New York Yankees: Projecting Bombers' 5-Man Rotation for 2013
As the new year begins, the Yankees will be heading into spring training in search for that elusive 28th World Series championship.
But for the most part, the 2013 Bronx Bombers will look strikingly similar to the 2012 team.
The Yankees lost Russell Martin, Nick Swisher and postseason hero Raul Ibanez all to free agency, and brought in former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
New York’s biggest moves (sadly) was re-signing both Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte.
So what will the new 2013 Yankee lineup look like?
The starting lineup on Opening Day most likely will be a group of older veterans, many of who are either past or towards the end of their prime.
New York’s rotation though, may be a little less gloomy.
1. CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia is the ace in New York, hands down.
In 2012 Sabathia had a down season, but still managed to win 15 games and keep his earned run average below 3.40.
Sabathia has been an All-Star over the past three seasons in New York, and this trend is likely to continue. At 32 years old, he is still in the prime of his career.
The Yankees will need a strong season from the big southpaw, and don’t expect him to disappoint.
It’s a no-brainer putting Sabathia as the top starter in the rotation.
2. Hiroki Kuroda
In his first season with New York, Japanese-born pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was a bright spot throughout an injury-laden summer. Kuroda won 16 games in 2012 for the Bombers and had a 3.32 ERA—the second lowest of his career playing in the MLB.
Towards the end of the season, it even looked like he was a better option to start at the top of the rotation in the playoffs.
Kuroda isn’t getting any younger though, as the right-handed starter will be 38 by Opening Day.
He'll be slotted in behind Sabathia, but don’t expect a repeat of last year’s performance. He had a career high in innings pitched (219.2) in 2012, and may break down if manager Joe Girardi continues giving him a heavy workload.
3. Andy Pettitte
The ageless Andy Pettitte is back for another season in New York.
After spending most of last year healing a broken bone in his foot, Pettitte still managed to pick up five wins in 12 starts.
We had a small sample size last season of what the 40-year-old Yankee legend can still do, and this season it seems as though we’ll get to see what’s left in the tank.
Even with missing most of the year, Pettitte was still a consistent pitcher for New York, which is something the end of the rotation needs.
Whether or not Pettitte can last a whole season is yet to be seen, but if he can remain consistent his spot in the rotation will be secure.
4. Phil Hughes
With all the hype that surrounded Phil Hughes on his way to the big leagues in 2007, his career up to this point has been mediocre at best and marred with inconsistency.
In 2012 Hughes won 16 games, but he also lost 13 and had an ERA of 4.23.
What's even more alarming though are the career-high 35 home runs that Hughes surrendered this past summer.
This past season for Hughes essentially came down to either being a solid power pitcher, or an inconsistent thrower.
Hidden behind the 35 home runs surrendered by Hughes are his career high 165 strikeouts and 191.1 innings pitched.
At 26 years old, Hughes has yet to prove that he deserves to be at the top of a rotation, and that is exactly why he will start as the fourth pitcher for Girardi.
Don’t be surprised though if Hughes turns things around this season and works his way into the No. 2 or No. 3 spot.
5. Ivan Nova
Since breaking into the MLB in 2010, Ivan Nova has seemed to get worse instead of better.
In 2011, Nova won 16 games and finished the year with a 3.70 ERA, all while being in contention for the Rookie of the Year Award.
But the summer of 2012 was a different story for the Dominican-born pitcher.
Nova won 12 games this past season, but finished with a 5.02 ERA and successfully pitched himself off the playoff roster.
Although David Phelps may deserve the fifth spot in the rotation, he started 11 games last year and won only four.
The right-handed Nova is still young (he turns 26 on January 12) and he has the time to get better.
Look to see Nova as Girardi’s bottom man in the rotation.