael Soriano, the projected eighth-inning setup man, replaced the injured closer Mariano Rivera and had 42 saves in 46 chances. Sabathia, Kuroda, and Hughes gave the Yankees a trio of pitchers with at least 15 wins for the first time since 2006. Kuroda adjusted well to his new league with career highs in wins,16, starts, 33, and strikeouts,167. Pettitte returning from retirement posted a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts. David Phelps, a not top 10 prospect, filled several roles including spot starter, middle reliever, and setup man while compiling a 3.34 ERA. Boone Logan made a career-high 80 appearances as a lefty specialist compiling an ERA of 3.74. Castoffs Clay Rapada and Cory Eppley appeared in 70 and 59 games respectively compiling ERAs around 3.00. The Yankees .987 fielding percentage was third best in the Majors. The two aging veterans Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez playing more than expected contributed many clutch hits. The July acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki contributed speed and defense while batting .322 as a Yankee. Granderson hit a career-high 43 home runs. Robinson Cano had an MVP type year. I saved for last the contributions of, The Captain, Derek Jeter. At the age of 38, Derek had one of the greatest performances ever for a 38 year old shortstop. He led the Majors with 216 hits and batted .316. More than his statistics, the “Jeter Way” sets a positive example for the rest of the team. Finally, I credit general manager Brian Cashman for his shrewd acquisitions of Kuroda, Chavez, Ibanez, Suzuki, Eppley, Rapada, Lowe, and for resigning Pettitte.There were disappointments for 2012. A-Rod continued his decline accounting for only 57 RBIs his lowest total ever for a full season. Granderson set a franchise record with 195 strikeouts. Russell Martin had a batting average below the Mendoza line for most of the season. Ivan Nova, a 16 game winner last year, struggled all year and finished with an ERA above 5.0. Freddy Garcia demonstrated he was a three inning starting pitcher. CC Sabathia had a subpar season for him. Andruw Jones’ bat disappeared in the second half of the season.
For many Yankee fans a season is only successful if the Yankees appear in the World Series. Not me. I say yes the Yankees had a successful regular season.
I agree. The Yanks had a good season. Even if you think they under-achieved, they were much better than 1 standard deviation below expectations. It was not one of the great Yankees teams going into the season: most of the established regulars are past prime. Yet they still tied for the best record in the American League.
October 28, 2012 03:23:08