First-quarter grades: Where each player on the Yankees' 26-man roster stands (2024)

The New York Yankees have the best record in the American League at 30-15. They just swept the Minnesota Twins, who entered this series as one of the hottest teams in baseball. But the Yankees keep rolling and now have a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, the AL’s worst team, beginning Friday night.

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The Yankees just passed the quarter-way mark of the season. Here’s how we grade every player on the 26-man roster:

Catchers

Jose Trevino
Grade: A
Trevino started the season 1-for-18, yet he has a 126 wRC+ on the season because he has the highest on-base (.337) and slugging (.443) percentages of his career. Combine that with his Platinum Glove-level defense, and the Yankees have one of the best-performing catchers so far. — Kirschner

Austin Wells
Grade: B
This time last year, Wells was at Double A. He’s been solid in his first non-September run as a big-league option, almost exactly splitting the workload with Trevino. He’s making impressive contact. He’s already one of the game’s top framers. We expect more balls to fall for the 24-year-old. — Kuty

Infielders

Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Grade: B
It’s been a weird season for Rizzo. For the first few weeks, it looked like he was playing in slow motion. He made bizarre blunders in the field and wasn’t hitting at his normal standard. But in the past two weeks, Rizzo has been on a tear at the plate and looked like himself in the field. — Kirschner

Gleyber Torres, 2B
Grade: D-
Torres hasn’t been a zero with the glove, accruing 2 Outs Above Average, per Statcast. That’s about the only good thing there has been to say about Torres’ start, which has been terrible offensively. Is he pressing because it’s his walk year? Is he going to snap out of it? — Kuty

Anthony Volpe, SS
Grade: A
He’s one of 12 players with at least 2 fWAR. He’s much-improved at the plate and he’s even better defensively than last season when he won the Gold Glove. Even if he slows down a bit offensively, his defense and base running alone provide excellent value. — Kirschner

Oswaldo Cabrera, 3B
Grade: B
What more could you ask for from Cabrera, who was thrust into the starting role at third base when DJ LeMahieu fractured his foot at the end of spring training? He started hot and cooled off just in time for Jon Berti to get reps. And he’s brought the energy. — Kuty

Jon Berti, 3B
Grade: C-
The expectation for Berti when the Yankees acquired him the day before the season opened was he’d at least become a platoon option at third base with Cabrera. That hasn’t happened, and it’s mainly because Cabrera opened the year being one of the best hitters in MLB. But Berti hasn’t done much in his limited time. He missed a few weeks because of a groin strain, and sporadic playing time hasn’t allowed him to find a groove yet. — Kirschner

Jahmai Jones, 2B
Grade: B
Ten plate appearances over 11 games. It’s almost tempting to give Jones an incomplete grade for how little the Yankees have used him. His home run on Mother’s Day — the first blast of his MLB career — brought good vibes. — Kuty

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Outfielders

First-quarter grades: Where each player on the Yankees' 26-man roster stands (2)

Alex Verdugo returns to the dugout after hitting a three-run homer against the Astros. (Wendell Cruz / USA Today)

Alex Verdugo, LF
Grade: B
He’s cooled off a bit at the plate but he’s been a major upgrade in left field from what the Yankees had last year with their merry-go-round options. Even if Verdugo was bad offensively, his defense alone is significantly better than what we saw in 2023. If he can be a slightly above-average hitter to go along with the defense we’ve seen by the end of the year, that’s a win for the Yankees in left field. – Kirschner

Aaron Judge, CF
Grade: B+
Yes, Judge hit .207 through April. Yes, there were times when he didn’t look like himself at the plate. But he’s having such a torrid May, he’s playing full-time center field at the start of a season for the first time in his career, and his team is excelling. — Kuty

Juan Soto, RF
Grade: A
He’s been even more than what the Yankees could have imagined when they traded for him this past offseason. He has helped transform the lineup while also being better than expected defensively in right field. If he continues playing like this, he will be an American League MVP candidate. — Kirschner

Trent Grisham, CF
Grade: C
Grisham’s usage has been so much less than anybody expected, especially him. He’s said that Boone and the coaching staff have checked in with him to see how he’s handling it after being a starter for the prior five years and a two-time Gold Glover. Two hits in 29 at-bats though? — Kuty

