Heading into the 2015 season, a lot of people were dreading what it would bring for the Yankees. Many thought they would be bad, and while they still may end up being bad, this season's been fun so far. Not everything, like yesterday's game, has been that great to watch, but I've enjoyed this Yankees' season more than I haven't. With that in mind, I asked the PSA staff who they've been the happiest with so far.
Q: We are almost a month into the season. Which Yankee has impressed you the most so far in 2015?
Michael Pineda has impressed me by bouncing back from a little bit of a shaky start. If he can pitch as well as he has in April, with a couple flashes of what we saw last September, the Yankees will have a very good pitcher.
Overall, I've been most impressed by the offense. I know the second-most runs per game in the AL probably not sustainable, but the team is above average in both OBP and SLG. Maybe they've overperformed to this point, but nobody can take away the games they've won. A strong start plus a midseason upgrade is the blueprint that takes the Yankees from a zombie team to legit contenders.
I'd have to say I've been most impressed with two guys so far. On offense, I'd have to say Mark Teixeira. As I said in my post about his curious start, he hasn't been hitting for average at all, but his power numbers have been great, especially considering the fact that he's a notoriously slow starter. Maybe as the weather heats up, he starts dumping some more normal hits in there and has himself a great year. I'm hoping for 25-30 bombs and close to 100 RBI, even if he hits .230. On the pitching side, I think Chasen Shreve has really been awesome. Other guys have been great too, but I expect that from Pineda when he's healthy. Shreve was a relative unknown for us as Yankees fans, and he's done a very nice job. I hope he gets into some more pressure innings, because he looks like he could be a really great addition to the club.
I really was hoping the answer to this question could have been Didi Gregorius, but that hasn't happened yet. I'll go with Alex Rodriguez. He had the most to overcome, and the most amount of questions surrounding his game and himself as a person. He's exceeded all expectations, he's nearly a shoe-in for this answer.
HOW IS CHRIS YOUNG A THING
I'm loving Mark Teixeira's approach this year - well it's the same approach he's been using for some time, but it's finally paying off. Recognizing that the proper way to beat the shift is to hit over it, not around it has gotten Tex labeled defiant and stubborn over the past few years, but now we're seeing what the results are when it's done by a hitter who's completely healthy. I'll take 35 dingers over 70 slap hits to left any day.
A lot of great options here, Masahiro Tanaka, Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Teixeira, Rodriguez of course, but I think I'll go with Michael Pineda. Thirty-two strikeouts, two walks, and nothing in his track record to suggest this is a fluky start. Great control and filthy stuff, I'm betting that Pineda is in the early stages of a campaign that will make him a breakout star.
Right now I think it's Mark Teixeira. He is doing exactly what he needs to do in the clean up spot. You can already see the difference between what a bad Tex does for this team and what a good Tex does. This opinion was brought to you by Juice Press.
Juice Press: because Tropicana is like drinking from an ashtray.
It's a tie between Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. They're both doing exactly what they're paid to do: Get on base and create problems. Neither of them are showing any power, but if you're pitching to one of the Yankees middle of the order guys, it has to be difficult knowing one of them is on base.
It's not much of a surprise, but the bullpen has been the most impressive part of this team, from Esmil Rogers to Miller. It's clear that if this team finds any success this season the 'pen will deservedly get a ton of credit for making games shorter and shorter.
The obvious and only answer is Alex Rodriguez. I really had no expectations for him coming into this season after missing basically two years. He's shown off impressive power and plate discipline so far. Couldn't have really hoped for a better outcome.
I've got to say, although A-Rod has been unbelievable, I like what I'm seeing out of Pineda this year. I was really curious in that one game in Detroit when it was freezing and the announcers started saying how that was the kind of weather with the pine tar last year, and how he would handle it, but now that Tanaka's out for a bit, Pineda's the new ace. His stuff this year has been absolutely filthy, and I'm looking forward to watching him the rest of the way. Carlos Beltran would be my runner-up on this list though, totally, no doubt about it.
I believe I am required by law to pick Chris Young for this question. Leading up to the season, I jokingly made comments about how Chris Young was going to win the AL MVP, and thus far, he's provided way more good than bad. I'm under no impression that he's going to keep this up, but I will continue to ride the "Chris Young: 2015 AL MVP" train until it inevitably goes flying over the edge of a cliff into a lake of undetonated World War II landmines.
Those are our answers and now it's your turn. Who's impressed you the most so far in 2015?