MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees on Paper

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIMarch 27, 2011

MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees on Paper

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Yankees usually get who they want during the offseason, but this past offseason, they missed out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.  They threw more money at him than Philadelphia, but Lee said no thanks.

    So, instead of going after a starting pitcher, the Yanks went out and acquired Rafael Soriano. In many ways, the signing is better than any starter they would've acquired.  With Soriano and Mariano Rivera now anchoring the eighth and ninth innings, it takes pressure off the starting rotation.

    Once again, New York is going to rely on its lineup to outscore opponents.


    Throughout you will see a number between 7-10 beside each player.  These numbers break the players up into essential categories; here's a rough layout. 

    10: Best player/pitcher in baseball

    9-plus: Superstar, MVP/Cy Young Candidates

    8-plus: Consistent All-Star

    7.5: Periodical All-Star

    7.25: Solid Starter

    7: Average Player

    The numbers do more than rank the players, you can also figure out which positions have the most/least depth. I just think it's a fun way of looking at it.


    Also check out:

    Pitcher Rankings

    Positional Rankings

    2011 Atlanta Braves Preview

    2011 Florida Marlins Preview

    2011 New York Mets Preview

    2011 Philadelphia Phillies Preview

    2011 Washington Nationals Preview

    2011 Chicago Cubs Preview

    2011 Cincinnati Reds Preview

    2011 Houston Astros Preview

    2011 Milwaukee Brewers Preview 

    2011 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview

    2011 St. Louis Cardinals Preview

    2011 Arizona Diamondbacks Preview

    2011 Colorado Rockies Preview

    2011 LA Dodgers Preview

    2011 San Diego Padres Preview

    2011 San Francisco Giants Preview

    2011 Baltimore Orioles Preview

    2011 Boston Red Sox Preview


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    Elsa/Getty Images

    C Russell Martin: 7.25

    1B Mark Teixeira: 8.5 

    2B Robinson Cano: 9 

    SS Derek Jeter: 8 

    3B Alex Rodriguez: 8.75 


    Russell Martin (28) 331 AB, .248 BA, 45 R, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 6 SB

    Martin was a stud just three years ago with the Dodgers, but he’s struggled the past two seasons. He’s suffered some injuries over recent years, which has diminished his bat speed. Defensively, anything over Jorge Posada is an upgrade.


    Mark Teixeira (30) 601 AB, .256 BA, 113 R, 33 HR, 108 RBI, 0 SB

    For whatever reason, Teixeira always gets off to slow starts. The switch-hitter hits off of his back foot from both sides. He likes to pull the ball, and he gets very good bat speed. He continues to remain one of the best defensive first baseman in baseball. 


    Robinson Cano (28) 626 AB, .319 BA, 103 R, 29 HR, 109 RBI, 3 SB

    Cano may have the prettiest swing in all of baseball; it’s so smooth. He generates a lot of bat speed and sprays the ball around the field. He’s also smooth in the field. He has soft hands, quick feet and a strong arm.


    Derek Jeter (36) 663 AB, .270 BA, 111 R, 10 HR, 67 RBI, 18 SB

    For the first time in five seasons, Jeter’s average dipped below .300. He still possesses great bat control and likes to go the other way. He’s lost a lot of range but still remains very instinctive. He remains one of the smarter players in the game.


    Alex Rodriguez (35) 522 AB, .270 BA, 74 R, 30 HR, 125 RBI, 4 SB

    A-Rod gets a lot of leverage with his swing and is at his best when he gets his hands extended. He still has a lot of power to all parts of the ballpark. He can be beaten inside. Like Jeter, Rodriguez has seen his range decline in the field over recent years.


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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    LF Brett Gardner: 7 

    CF Curtis Granderson: 7.5

    RF Nick Swisher: 7.25

    DH Jorge Posada: 7


    Brett Gardner (27) 477 AB, .277 BA, 97 R, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 47 SB

    Gardner is patient at the plate. He led baseball by taking 4.61 pitches per plate appearance. He has outstanding speed, and there’s been talk of leading him off. He utilizes his great speed in the field.


    Curtis Granderson (30) 466 AB, .247 BA, 76 R, 24 HR, 67 RBI, 12 SB

    Granderson has a long swing, but he generates solid power for his size. He loves the ball down and over the plate. He can be beaten up in the strike zone. He’s a solid outfielder who uses his speed to go get it.


    Nick Swisher (30) 566 AB, .288 BA, 91 R, 29 HR, 89 RBI, 1 SB

    Swisher has a quick stroke and likes the ball up on the inner half. He strikes out a lot. He does what he needs to do in the field. 


