Welcome to Yankees Pros and Cons, a monthly column at Pinstripe Alley! Each month we look over the roster and point out players who either impressed or underperformed.
The Yankees had a brilliant May, going 20-7 on the month and winning eight consecutive series. That stretch of play jettisoned the Bombers into first place. A few hurdles got in their way, but it’s difficult to complain about the results. Let’s get to it and break down the highs and lows.
Pro: Gleyber Torres
Back in April, I listed Torres as one of the Yankees’ cons. He was an exactly league average hitter, but that seemed underwhelming for the infielder. Torres fired on all cylinders in May, however, hitting .305/.359/.642 with nine home runs on the month. His 157 wRC+ ranks second only to Jorge Polanco among shortstops with 75 plate appearances in May. Torres has been a star, and deserves to be on the pro list for inflicting nightmares upon Gary Thorne.
Con: J.A. Happ
I should begin this entry with the caveat that Happ has looked okay over his last two starts, if not encouraging. That still doesn’t make up for his 4.99 ERA (5.49 FIP) on the month. The left-hander also couldn’t keep the ball in the park, sporting a 2.3 HR/9 rate. Here’s hoping he can build on the small degree of success he found against the Red Sox and the Royals.
Pro: Gary Sanchez
As if having Torres in the lineup wasn’t enough, the Yankees also received terrific production at the plate from Sanchez. The Kraken hit .286/.348/.631 with nine home runs and a 152 wRC+. Among catchers with a minimum of 70 plate appearances in May, Sanchez placed second in terms of wRC+. Factor in improved defense and one must be thrilled with the catcher.
Con: Kendrys Morales and Austin Romine
Sometimes the Yankees take a flyer on a veteran and it works out brilliantly, like Cameron Maybin. Other times you get Morales. The 35-year-old had 48 plate appearances on the month, and he hit .128/.292/.205 with a home run. His 46 wRC+ is the worst mark on the team without dipping into the negative numbers.
That brings me to Romine, who has been quietly awful all month. Did you know he had a -3 wRC+ in May? Seriously, he hit .184/.184/,211 with a 21.1% strikeout rate across 38 plate appearances. Thankfully we’ve move beyond the “start Romine” phase. That was weird.
Pro: Aaron Boone
How does a team weather a storm where the top stars are all sidelined with injuries? Better yet, how does a team thrive under those circumstances? At some point it comes down to leadership. Boone oversaw the club’s dynamic run, and while he needs to get the hang of managing the bullpen, he deserves credit. Our FanPulse archives show that fans are coming around on the manager too, with scores in the mid-80s across the month.
On the subject of injuries, they’re still happening. This month saw a variety of pitchers hit the shelf, namely James Paxton, CC Sabathia, Jake Barrett, and Jonathan Loaisiga. As for position players, Miguel Andujar returned from the injured list, found the pain too difficult to manage, and then underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. Please let June be a healthy month.
Do you agree with this list? Have any pros and cons of your own? Let us know in the comment section!