Every year I make some bold predictions for the year. Many of them, ok most of them do not come true but it will not stop me from making them. One day I will earn my self proclaimed title of the great Rookstradomeous. For those of you who dont know my last name is Rook. Ok lets start with the pitching staff.
CC Sabathia. CC has been the Rock for the Yankees staff and sill continue to do so this season. He looks trim and healthy and every year he does a little something to try and make himself better. This year I see him finding a way to stay healthy and perhaps even flirt with that 20 win mark. If there is a downside to CC’s game its that he sometimes falls victim to the long ball. He needs to trust his stuff and go back to using his slider as an out pitch.
Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda will not be quite as sharp as he was last year mainly because American league hitters have had a season to make adjustments to his routine so I think that his lack of a heavy fastball will not fare well against the heavy hitters in the AL. Dont get me wrong I think he will still be effective but look for him to pitch to a line closer to this 15-13 170 innings 185 hits 20 HR and an ERA of 4.20 with 159 strike outs. Kinda pedestrian numbers but still good enough.
Andy Pettitte. Andy really didnt get much chance to really get things going last season before injury. I see alot of the old Pettitte in his approach and his confidence. I think he is going to have a fabulous season and although may not get that 200 inning mark look for him to have an ERA closer to 3 than 4.
Phil Hughes. I want to say Phil is going to show us his 18 win form but I fear the injury bug will have its toll on him. Dont see him making even 12 starts
David Phelps. Phelps will be the big suprise he will step in for an injured Hughes and will pitch to a sub 3 era with a record something like 15-4.
Ivan Nova. Nova will be the same old Nova he will start strong and then taper off. Look for him to be a mid-season trade candidate.
The bull pen will be a strength as usual with strong years from Robertson, Chamberlain and Rivera. The surprise pitchers will be David Ardsma and Adam Warren who will both have seasons that will help lead the Yankees to the playoffs.
Michael Pineda will have taken Novas spot by June in the rotation. He will make Cashman look like the genius that he once did when he initially made the trade in the first place. I still believe that Pineda will one day be the number one guy in the Yankees rotation. Remember he is still only 24 years old.
Pitching is going to be the Yankees strength this season but in order for them to make the playoff they will need to play world class defense and create runs. lets take a quick look at the starting 9
Brett Gardner- Brett should be the center fielder but will probably play left due to the injury to Granderson. Brett will be the lead-off guy and will have a career year from that spot hitting close to 300 with 40+ steals and 100+ runs scored
Derek Jeter- Will remain healthy enough to play the majority of the starts at SS. However I think that his age will catch up with him limiting his defense and making his offensive production more human like. .270 150 hits 75 RBI 10 HR
Kevin Youkilis- Youk will prove that he still has something left in the tank. He will put up decent power numbers but his average will be low and Strikeouts high. In a half season he will bat .260 14 HR 50 RBI
Alex Rodriguez- Will return at mid season at a time when the Yankees are slumping a little. The Steroid thing will never come to a head due to lack of a positive test. His hips may actually be stronger than ever and the rest will do him good look for him to have a huge second half and all is forgiven. 24 HR 60 RBI .324
Mark Texeria- Playing in the WBC will help mark get into baseball shape quicker than normal and will show in his regular season stats. Although he will never be the Tex that the Yankees thought they were getting he will win a gold glove and a silver slugger this year and will lead the team in HR with 38.
Robinson Cano- Best player in the game. I think the Yankees will lock him up with an 8 year deal before the season even starts and wont be sorry when he wins the MVP this season . 325 32 HR 120 RBI and a gold glove
Stuvelli- Stewart or Cervelli. I think Stewart will win the starting job and Cervelli the back up but look for one of these guys to hit the DL before mid season and Austin Romaine get a shot at the big show. Neither of them is built for the long haul.
Curtis Granderson- Granderson will be his same old self. Tons of HR with a good average and ok fielding. However look for him to be part of a trade package for whatever the Yankees need at mid season. After sinking a ton of money into Cano and not being able to slip out from under A-Roid there is no way they would have been able to keep him next year. Blockbuster trade in the making. Even if its for some top pitching prospects.
Ichiro Suzuki- Ichiro will continue where he left off and will work harder than anyone to prove that he belongs. He will have an average around .300 and will be knocking the door on 200 hits yet again and 30+ steals.
Travis Hefner- will be a bit of a disappointment at DH not hitting for average and striking out way to much. He may have some clutch HR early but I would not be surprised if he was released at mid season in favor of Youk DHing with A-roid reclaiming third base.
So where is the suprise? Zoilo Almonte will spend some time with the Yankees while Granderson is on the DL as will Melky Mesa and Ronnier Mustelier. We may also see Mark Mountgomery get a call up to the bull pen at the first sign of injury.
Although the Yankees have lost alot of power with the departure of Swisher, Ibanez, Jones,and Chavez They will find a way to score runs and win games. Look for alot of small ball. The Yankees have four guys that can steal a bag and you can bet that everyone will be doing bunting drills and I mean everyone. National league style play for the Yankees? You bet, Girardi did it with the Marlins and was successful so don’t be surprised at all.