The first half of the season was largely successful for the Yankees but because they’re in the same division as the Red Sox and Rays, they’ll need a strong second half as well to get to the playoffs. What players individually need strong second halves? Let’s take a look.
Andy Pettitte. Recently I said that if Andy wanted, he could probably float around the NL for a few more years and make a run at 300 wins. I still think this is true, but he absolutely needs to have a consistent second half. Otherwise, the Yankees letting him walk at the end of the season will be a complete no-brainer.
Joba Chamberlain. Joba has hit a bit of a speedbump in his development. This is certainly understandable considering his age, but Joba needs to start turning his considerable talent into quality starts.
Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod has had a streaky first half, probably due to his injury. However, he was heating up right before the break and if he wants to dispel the “he won’t be the same player without streroids” talk, he needs to post a big second half.
Melky Cabrera. The Melkman was a revelation early in the season but once again has begun to swoon. He doesn’t need to necessarily hit like he did in April – just enough to keep the platoon with Gardner working.
Brett Gardner. The other half of the CF experiment, Gardner has been giving Girardi reason for consistent playing time. He’s a very good defender and base stealer and seems to be figuring it out at the plate. The second half will likely determine what his future is moving forward and if he’s a real MLB caliber player.
Chien-Ming Wang. If he can just get healthy and get the ball every 5 days, he should okay. Those are big ifs at this point though.
Hideki Matsui. Like A-Rod, Matsui was building some momentum going into the break. A big second half would make him a lock for a major league contract next year, even if it’s not from the Yankees.
Sergio Mitre. Mitre will get his chance to start after the break and will likely be on a short leash. He’s never done anything at the big league level before and is coming off Tommy John surgery. He has pitched very well at Triple A though and obviously some scouts think he has potential. If he can make a contribution, it would be a great find for the Yanks.