Yankees Fans Need Not Panic

Michael SamuelSenior Analyst IMay 5, 2008

The Yankees are 17-16 and 3.5 games out of the division lead. 

Yankees fans, there is absolutely no reason to panic about the sluggish start.  I am a die-hard fan of the New York Yankees, and I'd like to note that this team is still one game over .500 without stars such as Robinson Cano and Jason Giambi hitting above the Mendoza line. 

Cano is dubbed by some baseball experts as a guy who can win a batting title in the future, a future three-hole hitter, and a guy who can maybe even hit 30 home runs. 

Jason Giambi, despite his poor average, still shows some power hitting, with five home runs in the early going. He has also drawn 18 walks, good for second on the team. 

In the pitching staff, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy have not been able to get batters out, collectively averaging less than four innings per start and a ERA around 9.00. These pitchers have completely killed the bullpen during their starts. 

However, Kyle Farnsworth's pitching has improved, and Ross Ohlendorf is the future set-up guy when Joba is moved into the rotation.  

Also, the Yankees have had two off days all season.  They played 18 of 20 games on the road at one point.  They have played in some horrible weather in Kansas City, Cleveland, Boston, and New York. 

This has been a tough schedule but the Yankees will have a lot of home games at the end of the season to be able to catch up in the division.

The Yankees two most important position players are on the DL.  Alex Rodriguez plays the hot corner, hits cleanup, and is the highest paid player in the game. 

Jorge Posada does a great job handling the staff and also is a switch hitter.  Posada has logged the second most games behind the dish since 2000.  

The Yankees outfielders and DH ( Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui) are all hitting above .290, have combined for 18 home runs, and have driven in 69 runs. 

Melky Cabrera was said to be the key position player in the offseason potential deal for Johan Santana, but now he is proving that he wants to be a Yankee and proving that he can eventually be a five-tool player.  He may never acquire the power of cross-town rival Carlos Beltran, but Cabrera has proved he can be the Yankees Center Fielder for years to come.  

With the injuries to Jeter, Rodriguez, and Posada, the Yankees have proved that they have depth at those positions. Alberto Gonzalez is one of the smoothest infielders on the Yankees, and he has shown that he can handle the bat when called for, getting seven hits in 26 at-bats, good for a .269 average. 

Chad Moeller, a veteran catcher who was picked up after the Nationals released him, has shown he can handle the pitching staff and also the bat. He has eight hits in 28 at bats, including two doubles and a home run.  

Chien-Ming Wang's pitching this year has been great, leading the American League in wins.  Expect Wang to improve of his win total of 19 in each of the last two years. 

Despite a horrible postseason, Wang is the unquestioned ace of this rotation.  Mussina has proved that he is willing to alter his pitching style to get hitters out.  Pettite will be the work horse for the Yankees and could help the rotation.

Finally, the numbers on the baseball card do not lie. Hitters like Cano and Giambi will pick it up, and once A-Rod and Posada return from the DL this lineup will click. 

Right now the Yankees are keeping their heads above water. They will go deep into the division and wildcard races.  Darrell Rasner could help the Yankees by giving them a fourth starter. 

Yankees fans, don't panic.  Even after MUCH slower starts in '05 and last year, this club still went on to make the playoffs.