This should be the final in this brief series of posts. I'm pondering the necesity of a third but I'm leaning heavily towards no.
Rookie of the Year- Brett Gardner
I'm not quite sure if he's technically a rookie or not but I'm going to go assume he is and roll with it. In any case, he's surpassed the expectations of idiots like me and risen to the top of a strong rookie class. Early on he had to fight for the centerfield job. Melky Cabrera's hot April and Gardner's slow start won Melky back the job. However, When things reversed themselves Gardner won it back and since he's been an exciting sparkplug for the Yankees. We all knew about his speed and he has not dissapointed, stealing 24 bases in 29 attempts, which could become more important in the heated pitching duels of October. However, to take advantage of that he needed to get on base at a decent clip and since his early adjustment period he's shown that he can do that with a line of .279/.354/.397. He has absolutely no power but that's just not part of his game. His biggest value comes in his defense, which brings me to my next award.
Gold Glove Award- Brett Gardner
This was a very difficult decision for me and I know I'm going to take some heat for not going with Teixeira here. However, the biggest reason for the Yankees much improved defense this year has been Brett Gardner. His speed allows him to cover more ground out there than anybody we've seen man centerfield in the Bronx in a LONG time. Gardner also has a cannon for an arm, which he has shown to the dismay of opposing baserunners on many occasions. He's not very flashy out there but Gardner quietly emerged as one of the best defensive outfielders in the game this year. Obviously Mark Teixiera deserves honorable mention and the difference between him and Giambi has been immeasurable. He's gunned guys down at the plate, turned double plays, and made some diving plays that just make you shake your head. However, I don't think first base is as important defensively as centerfield and the stats don't really back up Teixeira. His UZR/150 is just a tick below average at .9 and his rate 2 is just a couple ticks above average at 104. I think he's been much better than that, just not as good as Gardner though.
Silver Slugger- Mark Teixeira
Now this was an easy one. Although he went through an adjustment period in April, as soon as he got some protection from A-Rod, Mark Teixeira became one of the most feared hitters in the American League. His 37 home runs trail only Carlos Pena in the American league and he could eclipse him by year's end. His line of .293/.383/.563 pegs him as a guy that fits perfectly into the middle of the Yankees' fearsome lineup. Since A-Rod's return he's been a force that no pitcher has seemed capable of stopping. Its ironic that the winner of this award didn't get any of the many walk off hits this season delivered. However, Teixeira did his work early on and won plenty of games for the Yanks with his bat. Nobody on the Yankees really came close, although I briefly considered A-Rod for the award before I came to my senses.