Top 5 New York Yankees defensive players in the last decade
The New York Yankees have had their fair share of offensive legends over the years. Heroes who reached mythical heights, such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, dominated the early 1900s. In the middle of the century, the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle wore the crown of the greatest bats ever to be swung in Major League Baseball. As the century turned to the 2000s, modern day legends like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez took the mantle. However, defense has forever been an overlooked topic on for the New York Yankees, though many would argue it is equally as important to the 27 World Series titles the club has garnered.
Here are the top 5 New York Yankees defensive players in the last decade
#5 Mark Teixeira
Teixeira arrived to the New York Yankees in 2009 via a free agency contract of $180 million to be paid over eight years after playing for the Texas Rangers and LA Angels. Teixeira would win three of his five Gold Glove Awards with the New York Yankees. His expertise and mastery with the first baseman's mitt led many to inflate the defensive value of players such as Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez. During his career, Teixeira accounted for 92 defensive runs saved.
#4 Robinson Cano
Aided by the defensive mastery of Mark Teixeira, Cano ascended to be one of the greatest defensive second baseman for the New York Yankees since Willie Randolph during the 1980s. While his defense fluctuated from year to year, when Cano was on, there were few players who manned the keystone in a smoother, more efficient manner. During his career with the New York Yankees, Cano accounted for 17 defensive runs saved, according to Fangraphs, and won two Gold Gloves. Cano would eventually go on to play for the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, and San Diego Padres.
#3 Aaron Judge
While many know Aaron Judge for his Ruthian level of offense, there is a reason that the New York Yankees refuse to let the outfielder focus on his offense from the designated hitter position. As a right fielder, Aaron Judge has accounted for 58 defensive runs saved and has a UZR of 33.3. Although he has not won a Gold Glove Award yet, Judge was able to win the Fielding Bible Award last season, which is awarded to a fielder based on his analytic defensive metrics.
"Shohei Ohtani nearly hits a home run but Aaron Judge goes up and gets it!"- @ Talkin' Yanks
The biggest questions around Judge aren't his abilities as a hitter or a fielder. The biggest questions are surrounding his future as a member of the Yankees.
#2 Masahiro Tanaka
While Tanaka's career with the Yankees ended on a flat note with the right-hander heading back to Japan to finish out his career, Tanaka was stellar with the glove. In his entire career with the Yankees, Tanaka never had a season in which he didn't have a positive value for defensive runs saved. Tanaka also won three Gold Gloves.
#1 Brett Gardner
Gardner was a stabilizing presence throughout his entire career with the Yankees. At the leadoff spot, Gardner leveraged his speed, vision, and discipline to help fuel the Yankees offense for over a decade. Gardner used those same skills to make him one of the greatest fielders of all time in the history of the club. In center field, Gardner saved 41 runs, according to Fangraphs. As he got older, he transitioned to left field, where his defense remained stellar, and he would go on to save 99 runs. Although Gardner only won a single Gold Glove in 2016, the speedy outfielder won three Fielding Bible Awards for his immaculate defensive prowess.