Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Yankees 2015 MVP is…

The New York Yankees reached the 2015 postseason on the backs of several players, but only one name can be labeled the club’s most valuable player. I believe there are six candidates for the honor, but one clear cut winner. Let’s review the players in alphabetical order along with their individual cases, and then my argument for the best choice.

Carlos Beltran

Beltran began the season with a month of baseball that made him look like a washed up player. But, beginning May 1, Beltran was the team’s most consistent hitter.

531 PA, .276/.337/.471, 34 doubles, 19 HR, 67 RBI, 121 OPS+

Beltran showed he can still hit, despite playing an incredibly poor right field.

Dellin Betances

Betances posted superior numbers in his sophomore season, making his mark on 74 games in 2015.

84 IP, 6-4, 9 SV, 4 BS, 14.0 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 266 ERA+

Those numbers would have been even more impressive, if not for a rocky September when Betances looked like a regular relief pitcher and not one who dominated for much of the season.

Brian McCann

McCann’s final line surely shows improvement over his 2014 campaign, but a rocky second half leaves one to wonder how great his season could have been with even middling performance after the All-Star break.

535 PA, .232/.320/.437, 15 doubles, 26 HR, 94 RBI, 107 OPS+

McCann did an OK job behind the plate this season. He threw out 36 percent of runners trying to steal (MLB average was 32 percent) but he recorded a negative value (-2.5 RAA) in pitch-framing according to StatCorner, after many seasons near the top of the league.

Andrew Miller

Miller came to New York with lofty expectations after signing a big four-year deal with the Bombers. He answered the call taking over the closer’s role and making everyone forget about David Robertson.

60 G, 61.2 IP, 3-2, 36 SV, 2 BS, 14.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 196 ERA+

Miller showed plenty of poise in his first season as the Yanks’ closer and provides the club with a good deal of confidence at the back end of the bullpen for the next three seasons.

Alex Rodriguez

No one knew exactly what to expect from Rodriguez after missing 17 months of baseball, but he answered critics with a very productive season at the plate.

620 PA, .250/.356/.486, 22 doubles, 33 HR, 86 RBI, 130 OPS+

Rodriguez’s days as a fielder are numbered, but with the right amount of rest he could prove to remain productive for the remaining two years of his contract despite being in his early 40s.

Mark Teixeira

Teixeira was in need of a bounce-back season after two successive campaigns of mediocre performance. Teixeira was an absolute beast at the plate in 2015, and was stellar in the field.

462 PA, .255/.357/.548, 22 doubles, 31 HR, 79 RBI, 146 OPS+

Unfortunately, Teixeira missed the final 36 games of the season with a broken leg, severely undercutting his chances in the American League MVP race of which he was becoming a part of.

The winner...

An argument can be made for each player, as all of them carried the club at some point or another. All except for two had significant downturns at one point or another.

Beltran was bad for one full month. Betances was nothing special in September and October. McCann couldn’t hit much after the break. Rodriguez slowed down tremendously over the final two months-plus.

But, Miller and Teixeira were on top of their respective games for a majority of their seasons. Miller had a slight hiccup after coming off the disabled list and Teixeira was in an 8-game slump before getting hurt.

In picking between these two, I have to go with Teixeira. Miller was great, but in the end Teixeira’s fingerprints were on more games than Miller’s.

When Teixeira was in the lineup he was once again feared and he was carrying the Yankees not only with his bat but also with glove work at first base. He played like a rejuvenated man until he was done in by a fluke injury.

Take away Teixeira’s production and the Yankees don’t sniff the playoffs this season. Teixeira’s performance was a big part of the Yankees rise early in the season, and it’s no surprise that the offense as a whole went into a tailspin without him in the lineup.

What do you think? Was the Yankees' MVP one of the other five players, or someone I failed to mention? Let me know in the comments below.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.