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Top 5 Yankees Right Now

The top-5 Yankees; what a star-studded list it can be. When it comes to Yankees’ baseball, fans and critics expect superstars on this team. Elite talent who can compete for all-star appearances, gold gloves, silver sluggers, and MVPs. It’s simply the Yankee way, but with a big roster turnaround in 2016 and 2017, it’s time to re-evaluate who the biggest stars on this team are. This will include guys who are pending free agency just to make it as fun as possible. This could change if the Yankees lose or add players, but before we get into the top-5 Yankees, let’s look at some honorable mentions

Just Missed the Top-5 For the Yankees: Honorable Mentions

Aaron Hicks: He’s got a 7.1 fWAR and 121 wRC+ since 2018. Casual Yankee fans with no knowledge of the team will say “He hit .240 since then” but ignore his .359 OBP, .459 SLG, and .350 wOBA. His injuries and defense (-8 OAA since 2018) hold him off this list.

Luis Severino: He’s only off this list because of injuries. When healthy he’s a top-10 pitcher, but until we see him pitch 20 starts in normal Sevy fashion, we can’t say much yet. If he had 140 innings in 2019 and 40 in 2020, he’d be fourth or fifth.

James Paxton: He’s as talented as it gets, but his velocity dips due to injuries are scary, and until we see him touch 95-96 again, I don’t know if he’s a top-5 Yankee right now.

Gleyber Torres: Poor defense and a 121 wRC+ make it hard to put him in the top-5 when the position players ahead of him are either just as bad defensively but better offensively, or are better defensively and offensively. This will change in one to two years though.

Number 5: Luke Voit

Just barely getting into the stacked top 5 for the Yankees is Luke Voit. Since 2018 he has a 144 wRC+ and has been a premier offensive player for the Yankees. There is a lot to desire defensively from Luke Voit as he’s been just atrocious defensively, but that’s what most Yankees struggle with.

I considered Aaron Hicks, but injuries definitely are why I’m going to hold off of calling him their fifth-best player. Both have had bad defensive numbers since 2018 but Voit’s been the better hitter and played more games. Severino would’ve been an option had he played more in 2019 and 2020, but for now Luke the Nuke Voit holds this spot.

Number 4: Giancarlo Stanton

I would make the Severino argument for Giancarlo Stanton, but in the postseason we saw that this dude is a monster. Every at-bat he’d hit a missile, and in 199 games since 2018 he’s got a 5.1 fWAR and 131 wRC+ with two Outs Above Average.

He’s an elite hitter (better than Voit) and not a defensive liability, so I’m putting him over Luke Voit and as the 4th best Yankee on the team, even though Yankee fans will insist that he sucks for some reason.

Number 3: DJ LeMahieu

How is he not #1?” Relax guys, let me explain, please. While, yes, as a Yankee DJ has been great, I just can’t put him above the third spot. Since 2018 DJ has had a 9.9 fWAR, 122 wRC+, and .362 wOBA.

He also has a 16 OAA (three as a Yankee) which has made him a really good defender in MLB. Offensively as a Yankee he’s increased his barrels and his exit velocity to make him a very well rounded player. He has been a terrific ballplayer, however, he’s just not good enough to edge out the two guys ahead of him. Men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t.

Number 2: Aaron Judge

Call him a glass cannon but since 2018 Judge leads DJ in:

  • wRC+
  • xwOBA
  • fWAR
  • OBP
  • SLG
  • wOBA
  • HR
  • DRS
  • UZR/150
  • UZR

Phew, that was a long list. Yes, DJ plays more games and doesn’t strikeout, but you can’t be behind in all of those statistics and be better. Ever since they’ve been teammates Judge has always led in OAA, DRS, and xwOBA, and while in 2020 DJ was significantly better, Judge still led in xwOBA, meaning DJ probably overperformed in 2020. This isn’t to take anything away from DJ, where’s the shame in being worse than a guy like Aaron Judge? He’s the face of the franchise, and one of baseball’s best talents, however, injuries lag him behind the top spot.

Number 1: Gerrit Cole

When healthy I think Judge is better, but the lack of games played is just too much when evaluating from 2018-2020. Cole narrowly edges out Judge, and while he’s the only pitcher on this list, I’ve got to give him the nod.

Since 2018 he’s got a 2.82 SIERA and 12.90 K/9. I think he’s simply one of (if not the) best pitchers in the sport and there’s a reason we opened the VAULT for the guy. Judge could overtake this spot in 2021 (as coming into 2020 I thought Judge was better) but the injury concerns are now part of my opinion.

Who do you feel got snubbed from this list and what would you change? With an offseason ahead of us and some big names hitting the market who are either on the Yankees or are linked to them, this could change very soon. A top-5 list is always volatile for a team with higher expectations than the rest, so it can be totally different in 2021.

Have a baseball lover that you need to get a gift for? Check out our partner at Dugout Mugs! Create a personalized mug made out of the barrel of a bat. Great for any baseball fan, or, let’s be honest, yourself!

Have a baseball lover that you need to get a gift for? Check out our partner at Dugout Mugs! Create a personalized mug made out of the barrel of a bat. Great for any baseball fan, or, let’s be honest, yourself!

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