Sunday, December 2, 2012

New York Yankees Season 21 Outlook

Season 20
Won/Loss (place in division) & Playoffs:  81-81 (1st), lost WS to Pirates
Offense:  729 runs (11th)
Pitching:  3.95 ERA (6th)

Major Changes
FA Departures:
  CF Dan Bailey, RP Bill Hoffman, RP Carlos Blanco, OF Jae Nakano, RP Rudy Scott
FA Signees:  SP Bailey Borders, RP Efrain Yang
Rule V:  SS Alex Andujar (#18)

Season 21 OutlookLast but not least, the AL Champs.  Last year's edition of the Yanks was a case study in resilience.  First they lose their prize FA signee, Benito Andujar, for the entire season.  Then they're seemingly buried by Boston's hot start.  But they kept battling, won the division, and beat the White Sox, Rays, and Mariners in the playoffs.

Andujar is back, a bit worse for wear but still capable of igniting the offense.  Complimenting Andujar are DH Ismael Rios (.266/38/123), 3B Harry Mercado (.302/32/98), leadoff man Alejandro Cruz (.281/19/82), and 1B Alberto Gonzalez (.283/24/83).

New York's pitching is old but good.  Todd Leon is still an ace, although his stamina has dropped to the point that he's probably a 170-inning pitcher.  Bobby Ray Dixon is still going strong at 36, and Walt Walker is about as good a #3 starter as there is.  Felix Hendricksen and Todd Havens complete the deep rotation.

In the bullpen,  J.B. Remlinger and Pepper Webster are Grade A setups to closer Philip Herndon.  Herndon had a rough year in Season 20 (6.20 ERA, 9 blown saves), but should retain his closer job if he starts well.

Well, it's definitely an older team...the window won't be open a lot longer.  But it's definitely open now.  If the Yankees' Season 20 proved anything, it's that the playoffs are a crapshoot.  New York will be pressed by Boston, and maybe Cleveland, this year, but should have enough to get back to the tournament.

No comments: