The New York Yankees' 2023 season was one they wish to never experience again. Their 82-80 record is not terrible, but it is also largely cosmetic; the Yankees were six games below .500 as late as August 27th this season. Being merely above .500 isn't anywhere close to the standard the Yankees set for themselves at the beginning of each season. They want titles. They want another World Series, the trophy that has eluded them since 2009.
Finishing with a winning record didn't save the Yankees from a complete catastrophe, but there were some positives that happened along the way. Aaron Judge was his usual dominant self when he wasn't injured. The same applies with Gerrit Cole on the pitching side of things. The Yankees might have a gem in their midst with Jasson Dominguez, who played terrific ball before he got hurt. But still, they ended the season far away from where they want to be: the postseason. For that, the blame game is sure to be played. Two areas of the Yankees' roster sticks out for large distribution of the blame pie.
2) Yankees' starting pitching not named Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole put together yet another stellar season. He posted a 2.63 ERA, a 7.5 WAR, and a 0.98 WHIP on the season. He was fantastic. But there wasn't another Yankee starter who came anywhere close to putting up the type of season that Cole did. Of the Yankees starters who made at least one start and pitched at least 63 innings, only one pitcher not named Cole finished with an ERA below four: that would be Michael King, who only started nine of the 49 games he appeared in this season. Of this group, only Cole, King, Domingo German, and Jhony Brito posted a WHIP below 1.25. It was a largely uninspiring performance from the Yankees' starting pitching this season.
The Yankees' bullpen did perform very well, however. It's a large reason why the Yankees finished ninth in the league in ERA, sixth in WHIP, third in opponents' batting average, and 12th in strikeouts. But, they finished tied for 22nd in MLB in quality starts on the season with only 48 of them; Gerrit Cole had exactly half of those quality starts. Quality starts aren't the most scientific stat out there, but does provide a baseline for what a team should expect out of a starting pitcher in any given game. The Yankees only got 24 of those from their non-Cole starters. That's unacceptable.
1) Yankees' hitters not named Gleyber Torres or Aaron Judge
When Aaron Judge was sidelined for a portion of this season, that might as well have served as a death knell for the Yankees' season. They weren't served many favors with Anthony Rizzo being injured for most of this season too, but the Yankees did not get much from their hitters outside of Judge, so without him, they were lost.
Two players outside of Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres finished the season with more than 20 home runs: Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Volpe. But their batting averages were .191 and .209, respectively. The Yankees had only five players with at least 100 at-bats all season to finish with an on-base percentage above .300. Only Judge and Torres were able to get on base on at least one third of their at bats.
As a result, the Yankees finished near the bottom of almost every hitting statistic in the sport. That is unacceptable and can't happen ever again if this team wants to compete for titles. Jasson Dominguez provided a spark in his few outings this season, but this team has to spend for bats in the offseason to really improve this unit.
Injuries and poor bats wasted a stellar season from Gerrit Cole and the Yankees' bullpen. That shows this team has a path to competing. But it couldn't with the cast of bats on that roster. It was the Yankees' ultimate undoing.