15 NY Yankees with the Most to Prove in the Rest of the Season
As well as the New York Yankees have been doing this season, there are still plenty of question marks surrounding this team the rest of the way.
There are plenty of players on this roster with a lot to prove moving forward.
I can't tell you for sure if they will get it done, but I can tell you who it is that has the most proving to do the rest of the season.
Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
Ichiro is sporting a career-worst batting average this season of .261 and while that has led some to believe his very best days are behind him, there could be another explanation.
The newest Yankee acquisition has been a part of the Seattle Mariners his entire career up until earlier this week. Problem with that is the Mariners are perennial basement-dwellers and have never really competed since Ichiro arrived.
That could have led to some complacency on the part of Ichiro, thus the recent decline in his numbers.
Ichiro will have his opportunity to prove that to be true and the Bombers are hoping that coming to the Bronx is the kick in the rear-end Ichiro needs to return to form and be the leadoff hitter they so desperately need..
If the move to his new team isn't enough, then nothing will be.
Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
When isn't Rodriguez trying to prove something?
Before his recent injury, A-Rod was still being doubted when coming up to bat in the clutch and that will continue to be in the back of Yankee fans' minds for the foreseeable future.
But now Rodriguez' injury will also leave him having to prove that he can come back from it in time to help the Yankees win in the playoffs.
Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix
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After manager Joe Girardi announced the Yankees would replace the injured A-Rod from within, that put all the onus on Chavez and Nix to get the job done.
Both will have to prove that not only can they play solid defense like A-Rod does at third base, but both must be able to handle the bat as well.
There's no doubt the Yanks will miss Rodriguez's production—even the diminished version—and it will be up to Nix and Chavez to do the best they can to replace the Bombers' third baseman.
Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
Can Soriano hold up under the bright lights of October baseball as well as Mariano Rivera?
It was originally thought we wouldn't find out when news surfaced that Rivera would be back before the end of the 2012 season, but now that Mo isn't coming back this year, we're going to find out just what Sori is made of.
Nobody could ever adequately fill Rivera's shoes, but Soriano's success filling in for the Hall of Fame closer is as close as anyone could come. Now all he has to do is get it done in the playoffs as well.
Much easier said than done.
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
There were few relievers in baseball as explosive and effective as Chamberlain was only a few years back, but now all that has changed.
Two major injuries have sidelined Joba much longer than many thought, but all that will be a distant memory soon. Chamberlain is scheduled to make it back before the end of the 2012 season and could be a huge boost to the Bombers' bullpen.
That is, if he can come back and be the dominant reliever he once was. The jury is still out on Chamberlain's being able to do just that.
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Teixeira continues to prove his worth to this team despite what naysayers may think about his low batting average. While his average isn't great, it has gotten better than the past few seasons and combined with offensive production and defense, Tex earns his stripes.
But where he hasn't earned his stripes is in the postseason.
In three seasons as a Yankee, Tex hasn't hit higher than .180 in the playoffs for New York. Being that he is a key component of this offense, that must change.
Considering Tex's past struggles hitting in the playoffs, seeing will certainly be believing in this instance.
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While Kuroda is putting up some impressive numbers this season for the Yankees, the jury is still out on whether he can be the type of starter the Yanks need behind CC Sabathia in the playoffs.
Kuroda is the clear-cut No. 2 starter in this rotation thus far in the regular season, but having allowed 17 hits and eight runs in 13.2 innings pitched career in the postseason, Kuroda will remain a cause for concern as the Yanks try to get through a tough American League en route to the World Series.
The success of their current No. 2 arm will make or break this team in the postseason.
Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes
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Andy Pettitte will undoubtedly follow Sabathia and Kuroda as the Yanks' No. 3 starter in the playoffs once healthy, but who will pitch Game 4 of the ALDS should New York get there?
So far, Nova has the edge simply because of his impressive postseason performance last year against the Detroit Tigers. But that was only one good start for Nova and that still leaves Hughes with a chance to get a start.
It will come down to who pitches better down the stretch and that competition looks like it will come down to the wire with both pitchers having very similar numbers in 2012.
Hughes and Nova will each have the next two months to prove they deserve to be a playoff starter.
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Common thought is that Swisher will become a victim of the Bombers' payroll cutting after the season and won't be a part of the Yankees moving forward.
But that could change if Swish has a monster finish to the season, and I mean monster.
In order to do that, not only must he finish the regular season strong, but Swisher must erase his past horrid playoff performances and show that he can play at a high level when it matters most.
If he can't prove he is a valuable asset to this team in big games, Swisher will be looking for a new baseball home in 2013.
Clay Rapada, Cody Eppley and Chad Qualls
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One, two or all three of these relievers might have a chance to prove they belong during the postseason. The next two months will be their audition for the part of reliable playoff reliever.
All three, Rapada, Eppley and Qualls, have each contributed to the Yanks' bullpen this season and they've done a solid job in the process. But postseason baseball is a different game altogether and these three have quite the proving to do.
A stellar bullpen will be vital to New York's success during October baseball and with little to no experience between the three of these arms, there is a lot of proving to do before Yankee fans can feel comfortable with Girardi handing them the ball in a big spot.
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No, the Yankees offense isn't one specific player, but that doesn't change the fact that they have something to prove.
The Yankees offense as a whole must prove they aren't a one-dimensional team who can only score runs by knocking the ball out of the park. New York simply can't depend on winning that way when going against some of the best pitchers in baseball.
New York also must show that they can hit with runners in scoring position—something that has been this team's Achilles' heel the past few seasons, most notably in the postseason.