2020 was quite an odd season for the Bronx Bombers. From the 60 game schedule to games without fans, it was a peculiar season across the MLB. Many Yankee players stood out to me throughout the year, winning the end of season awards.
Cy Young Award: Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole was outstanding for the Bronx Bombers this season. This season, Cole pitched to a 2.84 earned run average and struck out 94 batters over 73 innings. But, he had a 1.00 earned run average down the late stretch of the regular season. Cole proved that he was the total package the Yankees paid for in the off-season. Not to mention, he pitched great in the postseason. In the postseason, Cole pitched to a 2-0 record, recording a 2.95 earned run average and striking out 30 batters over 18.1 innings.
His stuff on the mound was flat out nasty this season, and he is very engaged in the team. The mics always pick up him offering support and encouragement to his teammates. The Yanks have something very special in Gerrit Cole, and he showed it in 2020.
Rookie Of The Year: Deivi Garcia
Deivi Garcia appeared in his first MLB start against the New York Mets in August. In that start, he went six innings, allowed four hits, one run, and struck out six. All Yankee fans knew that Garcia was something special from that start. He finished the season with a 3-2 record and with a 4.98 ERA. His one bad start against the Boston Red Sox inflated his earned run average a bit, but don’t let that fool you. From his poise to his nasty curveball among other pitches, he is a special pitcher. Garcia also was in the conversation to start a winner-take-all Game 3 of the Wild Card but that game was not necessary. Expect Garcia to be in the 2021 starting rotation as the sky is the limit for the 21-year-old.
Honorable Mention: Clarke Schmidt
Reliever Of The Year: Zack Britton
Zack Britton stepped up huge in the closer role when Aroldis Chapman was sidelined with COVID-19. He also stepped up as a late-inning man when Tommy Kahnle was ruled out for the regular season. This season,
Britton had a 1-2 record, but a 1.89 ERA and with eight saves- his most since 2017. Even outside of the closer role, he was a scary pitcher to face. Britton walked fewer batters. He gave up 12 hits through 19 innings, which is a solid ratio. Britton had a lot of dominant outings this season and I hope he can build on them in 2021.
Honorable Mention: Chad Green
Silver Slugger: Luke Voit
This is a somewhat obvious choice. Luke Voit propelled the Yankee offense when Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge were out with injuries. Voit led the way with a league-leading 22 home runs, and a .948 OPS, .610 slugging percentage, and a .277 batting average. Luke Voit and D.J. LeMahieu carried the Yankee offense when many stars were out with injuries which helped the Yankees clinch a playoff spot. He was raking all season long even though he battled with plantar fasciitis. Yankees fans should expect the same thing from Voit in 2021.
Honorable Mention: D.J. LeMahieu
Most Improved Player: Clint Frazier
When Clint Frazier was called up in August, he came up ready to fight. Frazier indeed showed that he is MLB ready and could be a valuable addition to the Yankees lineup. In his first appearance on August 12th, he came ready. “Red Thunder” tore up the opposing Braves pitching, going 3-4 with a home run. He went on a 4 game hitting streak with 2 homers in that span. Frazier remained consistent for the rest of the year, batting .267 with 8 home runs. Frazier noticeably improved on his fielding which was a cause for concern in 2019. It is safe to say that Frazier deserves the chance to stay with the club full time and to be the starter in left field.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Higashioka
Least Valuable Player- Gary Sanchez
This is a no-brainer. Gary Sanchez was horrendous in 2020. It’s hard to be worse than this, batting .147 with only 10 homers. The one highlight from Sanchez this season was his grand slam to defeat the Mets back in August, but that’s it for the most part. Sanchez has regressed year after year and has hit rock bottom. His offense and defense have hit rock bottom this season because the coaching staff wanted Sanchez to work on his pitch framing.
His effort on defense has been sluggish as he led the MLB in passed balls. Sanchez also struck out in 41 percent of his at-bats. When he comes up to the plate, he’s gonna either strike out or homer. But that’s a good portion of the Yankees lineup.
This may be the time to pull the plug on Sanchez, as the Yankees cannot deal with this any longer.
Bronx Bombers’ Most Valuable Player: D.J. LeMahieu
“LeMachine” as they call him put together a very good season in 2020. Batting .364 with 10 home runs and a .421 OBP, LeMahieu looked great and possibly better than last season. He is in the running for the American League MVP and has won the American League batting title. D.J. was out with a hand injury for a brief period of time in August but that did not slow him down. He led the Yankees in batting average, on-base percentage, hits, and OPS. LeMahieu was arguably the Yankees’ most clutch player in the lineup.
With D.J. LeMahieu becoming a free agent who is due for a big contract, it should be a priority for the Bronx Bombers to bring him back.
Honorable Mention: Luke Voit