Top Five Bright Spots of the Yankees 2016 Season

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

2. A Healthy and Dominant Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka put to rest any doubts among fans that he is a “true ace” with his first healthy MLB season. Even after missing his last two arms with a minor forearm strain, Tanaka will finish as the third most valuable starter in the American League with 5.5 wins above replacement according to Baseball-Reference’s metric.

Frustratingly, Tanaka will finish one-hundreth of a point shy of the AL ERA title. If he had gotten the chance to make his final start Saturday (he was reportedly healthy and anxious to finish the season strong regardless of the team’s playoff standings), there was a very real chance he could have finished as the leader in that category.

Another irritating result of Tanaka missing his final start is he will fall just one-third of an inning shy of the 200 IP mark, a milestone the Yankees ace set as a goal for himself before the season. Still, the number is ultimately arbitrary, and the fact is that Tanaka was one of the most durable and reliable arms in baseball, finishing 10th in the AL in innings pitched.

While Tanaka will likely fall shy of the AL Cy Young award, but he can take consolation in being the Yankees team MVP this year (and it isn’t even really close, sorry Gary).