While the playoffs go on without the Yankees, we’re looking back at what went right and what went wrong.
Here are the final grades for the position players in 2021 and a look ahead to 2022.
RF-CF Aaron Judge: A
He finally had a full, healthy and productive season. Judge showed he can stay on the field and carried this team offensively for six months. Now, it’s time for the Yankees to show him the money. Time to extend him.
OF-DH Giancarlo Stanton: A-
He will always be an inconsistent hitter, but when he is hot, he is the “unicorn.” He finished with 35 homers and 97 RBI and, perhaps most encouraging, he played in 139 games. He also played part time in the outfield, which made the Yankees lineup longer.
CF Brett Gardner: C
He was never expected to play the everyday role he was forced to when Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier both spent the majority of the season on the IL. After a brutal first half, he finished with his now-typical strong September.
LF Joey Gallo: D
A lefty power bat that would seemingly help the Yankees lineup. After acquiring him from the Rangers, however, the Yankees saw the cost. Gallo hit 13 homers in 58 games and struck out 88 times in that span.
OF Tyler Wade: B-
Wade, a part-time outfielder, made just 35 starts, so he was adapting to a tough role off the bench. His speed was helpful at times this season.
OF Clint Frazier: INCOMPLETE
Frazier lost his job as the starting left fielder, then spent most of the season on the IL with vision/dizziness issues.
2022: The Yankees will probably have Frazier back and they hope Hicks, but might need to think about a more reliable answer in center field. That could be Judge.
1B Anthony Rizzo: B
A smart trade for the Yankees. Rizzo came out blazing right after being acquired from the Cubs, but then contracted COVID-19, which slowed him down. Hit eight homers and drove in 21 runs for the Yankees. A defensive upgrade with a lefty bat that helped get Judge and Stanton get some pitches to do damage with.
IF DJ LeMahieu: C+
The 33-year old, who signed a $90 million deal for six years last season, had an acceptable, but un-LeMahieu like season. He was slashing .268/.349/.362 with 10 home runs when he went on the injured list on the last day of the regular season. I’s a far cry from last year when he won the batting title slashing .364/.421/.590, albeit in a COVID-abbreviated 60-game regular season. In his first year with the Yankees, LeMahieu hit .327/.375/.518 with a career-high 26 homers. He’s facing possible off-season surgery for a sports hernia.
3B-SS Gio Urshela: C
Urshela had a nagging knee injury all season and it showed. His OPS dropped from .881 (2019-20) to .720 this season. But he did play shortstop well when Boone had to finally move Torres.
1B Luke Voit: C
A fully disappointing season for Voit, who missed most of it dealing with a partially torn meniscus in his left knee and the aftereffects of the surgery to repair it. The slugger lost his job when the Yankees acquired Rizzo.
IF Rougned Odor: D+
Had so well-timed hits, but overall, was a wash. Popular in the clubhouse and with the fans for his fiery personality, Odor finished hitting .202/286/.379
2B-SS Gleyber Torres: D
A brutal season for the former shortstop. Defensively, he proved he could not be an everyday shortstop, so he was moved in mid-September to second base. Offensively, he’s lost the power that he flashed in his first two seasons in the big leagues. He hit nine homers with a .697 OPS.
3B-OF Miguel Andujar: INCOMPLETE
Dealt with hand issues all season. Not sure where his future lies on the field or in the organization.
2022: The Yankees need a shortstop of the future and it’s not Torres. They can go out and sign a proven shortstop — there will be plenty available via free agency — but will still have to shuffle their infield. With LeMahieu here for the long haul, does he move to first or third with Torres at second?
Gary Sanchez: C
The “Kraken” regained his power, hitting 23 homers this season, but continues to confound the Yankees and their fans. He’s a streaky hitter that goes through long dry spells. Defensively, he’s still struggled to frame pitches, but has done a better job blocking pitches.
Kyle Higashioka: C
Gerrit Cole’s preferred catcher is better at framing pitches than Sanchez and showed streaks of offense.
2022: It seems like every winter there is a debate on Sanchez’s future with the Yankees. It’s a tough position to make a move out, because there aren’t that make power-hitting, good defensive catchers available. These two could very well could be the catchers heading into next year.