Yanks Go Yard 2016 Season Awards

Sep 26, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (25), left fielder Brett Gardner(11), pitcher CC Sabathia (52) and catcher Gary Sanchez (24) react to a two-run home run hit by right fielder Aaron Hicks (not pictured) against Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (25), left fielder Brett Gardner(11), pitcher CC Sabathia (52) and catcher Gary Sanchez (24) react to a two-run home run hit by right fielder Aaron Hicks (not pictured) against Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 10, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches in the 2nd inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches in the 2nd inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

2016 Pitcher of the Year: Masahiro Tanaka

There’s not much to debate here. Tanaka was not just the best pitcher on the Yankees, for much of the year he had a pretty strong case for being the best pitcher in the American League, although missing his last two starts with a minor forearm strain more or less removed him from consideration in an extremely tight AL Cy Young award race this year.

Tanaka finished the season as the third most valuable pitcher in the AL according to Baseball-Reference’s wins above replacement metric with 5.4 WAR. He also had the third best ERA (3.07), fourth best winning percentage (.778), fifth best WHIP (1.077), and third lowest BB/9 among qualified AL starters.

The 27-year-old right-hander set new career highs in games started (31 GS) and innings pitched (199.2 IP) even with the injury at the end of the season. The decision to rehab the partial tear in his UCL has been largely vindicated, as he looks every bit the ace the Yankees thought they were getting when they signed Tanaka before the 2014 season.

All of this makes Tanaka’s impending opt-out following next year all the more awful. Will the Yankees consider extending their ace this winter? Fingers crossed.

Runner Up: Even though he was traded at the deadline, Andrew Miller finished as the third most valuable Yankees pitcher and seventh overall on the team with 2.3 WAR. Bonus points for getting us Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield as well.