2009 Yankees: Bronx Bombers...or Just Bombs? A Position Preview (Part One)

Mike KassContributor IMarch 26, 2009

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Alex Rodriguez #13 (L) and Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees walk back to the dugout against the Baltimore Orioles during the last regular season game at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees are playing their final season in the 85 year old ball park and plan on moving into the new Yankee Stadium across the street to start the 09 season. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In part one of my mini-series, I will be taking a look at the Yankees' starters in the infield (not including the catcher).

We will travel to each spot and see how the Yankees shape up with their starters.... In part two, we will take a look at the outfielders. Part three will look at the pitching and catcher. Part four will look at the bench and DH. In part five, we will look at the management and some possible call-ups from AAA.

So, without further ado, your 2009 Yankees!

First Base: Mark Teixeira

Signed: Dec 2008

Career statistics through six seasons

  • 840 Games played. (162 in both 2005 and 2006) (157 in 2008)
  • 203 Home Runs (33 in 2008)
  • 906 Hits (177 in 2008)
  • .284 Average (.308 in 2008)
  • .371 OBP (.410 in 2008)

Teixeira is a feared hitter. He has the power to nail the ball into the bleachers, yet he has the finesse to drop the ball into the gap. He attracted 97 walks last year, which shows that pitchers do not want to pitch to him when it counts.

Last season, Tex recorded a fielding percentage of .997 with just five errors, which was tied for second in the league at first base (fourth if you include errors). Let's face it, not too many balls will get past him at first.

There is a slight chance he may play some third base as well while Rodriguez is out. If that's the case, I doubt you'll see any drop in his production. He's played the position before, and the skills needed for both spots are transferable between each other.

Overall, I see the Yankees being very please with him.

Second Base: Robinson Cano

Signed: 2005 (raised in farm system)

Career statistics through four seasons

  • Games played: 573 (160 in 2007, 159 in 2008)
  • 671 hits (162 in 2008)
  • .303 average (.271 in 2008)
  • .335 OBP (.305 in 2008)

Cano is what I consider an average hitter. He'll produce what he'll need to. This is based on last year though. He had a much better season in 2007...which I see him repeating this season. After a slow start last year, look for him to try to redeem himself out of the gate. Instead of hitting .151 in April.  This season, look for him to hit about .290.

In the field, Cano is in tenth among second baseman with a .984 fielding percentage and 13 errors. I project a .990 percentage this year with seven or eight errors. I think he has improved since last season (by the way, his 2008 fielding numbers were identical to his 2007 numbers...at least he's consistent).

Shortstop: Derek Jeter

Signed: 1996 (First-full season)

Career statistics through thirteen seasons (and 15 games in 1995)

  • Games: 1985 (Last season with under 150 games: 2003 (119))
  • Hits: 2535 (179 in 2008)
  • .316 average (.300 in 2008)
  • .387 OBP (.362 in 2008)

2008 was an off-year for Jeter. Granted, you're lucky if a .300 season is considered mediocre for you. I'm not so sure that his number's improve this season. I hope they do, for the Yankees' sake...but the guy is 34. His veteran presence as the captain is definitely needed though. If his numbers do pick up, look for him to be in the 195 hit range and .310 average range...not nearly his best, but better than most.

In the field, Jeter is as good as any other shortstop. It is an extremely tough spot to play (along with second-base), and up-the-middle is where most of your missed balls will be. However, Jeter is still agile as ever. Look for him to get to the hole and make some more of his famous scoop-leap-turn throws to first.

For the next position, I will use their starter for the majority of the season (that is, of course, assuming he stays healthy).

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez

Signed: 2004 (Trade from Texas)

Career statistics through fifteen seasons

  • 2042 games (138 in 2008)
  • 2404 hits (154 in 2008)
  • 553 HR (35 in 2008)
  • .306 average (.302 in 2008)
  • .389 OBP (.392 in 2008)

It's really no secret that Rodriguez had a problem last year. His hip was bothering him all season. Let's face it though, 35 home runs in an off year is pretty beastly. Look for him to come out swinging this season when he is fit.

He has something to prove after all of the offseason distractions, hints, allegations, and things left unsaid (I'm not going into a steroid discussion...don't start one in my comments please.). He'll be out to prove something. As a three-time AL MVP (two-time with NY), look for him to put up MVP numbers in the time he plays.

As for fielding, he is consistently in the top five for third baseman...look for that to pick up a bit this season with his cartilage repaired. He'll be consistent with his numbers for the most part though...look for him to be at about a .969-.972 percentage with nine - 12 errors.

Part two will come tomorrow. :)


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