Now that the New York Yankees are thirty games into the 2013 season, let’s take a breath and choose our first “Player Of The Month!” Of course, it is not a calendar month, but it is 30 games. The presented statistics are taken from the games prior to May, 7. Two pitchers and two non-pitchers are selected as finalists. While none of the finalists should come as a surprise, there is always room for debate.
All Cano has done is lead the Yankees in batting average (.325), home runs (8) and in runs batted in (19). That’s not a bad start for a player who has had some slow starts in his career. Cano has assumed the leadership role with the absence of Derek Jeter. At this pace, he is a certain all-star and a top MVP candidate.
Hafner is second to Cano on the Yankees in all three categories. He is batting .291 with six home runs and 18 RBI through the first thirty games. He actually has a higher on base percentage (OBP) at .417, and on base percentage plus slugging (OPS) with .999, than Cano. Hafner is undoubtedly the most pleasant surprise this year for Yankees fans.
Kuroda is the Yankees top starting pitcher in terms of numbers. He has quietly developed into the staff ace. He has four victories in his first five decisions. His earned run average is a sparkling 2.25. Remember, his numbers improved last year as the season progressed. A similar improvement this year will have him contending for The Cy Young Award.
Okay, we can exhale, Rivera is healthy and all the way back. He is 11 for 11 in save opportunities this year. Equally encouraging is his 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings. The break on his fastball seems as sharp, or sharper, than ever. Could the Yankees have two contenders for The Cy Young this year?
The “Player Of The Month” selection goes to Rivera. He has had a direct effect on two-thirds of the Yankees first 18 wins. Yankees’ fans should sit back and enjoy this. What we have the privilege of watching for one final season is likely to never happen again.