In-Depth Preview/Prediction for New York Yankees in 2013
Added by Justin Mears on March 11, 2013.
New York Yankees 2013 Prediction: 4th AL East
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Time Has Come For Yanks’ To Slide
The New York Yankees are coming off yet another American League East division championship, but for the first time in a long time things don’t exactly look hunky dory in the Bronx. New York lost key contributors Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez, and Raul Ibanez all to free-agency, and veteran third baseman Alex Rodriguez will miss at least the first half of the season recovering from hip surgery. In very un-Yankee like fashion the club did very little to address any of their glaring holes this winter, and with vastly improved teams throughout their division New York could be in for a far fall from grace in 2013.
If the Yankees are to prove their skeptics wrong and again navigate their way into the postseason their starting rotation will have to be a major strength, particularly at the top with ace left hander C.C. Sabathia. Last season the veteran went 15-6 and while his 3.38 ERA was very good, for what it’s worth it was his highest mark since 2005. On a positive note Sabathia went over 200 innings for the sixth consecutive season while tossing two complete games and finishing with the AL’s sixth best WHIP at 1.14. Following him in the rotation will be Japanese right hander Hiroki Kuroda, who proved to be a valuable addition for New York a year ago. In his first season in the Bronx the 38 year old won 16 games with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP, while throwing the 4th most innings in the American League (219.2) and giving the Yankees a masterful 8.1 inning outing in the ALDS. Andy Pettitte’s return from retirement was successful a year ago as the southpaw proved to be a much needed addition to the New York rotation. In 12 starts Pettitte went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, and while at 40 years old the veteran is obviously no longer is his prime, he showed last year he can still be a valuable back of the rotation starter. Righty Phil Hughes heard his name thrown around in a few trade rumors this offseason but the California native will return to the Yankees rotation in 2013. Last year the veteran pitched pretty well for the Bombers, finishing with a 16-13 record accompanied by a 4.19 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, and while he did allow opponents to hit .259 against him, Hughes is a valuable arm to have towards the bottom of the rotation. The final spot in New York’s rotation will be decided in spring training, with a few right handers in the mix. You’d have to imagine 26 year old Ivan Nova has an upper hand heading into camp, but his performance last season certainly leaves the door open. In 28 starts Nova finished with an ERA north of five and allowed the opposition to hit a gaudy .288 against him, numbers that certainly indicate he’ll need a strong spring to keep his job. Notre Dame product David Phelps pitched well for the Yankees bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen in ’12, and he’ll get a long look in camp, as will 24 year old Michael Pineda, who won nine games for the Mariners in 2011 before missing all of last year after coming to New York.
Mariano Rivera is back for one final season. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
When 2012 began Yankees future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera was content with it being the final season of his illustrious career. That changed in an instant when a knee injury ended his campaign after just nine appearances, as the ultra-competitive 43 year old right hander didn’t want to go out on that note. Rivera has worked hard in rehab and proclaimed his knee was 95 percent when he reported to spring training, and New York is hoping to send the veteran out on a high note in ’13. David Robertson has become one of the better set-up men in baseball for the Yankees, and while the righty didn’t quite equal his masterful ’11 season last year, he was still very good. In 65 games the Birmingham, AL native posted a 2.67 ERA while striking out 81 hitters in just 60.2 innings, and he’ll again serve as the bridge to Rivera. Southpaw Boone Logan led the American League with 80 appearances last season, and after holding left handed hitters to just a .231 batting average, the 28 year old will again see plenty of action in the upcoming campaign. Veteran righty David Aardsma was recovering from Tommy John Surgery when the Yankees signed him late last offseason, and the former Mariner was only able to appear in one game for New York which came the last week of the regular season. He is, however, fully healthy in spring training and New York is hoping he’ll be the same caliber pitcher that was able to convert 69 saves from ’09-’10 as the closer in Seattle. Journeyman lefty Clay Rapada had struggled to find a Major League home but if his performance a year ago was any indication of things to come, he may be an important part of the New York bullpen for years to come. In 70 games the veteran finished with a 2.82 ERA while holding lefties to a ridiculous .186 batting average, and if he can be a reliable specialist it allows the Yankees to save Logan for later in the game. Right hander Joba Chamberlain was unable to rejoin New York’s relief corps until August after suffering a devastating ankle injury in spring training, and the veteran was inconsistent at best down the stretch. In 22 games Chamberlain pitched to a 4.35 ERA with a terrible 1.55 WHIP, while allowing the opposition to hit north of .300 against him. Like Aardsma the Nebraska native is fully healthy entering camp, and he’ll have to prove he’s still capable of being a productive set-up man. Right hander Cody Eppley posted a 3.33 ERA in 59 games for the Yankees in 2012, and unless they choose to keep David Phelps in the big league bullpen as a long man, the University of Virginia product should again head north in April.
In a Yankee line-up that will be without much of its offensive firepower from recent years, there will be an immense amount of pressure on second baseman Robinson Cano to continue anchoring New York’s attack. Last season the veteran hit a stellar .313 while setting a new career high with 33 homeruns to go along with 94 RBI’s. The Dominican Republic born infielder’s 196 hits and 48 doubles both ranked 3rd in the AL, and his .379 OBP ranked 7th in the league. His double play partner up the middle will again be Yankees captain Derek Jeter, and the 38 year old shortstop continued defying the odds last year. Playing in 159 games (his highest total since 2005), Jeter hit .316 with 15 homeruns and 58 RBI’s, and his 216 hits were the most in the AL. He did, however, suffer a gruesome ankle injury in the ALCS against Detroit, and New York will desperately need him fully recovered and ready to go by opening day. Eduardo Nunez will back up both middle infield positions while also finding some starts at DH.
