It is time to start looking towards the new MLB season. While many Yankee fans are still relishing in their 27th World Championship glory, it is time to gear up for another exciting season of Yankee baseball.
I decided to do a breakdown of the Yankees current roster. This will give everyone a look at the Yankees lineup and rotation. Without further ado, let's begin!
Hip hip, Jorge! Posada is coming off of a great bounce back season after an injury-riddled '08 season. Jorge hit .285 with 22 HR, 81 RBI, and 522 SLG percentage. While most catchers break down completely at his age, Posada had one of the best seasons of his career. Expect similar numbers for Posada once again in 2010.
After cashing in big time during the '08 offseason, Tex had arguably his best season in the big leagues. Tex was an MVP finalist after hitting .292, 39 HR, 122 RBI, .383 OBP. Tex got off to a typical slow April but after the return of A-Rod, Tex hit .330 and had 13 HR in May. After a full season in the New York media frenzy expect Tex to put up even better numbers.
It's Robbie Cano don't ya know! Cano had the worst season of his young career back in '08 but bounced back to have his best in '09. The young second baseman hit .320, 25 HR, 85 RBI, and had 48 doubles. Cano also improved his defense by cutting down on his errors. Cano is a notoriously second-half stud but this past season his dominance lasted the whole year. He hit .308 before the break and .336 after. As much as I love Cano expect the usually rough first half followed by a dominant second half in 2010.
What can we say about A-Rod? The Yankees struggled for the first month of the season as A-Rod was rehabbing his surgically repaired hip, but once Rodriguez came back, the Yanks offense came back. While only playing in 124 games, A-Rod hit .286, 30 HR, 100 RBI, and had a .402 OBP. Rodriguez gave Tex the protection in the lineup he needed to help put up his numbers. Rodriguez also went on to excoriate his demons by having one of the greatest postseasons ever en route to a Yankee championship. Expect A-Rod's typical big time numbers in 2010.
The Captain proved all his critics wrong after an MVP-like 2009 season. Mr. November hit .334, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 30 SB, .406 OBP, and even added his fourth Gold Glove. Jeter was an integral part of yet another Yankee championship. Jeter is getting to the end of his current contract and will be looking to prove he can still produce at 36 years old. Expect Jeter to put up huge numbers again as he will be playing for a new contract.
Left Field-As of right now Brett Gardner would be playing Left Field. Ummm, he's pretty fast, that's about it.
Center Field-The Yankees made a huge splash this offseason as they traded for Tigers phenom, Curtis Granderson. He will add more power, speed, and great defense to an already potent Yankee lineup.
Right Field-Nick Swisher was a nice surprise last year after Xavier Nady went down with an injury early in the season. He adds good power and great patience at the plate. Not to mention he is a great guy to have in the clubhouse to keep everybody loose.
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back! The Yankees signed free agent first baseman Nick Johnson six years after trading him away to acquire recently re-acquired Javier Vazquez. Johnson will be the designated hitter for the Bombers and likely to hit in the number two spot in the lineup. The Yanks love his high OBP and now that he will not be playing the field, hopefully he can stay healthy. Expect Johnson to hit somewhere around .280, 10 HR, 65 RBI, and a .400 OBP
CC Sabathia-The big pitching free agent from '08 did not disappoint in his first season in the Bronx. CC won 19 games which led the majors and had a 3.37 ERA. Sabathia also pitched great in the playoffs to silence his critics. The Yanks cut down on his innings as to conserve his arm, hopefully CC can top 20 wins in his second season.
AJ Burnett-This is no one in baseball who is more day and night than Burnett. He won 13 games and sported a 4.04 ERA. While he only won 13 games, he could have won about a half a dozen more if it weren't for poor run support at the beginning of the season. AJ stayed healthy yet again but it is hard to see it happening three years in a row.
Andy Pettitte-Ol' Reliable won 14 games again for the Yankees and was a horse in the playoffs as he clinched all three series. While he pitched his fewest innings since '04, he did not miss any starts and should be a solid third starter once again.
Javier Vazquez-The Yankees brought back a familiar face in the likes of Javier Vasquez. The Yankees traded for him before the '04 season but them traded him away after that season to get Randy Johnson. Vazquez is coming off of a career year as he won 15 games, had an ERA of 2.87, and added 238 strikeouts as well. While he most likely won't duplicate that ERA and the strikeouts, the wins are a definite possibility.
Joba Chamberlain-The Yankees need to make a decision as to what to do with Joba. They toyed around with him as a starter and reliever for too long. Joba only pitched more than five innings in 18 of his 31 starts. Ideally Joba would be a better setup man but the Yanks are intent on making him a starter. If he can pitch long enough to get more decisions, expect Joba to win about 12-14 games.
Mariano Rivera-One of the few players who gets better with age. Rivera saved 44/46 games and sported a 1.76 ERA in '08. Rivera pitched in 66 games for the Bombers last year and is in the last year of his current contract. Expect another 40 save season from the greatest closer of all-time.
Phil Hughes-Hughes may have finally found his calling-a setup man. Once Hughes went to the bullpen he changed the identity of the Yankees relievers. He sported a 3.03 ERA while winning 8 games. If the Yanks decide to leave Hughes in this spot, expect even better numbers as he would have had a full season as a reliever.
Alfredo Aceves-Who saw this coming? Aceves pitched great in long relief situations for the Yanks in '08, he had a record of 10-1 and had an ERA of 3.54 and held opponents to a .220 BAA. Aceves might end up as the Yanks fifth starter if they decide to move Joba back to the bullpen. I don't expect Aceves to put up similar numbers but expect a solid season.
Other relievers: David Robertson, Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez, Jonathan Albaladejo.