Designated Hitter

Giancarlo Stanton
Grade: B
He’s a hard player to evaluate. Stanton is hitting home runs and has been well above average at the plate. The most important thing: He has stayed healthy. If he continues clobbering homers, he has value for the Yankees in the middle of their order. — Kirschner

Starting pitchers

Nestor Cortes, LHP
Grade: C
Cortes’ 4.02 ERA is the worst on an otherwise stellar Yankees rotation. Two of his nine starts were stellar. The rest? Middling to good. The Yankees expect more of a healthy Cortes, and he does, too. Good signs? He’s not giving up much hard contact or many walks. — Kuty

Luis Gil, RHP
Grade: A+
One of the biggest surprises of the season so far. Gil has developed into a top-of-the-rotation starter coming off Tommy John surgery. Because of that, it’s still likely he’ll go into the bullpen when Cole returns. But Gil is a special talent. He’s been unhittable and should play a major role for the Yankees in any capacity. — Kirschner

Carlos Rodón, LHP
Grade: A-
A lot was expected of Rodón with Cole out. The Yankees needed him to lead. Of course, he’s had plenty of help in the rotation, but he’s looked much more like the $162 million pitcher he was supposed to be. Extra points for diversifying his arsenal past fastball-slider and for keeping cool. — Kuty

First-quarter grades: Where each player on the Yankees' 26-man roster stands (3)

Clarke Schmidt pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his career in Thursday’s 5-0 win over the Twins. (Matt Krohn / USA Today)

Clarke Schmidt, RHP
Grade: A
Schmidt isn’t the flashiest starter the Yankees have but he’s the most consistent. The Yankees know when he’s on the mound he’s going about five innings and giving up three or fewer runs. He’s kept the Yankees in every game he’s started so far. — Kirschner

Marcus Stroman, RHP
Grade: B
Stroman’s six scoreless innings against the Minnesota Twins went a long way toward bumping his grade — and dropping his ERA to 3.33. Lots of walks (4.6 BB/9) through his first eight starts dinged him, though. He’s fit the clubhouse well and has been a sounding board for Schmidt and Gil. — Kuty

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Relief pitchers

Nick Burdi, RHP
Grade: B
Burdi was a revelation in spring training when none of the Yankees’ starters could hit him in live batting practice. Because of how electric he was, Burdi went from a non-roster invitee to getting a spot on the 26-man roster. Burdi missed some time with hip inflammation and hasn’t pitched much but he’s been effective when he has, even with command issues. — Kirschner

Caleb Ferguson, RHP
Grade: D
Ferguson had a career 3.43 ERA before this season. A 6-plus ERA so far? Woof. — Kuty

Victor González, LHP
Grade: B-
Gonzalez has a 2.84 ERA, but he’s been one of the luckiest pitchers in MLB. His FIP is 6.43 and none of his advanced metrics are encouraging. — Kirschner

Ian Hamilton, RHP
Grade: C+
Hamilton had a rough stretch that made his sub-3 ERA look better than he’s been. The Yankees thought he might be the Michael King replacement in the bullpen. Not yet. — Kuty

First-quarter grades: Where each player on the Yankees' 26-man roster stands (4)

Clay Holmes still hasn’t given up an earned run in 2024. (Erik Williams / USA Today)

Clay Holmes, RHP
Grade: A+
It’s the middle of May and Holmes has the same ERA as you and me: 0.00. Sure, there might be times when Holmes gives a scare to the fanbase but no one in the sport has been a better closer this season. — Kirschner

Dennis Santana, RHP
Grade: C-
Santana jumped into the bullpen when Jonathan Loáisiga’s season ended with an elbow injury. He’s in the back of the bullpen, out of options and hasn’t seen much crunch-time duty. Nor should he. — Kuty

Michael Tonkin, RHP
Grade: B
Tonkin is only here until Tommy Kahnle returns from rehab, which could be as soon as this coming week. When Kahnle is back, Tonkin will likely be DFA’d to make room. It’s a tough role to have knowing that reality. Tonkin has done his job — eat innings — when called upon. — Kirschner

Luke Weaver, RHP
Grade: A
Weaver has been the true King replacement. Leaning on a mid-90s fastball, changeup and cutter, the 30-year-old journeyman has been a revelation, turning into Boone’s most trusted reliever not named Holmes. Signed for $2 million, he’s been a steal. — Kuty

(Top photo of Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Anthony Volpe: Cole Burston / Getty Images)

First-quarter grades: Where each player on the Yankees' 26-man roster stands (2024)
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