The mid-2010s were a pretty dumb and weird time for the Yankees. That the worst period in recent memory is one where they still went over .500 every year and even made the playoffs once is something that many other franchises would roll their eyes at. In that sense, we’re lucky as Yankees fans.
Still, 2013-16 was a frustrating period to watch the team. It wasn’t annoying because they were mediocre teams as opposed to great ones. It was because they were just so boring. They dealt with so many injuries, and other than the 2013-14 offseason, all free agent signings and trades were often half-measures.
As a result, so many players shuffled through the roster in that time. They used 56 different players over the course of the 2013 season. They then used ever more the very next season, 56 again in 2015, and then only 53 in 2016. There just aren’t that many good players to go around, and plenty of them that ended up in pinstripes were mediocre and uninteresting.
In honor of the NCAA Tournament and brackets in general, I present to you: March Sadness, a bracket of random mid-2010s Yankees!
1. Travis Ishikawa vs. 8. Alberto González
Ishikawa earned his No. 1 overall seed because he is arguably the weirdest Yankee in the weirdest year. He played in one game, struck out twice, and was pinch-hit for by Lyle Overbay, who himself was a tough name to cut from this tournament. To make matters worse, Overbay then hit a home run, only for the YES Network graphics people to then accidentally rub salt in the wound.
Just days later, Ishikawa was DFA’ed by the Yankees. Weirdly, a little more than one year later as a member of the Giants, Ishikawa hit a pennant-winning, walk-off home run in the 2014 NLCS.
González was one of the cavalcade of infielders the Yankees used as shortstop and third base were the most injury hit positions all year. He gets the nod, as he ended up pitching a game.
4. Mike Zagurski vs. 5. Ben Francisco
Mike Zagurski pitched only 0.1 innings as a Yankee, but his career will be forever emblazoned in my mind. Just google him.
Ben Francisco was the guy who the Yankees decided to bat in the DH spot on Opening Day in 2013. His final numbers with the team that year were .144/.220/.182, and his only remotely-lasting memory is John Sterling’s bizarre home run call.
3. Jayson Nix vs. 6. Reid Brignac
No offense to him, but Jayson Nix is my all-time least favorite Yankee player (not human being, strictly as a player; there are definitely worse humans). There are obviously worse players too, but it seemed like every time that the handful of healthy, good Yankees got a rally going in 2013, somehow, Nix would be due up. And every time, he would just lightly roll one over to second, and the team wouldn’t score. I see it in my dreams. He also did this:
In 45 plate appearances with the 2013 Yankees, Brignac put up a -25 OPS+. NEGATIVE TWENTY-FIVE. (Somewhat amusingly, Brignac will be managing the Mets’ Low-A team in St. Lucie in 2021.)
2. Thomas Neal vs. 7. Chris Stewart
Neal is one of the quintessential 2013 Yankees, for this reason. He raked in Triple-A, and with the Yankees’ offense really struggling and dealing with injuries, many of us called for the Yankees to give him a shot in the bigs, because it couldn’t be worse than what we were watching. Turns out, it could be worse. They eventually did give Neal a shot and he hit .182/.308/.182 and was with another organization by August.
Stewart gets a low seed, as he wasn’t really a random Yankee; he was basically the starting catcher for most of the season. However, he has to make the tournament as this was the year, he “struck out” on two pitches.
1. Dean Anna vs. 8. Chaz Roe
Anna was once heralded as the “most underrated player in baseball.” After his 2014 stint with the Yankees, I can confirm: he wasn’t. He did also pitch once. He wasn’t underrated for that either.
Roe is now a decent reliever with the Rays. He wasn’t that quite yet in his two innings with the Yankees in 2014, allowing more than half of the batters he faced to reach base.
4. Stephen Drew vs. 5. Zoilo Almonte
Acquired in a bizarre Yankees-Red Sox trade deadline deal after the Yankees gave up on the Brian Roberts Resurrection Experiment, Drew’s career in pinstripes was most known for him hitting 20 home runs and doing almost nothing else at the plate. If you can believe it, his 2015 was actually an improvement on what he did for the Yankees the year before, when he made Roberts look comparatively good with a horrid 39 OPS+ in 46 games.
Almonte was very briefly fun for the Yankees in 2013. He had another stint with the team in 2014, where he put up an OPS+ of 1 (one). To his credit, Zoilo later went on to a better international career in Mexico and Japan.
3. Antoan Richardson vs. 6. Eury Pérez
Richardson will forever be a piece of trivia for being the runner that scored on Derek Jeter’s walk-off hit in his final game at Yankee Stadium. That is about the only interesting thing that happened in his 13-game career in the Bronx. Richardson himself retired a couple years later and has been the Giants’ first-base coach since 2020.
