By Barry Millman
In a year of up and down performances that ran the gamut from Oscar-worthy to the unintentionally comedic, the 2015 Yankees displayed a range of dramatic presentation that held their audience's interest from opening credits to final fade to black. Based solely on my personal eavesdropping live in the stands and in the virtual lobby of social media, these are the ten Yankees I believe charted highest for discussion and comment among the team's fan base in 2015, and the roles that won them their place on this distinguished list.
10) Chris Capuano - The Thing That Couldn't Die
Brutal enough to be designated for assignment three times, yet confoundingly brought back again and again and again, the club's other C.C. provided Yankee fans steady comic relief (if not the actual bullpen kind he was paid $5 million to provide) throughout the year with his zombie-like mound appearances and repeated returns from the dead via the transaction list.
9) Chase Headley -- Pulp Fiction
Headley's 23 errors and scattershot aim won him the top spot on the MLB leaderboard for defensive miscues among third basemen (fifth overall) and the gratitude of Eduardo Nunez fans everywhere. Henceforth in the Bronx, routine throws landing in another borough will be known as Headleys instead of Nunees.
8) Nathan Eovaldi -- Ferris Bueller
Yankee Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez, who once famously said he'd rather be lucky than good, might have rather been Nasty Nate. The Yankees won 24 of the 27 games started by the young fireballer, an unworldy 89-percent team winning percentage untouched by Gomez even in his most dominant years; and his won-loss percentage was second only to Zack Greinke's among all qualifying MLB pitchers.
7) Mark Teixeira -- Scarface
Before going down for the count with a fractured leg in August, Tex had re-locked and loaded his nosediving career arc with a gluten-free slugging spree that saw more than half his 100 hits go for extra bases, included his highest home run total in four years and his best OPS since his 2009 debut in pinstripes.
6) Adam Warren - The Manster
A beast in the rotation until it got overcrowded and in the bullpen until he was needed back in the rotation, Warren swung between his roles like a two-headed monster all year with nary a complaint while vocal fan clubs advocated for him to be locked into one or the other -- until Joba Rules and at least one higher salary ultimately blocked him from having any place at all.
5) Masahiro Tanaka - The Crawling Hand
Tanaka's decision to forego Tommy John surgery on his torn UCL transformed his throwing arm into an anatomical obsession and every talking head and ex-pitching pundit into amateur medical experts -- with all too many of them prematurely diagnosing each blip on the mound a sure sign of imminent career-threatening disaster.
4) Didi Gregorius -- Captain America
Initially signed as a platoon project who might one day grow to fill the giant shoes of a legendary captain, Sir Didi struggled early on when he was unexpectedly thrust into a full-time role on Opening Day. By year's end, though, he was wielding a solid bat and turning plays his illustrious predecessor could only dream of making.
3) Stephen Drew - Dracula
No two words were uttered, texted or tweeted more frequently by Yankee fans in 2015 than "Drew sucks." The second coming of the infielder no other team wanted in the first place ended much as his first stint did in 2014; like a vampire, sucking the air out of rallies and killing innings with RISP far more often with a whimper than the bang his occasional home run bursts teasingly promised.
2) C.C. Sabathia - The Blob
The 2015 version of the highest paid Yankee was bigger and, by almost any measure, badder than almost every other starter in the sport, and such a destructive force that many openly questioned if his salary alone was buying him playing time. Only an onslaught of injuries to others, a small army of relievers burning their arms up in support, creative scheduling by manager Joe Girardi and an all-too-belated fitting for a knee brace kept him upright before he finally Gilhooleyed himself on the eve of the postseason.
1) Alex Rodriguez - Repo Man
ARod began the season radioactive, but by the time it was over he had rehabilitated himself in the eyes of team ownership, the fan base and media and repossessed his place in the record books and conversation as a bonafide Hall of Famer -- and, perhaps even more impressively, as an invaluable team leader and durable workhorse in the team's surprising bid for the division title.
You can email Barry Millman at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @nyyankeefanfore.