Yankee fans are fickle. They expect a lot out of the team, and because baseball is baseball, many times that doesn't always work out. Which is unfortunate, because there have been many players in Yankees' history that don't get the appreciation they deserve. I decided to ask the PSA staff who some of their favorites that fit that definition are.
Q: There have been some complaints about Mark Teixeira's batting average, despite the rest of his production at the plate. Who's your favorite Yankee that the rest of the Yankee fan base underrates? Bonus points if you don't pick A-Rod.
Shreve in May: 2.70 FIP, 10.00 K/BB, 0.86 WHIP. Lefty can get guys out from both sides. Stupidly, ridiculously underrated reliever.
I mean....can I say Brett Gardner? Cause I still feel like a good portion of the Yankee fan base continue to underrate him. You know who I'm talking about, right? The WFAN mouth breathers who still say things like the Yankees should have traded Gardner for Brandon Phillips. Or the ones that continuously try to include Gardner into a trade package for youth and shit, because that's like "THE" answer to all the Yankees problems. SCREW YOU ALL, LEAVE MY GRITTY GUTTY BRETT GARDNER ALONE!!!!!
I always loved Bobby Abreu. The Yankees got him from the Phillies for a steal, and he provided a great blend of OBP, power and SB. Though he was only serviceable in RF, having now watched the corpse of Carlos Beltran man the position, I think Abreu showed pretty good range. It didn't help that he had a string of mediocre CFs beside him (Damon at the end of his time in CF and Melky at the beginning of his), so there was no way to mask his shortcomings and with Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, and Jorge Posada all providing defensive liabilities, he was never the worst glove that needed to be hidden at DH.
If in 2013, someone told you Manny Banuelos would be traded for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve, and Shreve would be the biggest part of the deal, no one would buy it. But it's true. Cashman really showed that he had a few tricks up his Shreve when he pulled that deal off.
I wish I could pick Didi Gregorius because I was (and still inexplicably am) standing on top of a soap box preaching his potential. But he has been far from underrated. So I'll forgo the bonus point and go with A-Rod. I know, it's disheartening, but I put all my eggs in the wrong basket, apparently.
Mike Mussina was always underrated by Yankee fans. Five of his eight seasons in New York were 4.5 fWAR or better and he had some great big game performances, like 2003 ALCS game 7 in relief and the Jeter flip play game in Oakland in 2001. Still, you always heard nonsense like "pitches well enough to lose" and "not clutch" for no actual reason.
You take all the fun out of it! Anyway, besides A-Rod, I feel that Chasen Shreve doesn't get enough praise for what he has done out of the bullpen. In his first 20.2 innings, he had a FIP of 3.16. According to FanGraphs, an excellent pitcher has a FIP of 2.90, and a great pitcher has one of 3.20. Not only this, but batters only make contact on 71.1% of Shreve's pitches, which is top 25 in the league, and third on the Yankees, only behind Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. When the Yankees bullpen is brought up, it's either to talk about how dominant Miller and Betances are or how terrible David Carpenter and Esmil Rogers have been. Shreve has shown that he deserves to be talked about more as a valuable piece to this bullpen.
My favourite underrated Yankee, and my favourite Yankee pitcher for virtually his entire time here, Mike Mussina.
Calling him underrated may seem a stretch, after all there are several here on PSA who argue vociferously that Moose should already be inducted in the Hall of Fame, but I think not nearly enough on the fanbase in general is railing madly for his Hall case. Always the nearly man, hopefully he'll get his moment sooner rather than later.
I have a really bad fear that the last couple seasons have completely ruined CC Sabathia in the eyes in many Yankee fans. I hope that's not true, but you never know with this fan base. If what I fear is correct, then that's unfortunate, because peak Yankee CC was incredible. Admittedly, picking him is a cop-out sort of, but the amount of hate he (really more his contract, I realized) gets (considering that Yankee Stadium would've been burned if they let him walk after his 2012) makes me sad.
Those are our answers and now we want to hear from you. Who's your favorite "underrated" Yankee?