New York Yankees: 10 Bold Predictions for the Yanks' 2012 Season

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIJanuary 4, 2012

New York Yankees: 10 Bold Predictions for the Yanks' 2012 Season

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    True baseball fans always begin each season with the belief that their team will prevail. Even after a poor season, fans always keep the faith that things will be great next season.

    The New York Yankees had a great 2011 season and finished in first place. The postseason didn’t end the way that we had all hoped, but the Yankees gave us an exciting season with a couple of incredible records being set.

    Spring training will be upon us in about six weeks. The fall and early winter have had some remarkable MLB stories with free agents and trades to keep us on the edge of our seats. 

    So far, the offseason has not been off at all. Excitement is building day by day as we prepare ourselves for 2012 baseball.

    We all are aware that the Yankees organization has been fairly quiet with little movement. Some think that NY has made mistakes by not making moves. Some see the lack of movement as brilliance.

    I believe that the 2012 season will be exciting and successful for Yankee fans. Looking at the talents of young prospects and experienced veterans has led me to some predictions for the 2012 season.

    Take a look with me.

Derek Jeter

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    Who doesn’t love Jeter?  He began the 2011 season with some difficulty, but he bounced back in true form.

    Once he works out the kinks in spring training, I think that Jeter will start out strong in 2012. Like most athletes, he may get stuck in a slump here and there, but he will put up solid numbers all season.

    Since he is aging, he will need to take extra precautions to avoid injuries, and I think that he won’t have any major problems.

    Derek Jeter will be well-discussed by critics who think that he should hang it up, but he will prove, once again, that he is well-deserving of his title. He’s the captain.

Mariano Rivera

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    Once again, Mariano Rivera will close games like no other closer is able. 

    He will have another lights-out season shutting down batter after batter. We may have to accept a blown save or two, but throughout the season he will dominate.

    As the season progresses, we may notice that his cut-fastball will lose some speed and movement. He’s 42 years old, and will be almost 43 by the end of the season. 

    2012 will show him to be the best of the best, even if his performance diminishes a bit as a result of his age.

    Once the 2012 baseball season is over and the World Series winner is declared, I think that we will hear an announcement that will cut open the hearts of NY Yankee fans.

    I’m sorry New York, but Rivera will likely retire at the end of 2012. 

Alex Rodriguez

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    Some people love to hate Alex Rodriguez. He’s had his ups and downs professionally and personally.

    Who can deny the talent and power of Rodriguez? He has been a force to be reckoned with at the plate and on the field.

    Over the last couple of seasons, he has had to deal with injuries to his hip, knee and shoulder. He’s been through multiple surgeries and treatments, and quite a bit of physical therapy.

    Recently, we heard in the news that Rodriguez traveled to Germany for a procedure to treat his knee. German doctors treated his right knee and his left shoulder by injecting platelet-rich plasma.

    Brian Cashman and the Yankees organization researched the doctors and the treatment thoroughly and approved the treatment. Many athletes have reported great success after having undergone this therapy.

    All involved believe that Rodriguez will show no setbacks or side effects in spring training. With his pain relieved and no more inflammation, he will have a powerful 2012.

    Rodriguez will be back to his clutch home run-hitting self from the beginning. 

Nick Swisher

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    Nick Swisher’s personality and sense of humor brought life to the clubhouse when he arrived. His passion for the game is infectious.

    Last season, Swisher did not produce as well as he normally does. His hitting was off, and it seemed to have knocked him down emotionally.

    He has had time this winter to ground himself. He will work hard with batting coaches, and may possibly need to change some of his swing mechanics.

    Swisher will have an exciting spring training that will rebuild his confidence at the plate.

    Once the season begins, he will be a strong presence. He will regain his power and reclaim his name as a clutch hitter.

    I think that 2012 will be a year filled with a number of walk-off hits and home runs by Swisher.

A.J. Burnett

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    Don’t you worry about A.J. Burnett. Yes, he struggled for much of 2011. Burnett is due for a stellar year.

    Yankee fans seem to be split with their opinions about whether NY should keep him. Many believe in him. Many have given up.

    Burnett has had awesome games when he couldn’t be touched. He has had terrible games when he threw wild pitches that led to runs.

    My belief is that with all of the negativity coming from some fans, Burnett will be motivated to rebuild this winter. Pitching coaches will work with him on his delivery and release.

    2012 will prove to the critics that Cashman made the correct decision to keep him in pinstripes and on the rotation.

Ivan Nova

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    Nova had a great 2011 season pitching 16-4. Many had concerns because of his forearm injury in Game 5 in the ALDS. Thankfully, he was cleared by a physician back in November of having any serious injury.

    Now that Nova has some MLB experience, his confidence on the mound in 2012 will intimidate hitters.  Standing at 6’4” and 225 pounds helps.

    Toward the end of the 2011 season, he became the No. 2 starter. He will assume another starting role in 2012, and will continue to win.

    2012 promises to be a breakout year for Ivan Nova.

Jesus Montero

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    The offseason produced a great deal of discussion among fans and analysts about whether NY should trade Montero. I believe that the Yankees would be mistaken to trade their top prospects.

    So far, it seems as though the Yankees do not intend to trade him. That’s great news.

    Montero showed power and youthful energy last year. As one of the top three prospects in the Yankee farm system, it’s wise to keep him and further develop him.

    He will get some valuable playing time, and he will prove that he deserves his position. 2012 will be a blockbuster season for Montero.

    I’m reminded of when Jacoby Ellsbury was called up to Boston. He floored everyone with his hitting, fielding and base-running. 

    We’ll see something similar with Montero in 2012.

Dellin Betances

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    Betances, a top three pitching prospect in the Yankee farm system, will likely get a chance to pitch this season, just like he did in September 2011

    He’ll need some more time in Triple-A to refine his skills, but later in the 2012 season he’ll get another call-up to MLB.

    Betances will have an impressive MLB showing that will lead to an even stronger 2013 season. 

    Fans need to keep close eyes on Dellin Betances. 2012 will be the year that he makes a name for himself.

Curtis Granderson

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    Before the 2011 season began, Granderson worked with hitting coaches to try to perfect his swing. The time that he spent working on his swing certainly paid off.

    Once he perfected his batting stance and swing mechanics, he became a feared hitter. Granderson had a phenomenal year. 

    Now that he has a solid year behind him, it will further boost his confidence. His new-found confidence will translate into mind-boggling hits and home runs during 2012.

    He has had great success against left-handed pitching. We may see more left-handed pitchers intentionally walk him this year.

    Curtis Granderson will be another Yankee to have another breakout season. We have not seen his best yet.

The Postseason

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    Once again, the New York Yankees will remain at the top and end the regular season in first place. Boston fans will hate me for writing that, but I have to believe in NY.

    The Yankees will survive and win the ALDS. This article is about being bold, so I’m going to be bold and state that the Yankees will go to Game 7 and win the ALCS.

    The ALCS will be a long, hard-fought battle. The intensity of the series will be physically and emotionally draining.

    The World Series will come to New York. Who will prevail?

    You already know what I think.