5. Chris Carter (best Yankees season by WAR: 2017, -0.7 WAR)
Believe it or not, but Chris Carter played the most innings at first base for the 2017 Yankees. Check out his 2016 versus his 2017:
He ended up being designated for assignment twice before being released on July 10. I think it is safe to say that his time in pinstripes did not work out.
4. Lyle Overbay (best Yankees season by WAR: 2013, -0.1 WAR)
Ah, the 2013 team. Somehow that team managed to win 85 games, and Overbay started 114 games at first.
Overbay went on to hit .240 with 14 HR and 43 RBI 485 plate appearances. He had a below-average 87 wRC+ but was solid defensively with a .996 fielding percentage. He ended up platooning with Mark Reynolds once the Yankees signed Reynolds on August 15. While he wasn’t that good, he was serviceable for a middling team by Yankees standards.
3. Greg Bird (best Yankees season by WAR: 2015, 1.1 WAR)
Bird burst onto the scene in 2015 with 11 HR and 31 RBI in just 46 games. That year he had an amazing wRC+ of 137. He had a ridiculous hard-hit rate of 53.3 percent. He was supposed to be the first baseman of the future. Unfortunately, as we all very well know, that did not happen.
After missing the entire 2016 season because of a torn labrum, Bird ended up playing just 140 games from 2017-2019. His batting average over those three years was a paltry .194. In 2019, before missing most of the season with a left plantar fascia tear, he played in 10 games with an awful wRC+ of 54 and a strikeout rate of 39.0 percent.
Beyond his hitting, he was an average defender, having an outs above average (OAA) of 0 or 1 from 2017-2019. But while his overall body of work as a Yankee is not good at all, his two months in 2015 was enough to put him over Overbay.
2. Luke Voit (best Yankees season by WAR: 2019, 1.7 WAR)
No one expected Voit to be as good as he has been. He hit 14 homers with 33 RBI in just 39 games in 2018 after he came over form the Cardinals and hit 21 homers last season in an injury-shortened campaign (118 games played). He’s a pretty poor defender (-6 OAA in 2019) but his bat led him to have a 126 wRC+ last season.
Looking at Baseball Savant’s player similarity tool, Voit’s closest matches were Max Muncy (0.86/1.0) and Bryce Harper (0.80/1.0) — not bad company. He was in the top nine percent of the league with a 13.2 percent barrel rate and the top six percent with a 13.9 percent walk rate.
If he can stay healthy, Voit has a shot to be a top offensive first baseman in the league.
1. Mark Teixeira (best Yankees season by WAR: 2011, 4.3 WAR)
Teixeira is the most recent long-term Yankees first baseman. He played in the Bronx from 2009-2016 and won a championship with the team (although I’m only looking from 2010 for this exercise).
Since 2010, Tex blasted 167 home runs, including his last: a walk-off grand slam against the Red Sox (he could be number one just for that).
Although he experienced many injuries throughout his time as a Yankee leading him to play no more than 123 games from 2012, he still put up solid numbers during the latter part of his career. In his second to last season in 2015, he hit 31 home runs with 79 RBI in just 111 games for a wRC+ of 143.
He was also considered a very good defender at first, having a .997 fielding percentage and 5.2 UZR/150 at the position over his career.
All in all, Tex was the premier first baseman for the Yankees over the last 10 years.