Complete New York Yankees 2014 Season Preview

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Complete New York Yankees 2014 Season Preview
USA TODAY Sports

Expectations are everything in the Bronx; they're hard to ignore when the club's history and current spending produce and project them so high.

They're more difficult to forgo because last season's 85-77 record left the team short of the postseason and sent them into the biggest reactionary frenzy since the winter that mended and retooled the 2008 debacle into the 2009 World Series champions.

And now, following a successful spring training, what had been on-paper, calculated, anxious anticipation has become justified, high expectation for the regular season. The refashioned yet untested 2014 Yankees resemble a more cohesive, well-rounded and productive team than anyone may have predicted a month ago.

But even with optimism continually rising, no team's 2014 outlook is more bipolar than New York's. Think about how stunningly dominant, effective and efficient this ballclub could be with all its pieces in harmony; yet think of how many unstable, moving parts could send the same club into a tailspin. 

The only remaining questions linger out in the bullpen, but doubts will hover until the team plays like a sustainable, formidable contender for more than 30 games.

There's one final factor—the most significant one—yet to be mentioned. It focuses on one player, in particular, and whether he diverts the pressure away from others like David Robertson, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Jacoby Ellsbury ultimately hinges on his own performance.

Because as much as this team looks and feels like the 2009 model, that one key difference is the captain, Derek Jeter, who will begin his final year of baseball.

And that final year, which was once impending, will unavoidably be set in motion on Tuesday in Houston, as just three games remain in spring training before the team heads west for Opening Day.

The following slides will get you ready for the Yankees 2014 regular season, which includes: a recap of spring training; a breakdown of the lineup, rotation and bullpen; and prospects and breakouts candidates to keep an eye on. It ends with a preview of the Astros series and predictions for the team's final record and playoff situation.

 

2014 spring training statistics and information courtesy of Yankees.MLB.com and current as of March 26; pre-2014 statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise noted.

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