Speaking of Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium, that was not the final game of the season. They still had a series at Fenway Park to play after that. With all of the big names from that team likely, um, “getting the day off” for the first Red Sox game the next day, Pérez was the two-hole hitter in the funniest Yankee lineup ever.
Sure it's important that today is the five-year anniversary of Jeter getting the walk-off hit in his last game at Yankee Stadium, but that also means tomorrow is the five-year anniversary of the time the Yankees ran out this lineup pic.twitter.com/I1mhYQEHd2— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) September 25, 2019
2. César Cabral vs. 7. Josh Outman
Cabral also briefly played for the Yankees in 2013, but he goes in the 2014 region for one particular game. On April 18th, he hit three of four batters in a stretch against the Rays and was ejected basically for player safety reasons. He was DFA’d that night.
Outman only threw 3.2 innings as a Yankee, and they were pretty okay. However, considering his below average career numbers, his name is not nominative determinism.
1. Gregorio Petit vs. 8. David Carpenter
Petit’s last name is pronounced the same as the word “petite,” which is another word for small and dainty. Petit’s also a petite version of Andy Pettitte’s last name, which is fun. He also was fairly anonymous for the Yankees in 2015, and is now managing in the Astros’ system.
Carpenter was seen as the headline piece of the return as the Yankees dealt away former top prospect Manny Bañuelos. He was so bad for the Yankees that he didn’t even make it to July before getting traded away himself.
4. Rico Noel vs. 5. Chris Capuano
Noel was the Yankees’ designated baserunner in September 2015. He finished with five stolen bases and just two plate appearances.
Another multi-year Yankee, Capuano’s most famous outing came on July 28th when he was chased after 0.2 innings, having allowed five runs. Likely due to the jubilation of his exit, the Yankees then scored 21 unanswered runs to win by a weird football score of 21-5.
3. Brendan Ryan vs. 6. James Pazos
Ryan played for the Yankees from 2013-15, but this is the year he both pitched and grew a very weird mustache.
During this year’s trade deadline, Pazos was listed by Hal Steinbrenner as an “untouchable” prospect for some unknown reason. He’s had some decent years as a fringe reliever, but as a Yankees’ prospect, he should’ve been extremely touchable.
2. Esmil Rogers vs. 7. Sergio Santos
Rogers’ most famous game as a Yankees was the 19-inning marathon against the Red Sox on April 10th. With the Yankees having gone through most of their bullpen, it was basically left up to him to pitch. He went 4.2 innings before the Yankees finally lost. Before you say “wow, he kept the Yankees in it” for so long, no he didn’t. He gave up the lead three different times. It’s just that in the first two, the Yankees somehow rallied before being unable to do it a third in the 19th
Santos was a top-100 prospect in the mid-2000s. The Yankees would be the last stop on his major league journey, and it didn’t go great as he put up a 6.00 ERA in three innings before blowing out his elbow.
1. Chris Parmelee vs. 8. Conor Mullee
Parmelee was very briefly a lot of fun for the 2016 Yankee. He hit .500/.500/1.375 in eight plate appearances. Naturally, he then got hurt and never played for the team again. He hasn’t played a major league game since, but was active in the Dodgers’ organization as recently as 2019.
As evidenced by this post, I can remember a lot of Yankees who only played for the team briefly. I have no idea who Mullee is. I’m not sure his name appearing on the 2016 page on Baseball Reference isn’t actually just a prank.
4. Billy Butler vs. 5. Johnny Barbato
The man whose existence led to all of Kansas City hating Robinson Canó had a brief pit stop with the Yankees in September before ending his career.
Barbato threw 13 meh innings for the Yankees in 2016. He was traded to the Pirates early the next season, which is funny because his name sounds like a pirate’s.
3. Ike Davis vs. 6. Tommy Layne
Former great Mets hope Davis’s major league career ended on the 2016 Yankees. He went 3-for-14 with no extra-base hits.
Like Mullee, I also have no memory of anything Layne did as a Yankee, but I at least remember his name.
2. Ben Gamel vs. 7. Kirby Yates
Gamel would win the International League MVP in Triple-A this year, but also appeared in six games. He didn’t do a ton in pinstripes, but did have some nice hair. Gamel had a couple nice years with the Mariners before a couple less-good years in Milwaukee. He’s in camp with Cleveland on a minor-league deal.
Yates turned himself into an All-Star reliever, but wasn’t nearly at that level for the Yankees in 2016. The best discovery related to him that year was that he has a very good dog.
Who would you have winning? Let us know you favorite random Yankee from the mid-2010s!