Yanks Go Yard 2016 Season Awards
2016 Position Player of the Year: Gary Sanchez
Sanchez finished as the Yankees second most valuable position player this season according to Baseball-Reference’s WAR despite playing in less than a third of the team’s games. No player did more to fuel New York’s second half playoff run or to inspire hope in the future of this franchise during this season.
The 23-year-old rookie finished with a .299/.376/.657 (168 OPS+) with 20 home runs and 42 RBI in 229 plate appearances and is a strong contender for the American League Rookie of the Year award even after spending the first four months of the season in Triple-A.
The Yankees were 53-53 when Sanchez was promoted, but proceeded to go 31-25 (.554%) following his call up despite trading away three of their best players at the trade deadline. His performance in August was one of the most incredible months by any player I have ever seen, winning him both the AL Rookie of the Month and Player of the Month awards.
Runner(s) Up: Two players who contributed to the team all year and really deserve consideration for this title are shortstop Didi Gregorius and left fielder Brett Gardner.
At 26, Didi broke out with the best season of his young career, hitting .276/.304/.447 (97 OPS+) with 20 homers. His case was hurt by a second-half slump and the fact that his defense seemed to take a step backwards according to most metrics. Still, he was a consistent bright spot for the team for much of the year.
Gardy finished as the team’s most valuable position player according to Baseball-Reference, mostly thanks to a return to form on defense, a performance that warrants some serious consideration for his first career Gold Glove. His power numbers declined for the third consecutive year, but his .351 on base percentage was the best of any Yankees batter who reached 300 PA this season.