Hey, welcome back. Well, I was away for the week, and now I'm back. Guess what I saw today?
The New York Yankees now have the Probable Pitchers lineup ready. I'm not sure how long it has been up, but I was pretty good at guessing who it would be, and I know most of you were too. I wish my Pick 5 Lotto tickets were this good. And my thanks go to Ryan Droege and Claire Reclosado on the feedback regarding my first article. Nice job guys.
The New York Yankees' Probable Starters:
1. Chien-Ming Wang
Alright, so who didn't know this one. Wang, the most winningest pitcher in the passed two years, is starting for the last Opening Day game at the Stadium, and what a great honor at that!
As you saw in my last article, I pretty much spilled the beans on how much I care for this pitcher. So I won't go into detail with him, but understand this. He is a dominant pitcher who can make outs. He also made a statement last season, pitching a phenomenal 19 win season while missing a possible four starts from a hamstring type injury. He can win, and I see him getting 21 wins this season, and at the very least, a 2nd place finish on the CY Young Award list, at least.
Prospect: I can see Wang pitching 21 wins as I mentioned before. Especially with Jeter working on his quick step to the left, opposing hitters will have a tougher time going through the middle. And if he gets the change-up working, we'll see a possible jump in strike outs, maybe around 150-175.
2. Mike Mussina
I think I hear the doorbell. Oh look, it's the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Well maybe. What I think might happen with him is that he'll raise his winning percentage about 100 pts, which is a mighty huge leap, considering he was just over .500 last season. It all depends on how the season goes with him, and if he doesn't get injured.
We definately know that he can't pop his fastball higher than 92 on average, but he at first, is a Command Pitcher, not a Power Pitcher. So he relies on his breaking and off-speed pitches. Also, he only had a few seasons of under-par performance, definately not mummify his illustrious + .600 career winning percentage. In addition, he has experience. I know he doesn't have a coveted World Series Ring, but he does have plenty of Post Season play. And playing in the Majors for 15+ years, what better position player would you want to have?
Prospect: If healthy, I can see him going for 13 wins. Unfortunately, I can't see him as a 20 game winner, and Father Time won't let him continue passed 20 years in the League. However, he will go down in history for being one of the greatest pitchers, without ever winning 20 games for a season. Good Luck!
3. Phil Hughes
I love this kid. He has good stuff, and when he's on, it's electric. The only problem I have with him is that he is a rookie, lacks experience. Also, half of the hits on him turn into runs, which soured his ERA above the 4.00 mark. However, he is young, and is just starting out. Not to mention his way of winning, he actually is above 600 points in winning percentage. And if you remember he did throw that no hitter, which was cut short from the line drive. He is still too young to really figure out, but let's examine his past to see if we can get anything.
He came into the minors a couple of years ago. As posted on minorleaguesplits.com, Phil Hughes had an ERA of 2.13 and saw 269 batters come up and then sit back down on K's. I know it's A ball, but trust me, numbers like these don't change drastically. He only played about 10 or so games during his short tenure with the Yanks, and will start to play hopefully 30 games without injury.
Prospect: I can see this kid coming up big in probably his second season. However his 2007 season and post-season play really gave him a good look at the Majors. I think we'll see him go close to a no hitter again. Suprisingly, I see 13 wins in his first season. I think he can produce more, but I'm shying down a few games because of his youth, and the production the bats.
4. Andy Pettitte
Another great pitcher in the rotation. He's a good lefty, has experience and is mature. He's a great guy to have on the line-up to keep the kids in check, and to show them a few things many All-Star Veterans already know. However this former World Series Champion has a lot of work this season. It may seem that he will start slowing down, as he's just been put on the disabled list (and please Andy, don't take HGH for this injury) missing probably two of his starts. Yet he is a late bloomer. He always comes alive with stellar performances near the end of the Season and going into the Post Season.
He will be strong, and with Joe Girardi knowing how he throws, will give him the advantage of fine-tuning his condition and pitching. With his great pick-off move, I think we'll see more assists on outs this season, as he will usually have a man on base once every innings pitched. Also look at his K total. I see him breaking 150 again as he was just short last season, and getting probably a lower ERA, but not much.
Prospect: He's a good guy, forget that whole HGH issue from that Yankee hater. He's also tough. I see him glaring at a possible 29 starts with a range around the 15 win area. I don't know who is taking his place since he's injured; and however unfortunate, I don't think it will be Joba. I've got high hopes.
5. Ian Kennedy
This kid seems to have done well like Phil Hughes throughout the minors. And with almost a strike out an inning playing for the Yankees, I can see him go all the way with his pitches. He has great control of his breaking pitch, getting batters to strike out looking and swinging.
He is smart already, which is a plus for the Yankees. He can get batters out. I don't mean to be redundant, but it's true. And with his change-up and slider, forget it. Hitters will have a tough time getting the ball in play, let alone hit one out of the park. Joe Girardi will be happy helping this young rookie out on the hill hurling to get the Ws.
Prospect: I like this kid a lot. I know I didn't give much info because as Phil Hughes, he is just starting out. But I think he has the smarts to go to 12 wins. His past in the minors was a consistent + .800 Winning percentage for a couple of seasons. Look at that.
Alright so that's my breakdown of the Yankees Starting Rotation. Check it out, a balanced five-man rotation with two southpaws. Don't count on Joba pitching in the rotation just yet. The Yankees don't want a six-man rotation as far as I know. Maybe next season, as they let him stretch out his arm and possibly have Mussina retire. But he will help the pen a great ton for now.
I believe we'll also see a healthy batting line-up with Staff Sergeant Girardi. The team's young, yet strong! I will definately watch for the 95th win in September, will you?