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The Pinstripe Alley community grades the 2020 Yankees

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DJ LeMahieu: great! Gary Sánchez: not so much.

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last week, I put out a call for the Pinstripe Alley community to take its own swing at grading some of the 2020 Yankees after the PSA staff took its turn earlier in the offseason. Many of folks were kind enough to take the time to do so, and we received 157 responses.

No extra preamble is necessary, so below, you’ll find the results and some thoughts on each group of players. As a reminder, I only asked for grades on 20 of the 43 Yankees to play in 2020, as I didn’t want to overwhelm participants with a long and tedious survey.

Infielders/Catcher

Pinstripe Alley 2020 community grades (IF/C)

1B Luke Voit
Most common grade: A (32.1%)
Average grade: A-

2B DJ LeMahieu
Most common grade: A+ (73.2%)
Average grade: A+

SS Gleyber Torres
Most common grade: C (21%)
Average grade: C+

3B Gio Urshela
Most common grade: A- (24.8%)
Average grade: B+

C Gary Sánchez
Most common grade: F (49%)
Average grade: D-

The Yankees did pretty darn well around the horn, with the highest grades going, of course, to LeMahieu. A staggering 115 of the 157 responses gave the team MVP an A+, and it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t deserving. My only question is what LeMahieu did to piss off the one person who gave him a grade lower than the A-tier, a B-.*

*Incidentally, that was the highest grade this responder would go for anyone, though he also issued B-’s to Voit and Urshela. Tough crowd.

The results were worse for Torres and especially Sánchez, who failed by the evaluation of nearly half the responders. The remainder of his grades barely pushed him over the passing threshold, but the only person satisfied with a D- is Bart Simpson (good episode, though).

Outfielders/DH

Pinstripe Alley 2020 community grades (OF)

CF Aaron Hicks
Most common grade: C (18.5%)
Average grade: C+

RF Aaron Judge
Most common grade: B (27.6%)
Average grade: B-

LF Brett Gardner
Most common grade: C+ (17.2%)
Average grade: C+

RF Clint Frazier
Most common grade: A- (23.6%)
Average grade: B+

DH Giancarlo Stanton
Most common grade: B- (17.3%)
Average grade: C+

These are some colorful charts with grades all over the spectrum. Everyone earned an A by at least one evaluation, and everyone other than Frazier also failed by at least one, too. Unsurprisingly, the final results were mostly middling in the C to B range.

Frazier’s breakout year did earn him at least an A- on 45.3 percent of the votes, so he acquitted himself quite well. Only Voit and LeMahieu earned higher grades across the board among all position players.

Starting Pitchers

Pinstripe Alley 2020 community grades (SP)

SP Gerrit Cole
Most common grade: A (45.9%)
Average grade: A-

SP Masahiro Tanaka
Most common grade: B (32.5%)
Average grade: B

SP Jordan Montgomery
Most common grade: B- (21%)
Average grade: C+

SP J.A. Happ
Most common grade: C- (16.6%)
Average grade: C-

SP Deivi García
Most common grade: B (30.6%)
Average grade: B-

The results are in! Gerrit Cole is indeed good at chucking the ol’ apple 60 feet and six inches. He was the only starter to earn even one A+ (notching 16), but the average of the rest of his grades just barely brought his final evaluation to an A-. For what it’s worth, I’d have given him an A.

As for the rest of the starting staff, the numbers were pretty much what one would expect. Tanaka, García, and Montgomery were mostly deemed to be fine, and Happ’s awful postseason appearance soured opinions of him, even though his raw numbers were similar to those of Tanaka. That being said, kudos to the Happ family member who absolutely voted and gave him an A.

Relievers

Pinstripe Alley 2020 community grades (RP)

RP Aroldis Chapman
Most common grade: B (25.5%)
Average grade: B-

RP Zack Britton
Most common grade: A- (29.9%)
Average grade: A-

RP Chad Green
Most common grade: B+ (23.2%)
Average grade: B

RP Adam Ottavino
Most common grade: D+ (20.4%)
Average grade: C-

RP Luis Cessa
Most common grade: C (28.2%)
Average grade: C

The Yankees’ bullpen wasn’t as overpowering as in years past, but responders still mostly felt comfortable with the top three options, though Britton seems to have surpassed Chapman on the fan trust scale. Honestly, that’s where I would fall, too. He has been nails ever since the Yankees acquired him from the Orioles in mid-2018.

Ottavino’s 2020 wasn’t as bad if you ignore that one dismal night in Buffalo, but, well, you can’t. It was brutal and his shaky control regardless shook Aaron Boone’s faith in him. He only appeared in one playoff game.

Manager/GM

Pinstripe Alley 2020 community grades (misc)

Manager Aaron Boone
Most common grade: B (19.7%)
Average grade: C+

GM Brian Cashman
Most common grade: B (16%)
Average grade: C

Grading off-the-field personnel is a little more hazy and the staff didn’t even try it. However, I was still curious about the general perception of Boone and Cashman, so I included them in this survey anyway.

Just like the outfield, the results were very mixed. A modest chunk failed both of them, while several others were more forgiving. The C to B range seems about right for each figure, though naturally, your mileage may vary based on what your expectations were of this bizarre and shortened season. Either way, it seems quite evident that essentially no one was pleased by the decision-making process involved in the planning and execution of the tumultuous ALDS Game 2.

Also, some respondents asked why I didn’t include owner Hal Steinbrenner in the survey. I decided that it would be hard to evaluate him on a typical grading scale based on how little we definitely know about his contributions. If anything, I feel like he would have to be graded pass/fail.

Miscellaneous Comments

“Best players offensively in 2020 were DJ LeMahieu, Clint Frazier and Luke Voit. Pitching Gerrit Cole and Zack Britton excelled. Devi Garcia showed promise.” - Respondent No. 57

“The talent on the 2020 Yankees was better on paper than the product on the field. Management and upper-level decision making held this team back and ultimately cost the team a chance of a World Series in the end. Game 2 of the ALDS was frankly icing on the cake for a team trying to outsmart themselves.” - #UsetheOpener!!!

“Given the truncated season it was hard to give a letter grade to guys like Stanton and Chapman factoring in their injuries.” - quingbokong

“I hope to see improvements for many in 2021. Probably not Cashman, sadly. Hal gets a C. He got us Cole but didn’t give the green light at the trade deadline.” - Ruff Trade

“Several players have stark season vs. postseason splits. Stanton, for instance, earned almost all of his grade in the postseason.” - Respondent No. 53