The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Silver Slugger: Cano’s offense stands far above Yankees teammates in 2013

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Nov 07, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Robinson Cano

Absolutely no surprise that the Yankees landed one — and only one — Silver Slugger Award last night. Robinson Cano is a truly elite hitter, and he especially shines when compared to other second basemen. He was a lock for the award, which was his fourth in a row.

What remains a little bit jarring is just how far out of the mix the Yankees were at every other position. Their best bet for a second Silver Slugger was easily Brett Gardner, whose best tools remains his speed and defense; not his bat.

Going position-by-position in the American League, here’s where the Yankees regulars ranked in OPS compared to other A.L. players with at least 250 at-bats at each position. More often than not — using OPS as a very basic way to measure total offense — the Yankees had quite literally the league’s least productive regular at any given position.

Lyle OverbayCATCHER
Number of players with at least 250 at-bats: 15
Chris Stewart’s rank in OPS: 15th
This is what happens when a team’s regular catcher has a .565 OPS. It’s worth mentioning that Stewart’s first-half OPS of .622 would have been better than three other American League regulars — Jose Molina, J.P. Arencibia and Tyler Flowers — but Stewart’s second half was especially brutal.

Number of player with at least 250 at-bats: 15
Lyle Overbay’s rank in OPS: 14th
The only American League regular at first base who had a lower OPS than Overbay was Paul Konerko, who had an .857 OPS last year and a .669 this year (only a .660 if we’re strictly counting his at-bats as a first baseman). Overbay really helped keep the Yankees afloat for a while — remember, his bat was so potent mid-season that the Yankees tried him in right field just to keep him in the lineup when Mark Teixeira got healthy — but Overbay struggled in the second half, and his struggles against lefties would have left him in a platoon role had the Yankees been able to find a viable right-handed option.

Number of players with at least 250 at-bats: 13
Robinson Cano’s rank in OPS: 1st
By a lot, really. Cano had an .899 OPS this season (a number that was actually dragged down by his six starts a DH, when he hardly hit at all). The only other American League second baseman with an OPS in the .800s was Jason Kipnis at .818. Random side note… Mark Reynolds started that one game at second base for the Yankees and went 3-for-4 with a double. He had the league’s highest second base OPS for any player with more than one at-bat at the position. Hard to come up with a state more meaningless than that one.

Eduardo NunezTHIRD BASE
Number of players with at least 250 at-bats: 14
Jayson Nix’s rank in OPS: NA
Here’s a taste of the weirdness of this Yankees season. Their player with the most time at third base was Jayson Nix, but even he had just 112 at-bats at the position. David Adams and Alex Rodriguez each had 101 at-bats at third. So, not only did the Yankees get very little production at the position — Nix had a .619 OPS, which was lower than any other “regular” A.L. third baseman — they also lacked any sort of consistency. Five different Yankees had at least 50 at-bats as a third baseman this season.

Number of players with at least 250 at-bats: 15*
Eduardo Nunez’s rank in OPS: 11th
Technically, Nunez doesn’t meet the criteria because he had just 243 at-bats as a shortstop, but we’ll call it close enough (he had 304 total ABs). Overall, Nunez had a .679 OPS, a number brought down by his sluggish start to the season but boosted by his solid August and terrific September. Even so, his overall production was still in the bottom half of the league’s regular shortstops. *Nunez’s at-bats were close enough, I counted him in the total. 

Number of players with at least 250 at-bats: 13
Vernon Wells’ rank in OPS: 13th
Alfonso Soriano was the Yankees regular left fielder at the end of the season, and his .850 American League OPS would have made him a strong Silver Slugger contender in left field. But, of course, he had just 219 American League at-bats. Instead, the Yankees most-used left fielder was Wells, who was predictably among the least potent corner outfielders in the game.

Number of players with at least 250 at-bats: 15
Brett Gardner’s rank in OPS: 6th
The regular America League center fielders ahead of Gardner in OPS: Mike Trout, Adam Jones, Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus and Coco Crisp. Clearly Gardner’s not a Silver Slugger kind of player, but this is one of the few positions where the Yankees actually felt pretty good about their offensive output.

Number of players with at least 250 at-bats: 11
Ichiro Suzuki’s rank in OPS: 11th
If you count only Drew Stubbs’s right field at-bats, he actually finished below Ichiro — Stubbs had a .593 OPS as a right fielder, .665 overall — but overall, there was no regular right fielder who had an OPS as low as Ichiro’s .639. And you can keep making the at-bats cutoff lower and lower (well below 200 at-bats in right field) and Ichiro stays at the very bottom of the list. Hard to have a good offense with the corner outfield production the Yankees got in 2013.

Number of players with at least 250 at-bats: 7*
Travis Hafner’s rank in OPS: 7th
Just like at shortstop, Hafner actually falls just below the cutoff with 248 at-bats as a DH. Not that it really matters. You could drop the cutoff to 200 at-bats — which increases the field to 10 players — and Hafner would still rank at the very bottom of the American League with his .679 OPS. * Again, just like with Nunez, Hafner is counted in the total even though he’s technically just shy of the cutoff. 

Associated Press photos




Sponsored by:





    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.


Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581