Earlier this week, Randy, Bobby, Derek, and I drafted former Yankee seasons to impose on 2021 for the greatest impact. We stipulated that it had to be from our lifetimes, just to make it a little narrower. Ironically, Randy, the oldest among us, picked the most recent Yankee season. Now, instead of just limiting to four picks, I’m going to run through the years to pick the best season from each position and make a ‘roster’ of seasons/players to pick from.
Catcher: 2007 Jorge Posada. .338/.426/.543. Enough said, right? One of the best seasons by a Yankee catcher ever.
First base: 2002 Jason Giambi, as Randy mentioned in his write up and the podcast. .314/.435/.598. By OPS+ (172) this is actually Giambi’s third best season ever, behind only his monster 2000 and 2001 campaigns. Big G was and is underappreciate by Yankee fans, but his addition to this team would be a boon (as much as we love Luke Voit, of course).
Second Base: 2012 Robinson Cano. Derek mentioned this at the end of his writeup the other day and I have to agree. .313/.379/.550 (149 wRC+)? Hell yeah. That would make people forget about DJLM, right? Not that we want to do that, but you know what I mean.
Third Base: 2007 Alex Rodriguez. 54 homers. .314/.422/.645. This is one of the best seasons by a right-handed batter, ever, let alone Yankee seasons. Grand by any stretch of the imagination, this season alone could will the Yankees into the playoffs.
Shortstop: 1999 Derek Jeter as I mentioned in the post. Probably should’ve won MVP.
Left Field: Despite the Yankees being generally great for my whole life (1987), left field hasn’t been a shining spot for them. My first thought was 2004 Hideki Matsui (.912 OPS/137 OPS+, 31 homers, 162 games), but I’ve settled on 1988 Dave Winfield. In the year I turned one, Winfield hit .322/.398/.530/.927 for a 159 OPS+. As much as we all love Clint Frazier, it’s doubtful he does that this year.
Center Field: 1998 Bernie Williams. .339/.422/.575. A 160 OPS+. Led the league in batting average. Socked 26 homers. Walked 74 times to only 81 strikeouts. This was Bernie’s best season and the best season by a Yankee CF since Mickey Mantle, probably (though Bernie really just had to best himself there, right?). This sort of up-the-middle offense would be killer.
Right Field: 2017 Aaron Judge. This season should’ve won MVP. And even though he’d be replacing himself, which is a little amusing, it’s hard to argue against .284/.422/.627 and 52 homers. Like the A-Rod season, this alone could lift the 2021 Yankees (with everyone else around, of course) to the playoffs.
Starting Rotation: 2011 CC Sabathia, 1997 Andy Pettitte, 2001 Mike Mussina, 1997 David Cone, 2010 CC Sabathia.
Bullpen: Just every single year possible of Mariano Rivera. Let’s take his eight best, then? 1996, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1999, 2009, 2011.
What would your roster be? Let us know in the comments!