In addition to defending his homerun derby crown tonight, Robinson Cano will lead a contingent of four Yankees in tomorrow’s All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Although that total is half the amount of Bronx Bombers selected to the previous two Midseason Classics, the Yankees will have three starters for the first time since 2004. Seeing so many pinstripes take the field at the start of tomorrow’s game should be a treat for Yankees’ fans, but, considering how much the franchise’s representatives have struggled in the summer baseball showcase, the rest of the American League probably isn’t as excited.
Note: Not every player actually appeared in the game.
Since the inaugural All Star Game in 1933, the Yankees have had 121 (71 position players and 50 pitchers) different representatives account for 410 (285 position players and 125 pitchers) total selections, the most of any team. However, the team’s players haven’t exactly made the most of their opportunities to shine. In nearly 600 plate appearances, representatives from the Bronx have hit only .228/.300/.341, which ranks 22nd in terms of OPS. Yankees’ All Stars have also struggled in the clutch, compiling a WPA of -4.172, the lowest cumulative franchise figure and worst in the American League per plate appearance. After so much pinstriped failure, the pressure will be on Cano, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter to make amends.
If one Yankee is capable of representing the team well in Kansas City, it’s Derek Jeter, who joins Joe DiMaggio as a 13 time All Star (Mickey Mantle at 20 and Yogi Berra at 18 are the only Yankees with more selections). In his previous 12 games (11 played), Jeter has not only compiled the highest All Star Game OPS by a member of the Yankees, but also ranks ninth among all players with at least 15 plate appearances. The Yankees’ short stop also owns the distinction of being the only team representative to win an All Star Game MVP, so the Captain has nothing to hang his head about when it comes to the franchise’s performance in the Midseason Classic.
Note: Minimum 10 plate appearances
Although more productive than their offensive counterparts, Yankees’ pitchers also haven’t been a great help to their American League brethren. In 119 2/3 innings, franchise hurlers rank 19th (albeit in a much larger sample) with a 4.21 ERA, which is also one-half run per game higher than the All Star Game average. With CC Sabathia injured and unable to appear in the game, the Yankees will have to wait until next year to begin improving on that mark.
On an individual basis, only seven Yankees have pitched at least five innings in the July exhibition, but two from that group have had notable success. Mariano Rivera, whose 12 All Star selections are tops among franchise pitchers, has not surrendered an earned run while recording a record four All Star Game saves. In addition to having the most prolific All Star closer, in Lefty Gomez, the Yankees can also boast one of the most successful starters. Not only are Gomez’ three wins unmatched in All Star history, but his five starts are tied with Don Drysdale and Robin Roberts for most all time.
Yankees’ All Star Pitchers, Ranked by Innings
Note: Includes all pitchers with at least five innings pitched