    Jorge Posada (39) 383 AB, .248 BA, 49 R, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 3 SB

    With the signing of Russell Martin, Posada will most likely start as the DH for most of the season. He still generates solid power for his age.

Starting Pitching

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    CC Sabathia: 9

    A.J. Burnett: 7

    Phil Hughes; 7.25

    Ivan Nova: 7

    Freddy Garcia: 7


    CC Sabathia (30) 238 IP, 21-7, 3.18 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 197 K

    Sabathia is a durable work horse. He has solid command with his hard mid-90s fastball to both sides of the plate. He changes the shape and speed of his slider and has good arm action with his changeup. 


    A.J. Burnett (34) 187 IP, 10-15, 5.25 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 145 K

    With the retirement of Andy Pettitte, the pressure on Burnett gets turned up. He struggled with his command mightily a year ago. He gets good movement with his fastball, and his curveball has a lot of tilt. 


    Phil Hughes (24) 176 IP, 18-8, 4.19 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 146

    Hughes has an unusual short-arm delivery. He has a downer curveball to complement his fastball. He also mixes in a cutter-like slider. 


    Ivan Nova (24) 42 IP, 1-2, 4.50 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 26 K

    Nova has just seven major league starts under his belt. His durability has been questioned because his ERA is significantly higher from the fifth inning on than in the first four innings. He's been dominant so far in spring training. 


    Freddy Garcia (35) 157 IP, 12-6, 4.64 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 89 K

    The Yankees have a couple options for the No. 5 starter. Garcia was named part of the rotation, but if he struggles, the Yankees have other veterans they can turn to—Bartolo Colon or the recently signed Kevin Millwood.


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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    RP David Robertson: 7

    RP Pedro Feliciano: 7

    RP Joba Chamberlain: 7

    SU Rafael Soriano: 7.5

    CP Mariano Rivera: 9 


    David Robertson, Pedro Feliciano, Joba Chamberlain

    Robertson and Chamberlain both throw gas, while Feliciano gives the middle relief a veteran lefty presence.


    Rafael Soriano (31) 62 IP, 3-2, 45 SV, 1.73 ERA, .80 WHIP, 57 K

    The Yankees may have missed out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, but the signing of Soriano takes some pressure off of the starters. He throws a low-90s fastball, he’s added a cutter and puts hitters away with his slider.


    Mariano Rivera (41) 60 IP, 3-3, 33 SV, 1.80 ERA, .83 WHIP, 45 K

    Rivera’s now over 40, but his cutter remains unhittable although he’s lost velocity. After a shaky 2007, he’s responded with three consecutive years of an ERA less than two. 

Sizing Up the Yankees on Paper

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    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    C Russell Martin: 7.25

    1B Mark Teixeira: 8.5

    2B Robinson Cano: 9

    SS Derek Jeter: 8

    3B Alex Rodriguez: 8.75

    LF Brett Gardner: 7 

    CF Curtis Granderson: 7.5

    RF Nick Swisher: 7.25

    DH Jorge Posada: 7


    Projected Lineup

    1. Brett Gardner: 7

    2. Derek Jeter: 8

    3. Mark Teixeira: 8.5

    4. Alex Rodriguez: 8.75

    5. Robinson Cano: 9

    6. Curtis Granderson: 7.5

    7. Nick Swisher: 7.25

    8. Jorge Posada: 7

    9. Russell Martin: 7


    Projected Starting Rotation

    1. CC Sabathia: 9

    2. A.J. Burnett: 7

    3. Phil Hughes: 7.25

    4. Ivan Nova: 7

    5. Freddy Garcia: 7


    RP David Robertson: 7

    RP Pedro Feliciano: 7

    RP Joba Chamberlain: 7

    SU Rafael Soriano: 7.5

    CP Mariano Rivera: 9


    Francisco Cervelli, Jorge Posada, Andruw Jones, Ramiro Pena: 7



    Joe Girardi: 7


    INF: 41.5

    OF: 21.75

    SP: 37.25

    RP: 7

    CP: 16,5

    MISC: 14

    Hitting: 63.25

    Pitching: 60.75

    TOTAL: 138


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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    This team may be aging, and there's not much depth behind Sabathia in the starting rotation, but this squad is still dangerous.

    I really think the signing of Soriano pays significant dividends for the pitching staff.

    With the outstanding offseason that Boston and Philadelphia had, people are overlooking New York a little bit. That's not necessarily a bad thing for the Yanks.

    Prediction: 95-67, Second in AL East