From 2005 to 2014, the New York Yankees scored 8,301 runs as a collective unit. That figure is more than any other team's total (the Red Sox, not surprisingly, scored the second most). Over this decade of offensive excellence, five of the franchise's highest home run totals have taken place, and some of the best individual performances in team history have occurred.
To determine what the most impressive five single-season campaigns by Yankees in this time span were, I looked at a combination of both traditional statistics (HRs, RBI, OBP) and more advanced figures (WAR, OPS+, Runs Created). However, there were other, more qualitative aspects to account for. Was the performance unexpected? How did that players' year compare to the offense as a whole that season? Keep in mind that only regular-season performances were assessed.
Note: "most impressive" is used here instead of "best" for many of the reasons described above–circumstances surrounding that player and that team could cause their statistics to have more significance than they may appear. Otherwise, this would really be just A-Rod's first five seasons with the team, and that would annoy the internet.
Granderson's 2011 fits the "unexpected performance" description the best out of any season on this list. His first year with the club in 2010 wasn't quite a disappointment, but his career-long struggles against left-handers persisted, as he posted just four homers and a .647 OPS against southpaws. A year later, with help from the awful, wretched, Kevin Long, Granderson was a born-again masher versus lefties. He slugged a robust .597, with 16 of his 41 home runs and a eye-catching 156 OPS+ coming against lefty hurlers. The Grandy Man, to boot, led the American League in runs scored and RBI, totals that figured heavily in his 4th-place MVP finish. Unless some late-career resurgence is in the works for Curtis, 2011 is likely to go down as his best professional year.
Practically out of nowhere, the Yankees shocked (or is annoyed the right word?) the baseball world by inking Mark Teixeira to an eight-year deal before the 2009 season. Like most of the team's acquisitions in that offseason, Teixeira's first year in pinstripes did not disappoint. In his age-29 season, Tex tied for the AL lead in home runs with 39, and no junior circuit player drove in more runs than his 122. His 344 total bases were also a league-best (would you have guessed that Aaron Hill was second?). Teixeira has often been accused of not coming through when it counts, but 2009, like it was for the entire team, was an exception. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Texieira posted a ridiculous .413 batting average on balls in play, which goes nicely with a 197 OPS+. He finished second in the MVP voting behind Joe Mauer. If this version of Tex is still around, tell him position players report to Tampa on February 25th.
Cano's 2013 season, his last in the Bronx, is, by most metrics, not his best with the Yankees. However, given the circumstances of being surrounded by the worst New York lineup in two decades, his excellent performance earns him the third spot on this list. For the first time since 1991, the Yankees posted a below-average offense, but that didn't prevent Cano from driving in 107 runs, recording a career-best .383 OBP, and a fantastic 147 OPS+. How important was Cano to a Yankees team that struggled so badly to score? In games the team won, Cano put up a .353/.432/.631/1.064 slash line, with 21 of his 27 home runs and 75 RBIs. To boot, his 118 Runs Created were ninth-best in the entire league. Had Jeter/Teixeira/A-Rod had more of a presence in the lineup that year, Cano's fifth-place MVP finish would most likely have been elevated. We miss you, Robinson.
The lesser of A-Rod's two MVP campaigns with the Yankees, but a remarkable season nonetheless. It began with one of the most sensational performances in team history, when Rodriguez hit three home runs and drove in ten runs in an April game in the Bronx. 2005 saw A-Rod, in his age-29 season, lead the league in runs scored (124) home runs (48), slugging percentage (.610), OPS (1.031), and OPS+ (173). As is the case with most MVPs, Rodriguez was at his best in team wins, of which there were 95 for the Yankees that year. In victories, the third baseman posted a .376/.490/.736//1.226 slash-line. Rodriguez created 163 runs, the second highest total of his career. His 48 home runs established a new franchise record for right-handers, breaking 1937 Joe Dimaggio's mark of 46. That was, until....
Quite possibly the best regular season by any Yankee hitter in the last 50 years. I chronicled the achievements of A-Rod's monster year in a previous piece, but there are a number of different ways to break down the second MVP campaign in the span of three years for number 13. It began once again with a torrid start, as Rodriguez tied the league record for home runs in April with 14. His OPS+ for the month was an absurd 245. April saw Rodriguez blast two walk-off home runs within the span of two weeks, indicating that this would be a different type of year for the embattled slugger. So much of the narrative for his tenure in pinstripes had been a failure to come up when it counted, but A-Rod flipped the script in '07 (at least until October, but that goes without saying, no?). In innings 7-9, he raked to the tune of a .356/.467/.706/1.173 line. The raw numbers of 54 home runs (a new team record for right-handed hitters) and a career-high 156 RBIs speak volumes as to how dominant a year it was for Rodriguez. How incredible is that RBI figure? Rodriguez had 708 plate appearances. The average number of RBIs for a player with that amount of trips to the dish is just 83. 166 runs created (a career-best). An OPS+ of 176. Anyway you look at it, A-Rod's 2007 is the best year of any Yankee within the past decade, and one of the best years in franchise history.
(Note: I don't believe anyone is in a position, rightly or wrongly, to dismiss the seasons Rodriguez posted in '05 and '07 based on potential PED use. Yes, something was probably going on in at least one, if not both, of these campaigns. History is history, however. Let's begin to try to accept that.)