Last week I wrote about the All-Yankees team from 2002-2008. That exercise was designed to look at the Yankees’ teams which struggled in the early 2000’s, done in by poor pitching and absolutely atrocious defense.
After missing the playoffs in 2008 to close out the old stadium, the team entered the new stadium with a bang. Huge free agent signings of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira gave the team a boost and they won in the first year of the new stadium. So let’s repeat that same exercise, but this time from 2009-2016. I chose 2016 because that was the last season before the current Baby Bombers iteration of the Yankees.
C: 2011 Russell Martin – .237/.324/.408, 18 HR, 100 wRC+, 5.3 WAR
These numbers don’t seem impressive offensively, and they aren’t. In fact, Jorge Posada was the only Yankee catcher during this time with a real positive offensive contribution. However, end of his career Jorge wasn’t good behind the plate whereas Russell Martin was. 2011 was by far his best defensive season, according to FanGraphs, and that’s why his WAR is so high and why he’s included on this list.
1B: 2009 Mark Teixeira – .292/.383/.565, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 142 wRC+, 5.2 WAR
Although this season pales in comparison to Jason Giambi’s best offensive season, defense as always helps Teixeira out. We’re already seeing the difference in philosophy between the early 2000’s teams and late 2000’s teams. With Russell Martin and Tex starting us off, defense could actually be a strength of this team. Tex’s first season with the team was easily his best, and you could argue he was worth his entire contract that year with a World Series win.
Robbie was a beast throughout this time period, with 4 seasons above 5 WAR. 2012 was easily his best, and again it was because of defense. From 2009 – 2013 Cano played in at least 159 games each year and had a wRC+ between 130 – 150. That’s consistency, though now we know some of it may have been roid aided. Regardless, this was easily the best season for any Yankee position player during this timeframe.
3B: 2009 Alex Rodriguez – .286/.402/.532, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 141 wRC+, 4.1 WAR
ARod achieved these numbers in just 124 games after returning from a hip injury, ARod started the year in style with a 3-run homerun on the first pitch he saw. He ended the regular season in style by hitting 2 homeruns in the 6th inning of the season finale to give him his 12th straight season of 30 HR and 100 RBI. That luck continued into the postseason where he hit .365 with 6 HR and 18 RBI to carry the Yankees to a World Series title. For all the ARod haters out there, I ask would you rather have not won the ’09 World Series? If no, then stop the ARod hate.
That 2009 infield sure was something, eh? It’s been argued that infield was the greatest of all-time, and a huge season from Jeter was a part of that. Underrated note of Jeter’s 2009 was that he stole 30 bases which will make the small ball lovers happy.
The Gardy party started long before most of us remember. 2010 and 2011 Gardner were absolute beasts, with a combined WAR total of 11.3. The lovable bald leader was pretty great when he was younger as well, and nobody seems to remember that about him. On a team that could mash, Gardy’s 5 HR and 47 SB were exactly what were needed to help out.
The Grandyman had a season for the ages in 2011 belting 41 HR for the first time in his career while maintaining a well-rounded game. In addition to being a great player, Granderson has always been an even better dude which always made him easy to root for.
RF: 2010 Nick Swisher – .288/.359/.511, 29 HR, 134 wRC+, 4.4 WAR
Tbh, I wrote this post entirely so I could have a Swisher entry. Swish is easily one of my favorite Yankees from when I was a teen with his unbridled joy and exuberance at all times. Plus, he was an absolutely phenomenal ballplayer. While 2009 was dominant for the infield, you can see a changing of the guard to outfield dominance starting in 2010.
DH: 2016 Carlos Beltran – .304/.344/.546, 22 HR, 134 wRC+, 2.5 WAR
Just like last time, the DH spot is for a player who hasn’t been named yet. In this case, it works out perfectly because 2016 Beltran was primarily a DH. Late-career Arod was slightly higher on the WAR leaderboard, but he was already used. And, Beltran did this in just 99 games before being traded to the Rangers. Also, I like the symmetry of having at least one team member from the end of this time period.
SP: 2011 CC Sabathia – 237.1 IP, 8.72 K/9, 3.00 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 5.8 WAR
This task was basically choosing which CC season to go with, and I opted for 2011 because this had a higher strikeout total and more innings pitched per start. CC from 2009-2012 could have won the Cy Young any season and was an absolute workhorse for the team throwing 200+ innings in each.
A 3 WAR season from a reliver is absolutely preposterous, yet Dellin did it. The real reason I wrote this post was to honor my favorite Yankee of the past decade, Dealin’ Dellin. He is my large adult son and he will forever be in my heart despite who he plays for. Dellin was a lights out setup man for a number of years, and his 2014-2016 run is like nothing else for relievers in terms of consistency and dominance. Plus, it was nice to get one season during the “dark” years of 2013-2014.
As expected, the early part of this time period dominated. 8/11 of the choices were from the first half of this era, and 3 were from the 2009 championship team alone. 2013 is not represented here, nor is 2015. I expected nobody from 2013 to be on this list, but I thought 2015 might get a representative since that team made the playoffs. This era has now come to a close, and we are lucky to be witnessing the rise of the Baby Bombers.