Teixeira will miss the beginning of the season due to a wrist injury. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Like Robinson Cano, switch-hitting first baseman Mark Teixeira will be under a ton of pressure in 2013 to step up and help the Yankees overcome the loss of Martin and Swisher. Various injuries limited the Maryland native to 123 games a year ago, in which he hit .251 with 24 homeruns and 84 RBI’s, but for New York to seriously compete for a playoff spot in the upcoming campaign they’ll need a year closer to the one the veteran gave them in ’09 when he tallied power numbers of 39 and 122. Across the diamond at third base will be a very strange sight to see, as with Alex Rodriguez expected to miss at least the first half and possibly the entire season, New York signed former Boston nemesis Kevin Youkilis to a free-agent pact. While splitting time between the Red Sox and White Sox in 2012 Youkilis hit .235 with 19 homeruns and 60 RBI’s, and while the Yankees know they’re not getting the veteran in his prime, they’re hopeful he can be a dangerous right handed bat towards the bottom of their batting order. Eduardo Nunez has experience at the hot corner and newly acquired Ross Canzler can also play both corner infield positions.
New York’s outfield obviously took a huge hit when right fielder Nick Swisher departed to join the Indians as a free-agent, but they’re hopeful the veteran trio they plan to start on a regular basis can pick up the slack. Center fielder Curtis Granderson has loved playing at Yankee Stadium the past two seasons, and the 32 year old is coming off his second consecutive year with at least 41 homeruns and 106 RBI’s. The former Tiger did, however, watch his batting average plummet to .232 last year and his strikeout total became increasingly alarming, especially down the stretch. Veteran right fielder Ichiro Suzuki came to New York in a deadline deal with the Mariners last summer, and while the ten time all-star played primarily left field for the Yankees last fall, with Swisher no longer here he’ll go back to his regular position. Suzuki had struggled for Seattle prior to the trade last year but it was easy to see he was rejuvenated in the Bronx, as in 67 games for New York the 39 year old hit .322, and the Yankees will hope he can be a productive table setter for them in ’13. South Carolina born Brett Gardner missed most of the 2012 campaign with an elbow injury, but entering spring training he’s fully recovered and slated to be the Yankees starting left fielder. The 29 year old is a career .266 hitter who has tremendous speed, and New York will hope he can give them essentially a second leadoff hitter batting ninth. Veteran right handed bat Matt Diaz has a great chance to make the team despite being in camp on a non-roster invitation, and Ross Canzler could also see time in the corner outfield positions.
When Russell Martin signed a free-agent contract with the Pirates last December, it left the Yankees with a gaping hole behind the plate, and one the club did very little to address in the subsequent months. Entering spring training their catching situation is very much up in the air, with Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, Austin Romine, and non-roster invitee Bobby Wilson all in the mix. Cervelli has the most experience with New York’s pitching staff but he’s only logged 125 Major League at-bats over the past two seasons, and Stewart is a journeyman who’s played for five teams in six years. Romine has the most upside as he’s regarded as the Yankees catcher of the future, but the team remains hesitant to rush him just to fill a need at the Major League level, and Wilson was non-tendered by the Angels in December.
In late January the Yankees signed Travis Hafner to a free-agent contract in hopes the left handed slugger could provide them with some pop out of their DH position. The veteran has been slowed by injuries in recent years but does have 201 career homeruns, and New York is hoping he’ll send a plethora of long balls over the short porch in right field. Infielder Eduardo Nunez figures to get a plethora of at-bats in the DH position as well. Last year the veteran hit .292 off the bench, and while he isn’t the best defensive player in the world, he’ll still start at shortstop on occasion to allow Jeter to DH in an effort to keep the captain fresh. Veteran right handed outfielder Matt Diaz should be able to land a spot on New York’s roster as the club desperately needs right handed power off the bench, and versatile Ross Canzler should also make the team as a reserve at all four corner positions. Entering camp Francisco Cervelli is probably the Yankees number one catcher with Chris Stewart slated to be his back-up but it’s anyone’s guess how that situation will shake out during the spring. Others who could see time on the Yankees bench are outfielders Zoilo Almonte, Juan Rivera, and Melky Mesa, or infielder Corban Joseph.
RF Ichiro Suzuki – Veteran turned his season around after arriving in the Bronx
SS Derek Jeter – The Captain continues to prove his critics wrong
2B Robinson Cano – The premier second baseman in baseball
1B Mark Teixeira – Bombers will need a big year from the switch-hitter
CF Curtis Granderson – Homeruns are nice but he needs to become a better hitter
3B Kevin Youkilis – How strange a sight is this?
DH Travis Hafner – Power is certainly not the question
C Francisco Cervelli – Must win the catching job in spring training
LF Brett Gardner – A second leadoff man in the nine hole
LHP C.C. Sabathia – Among the best left handed starters in the game
RHP Hiroki Kuroda – Yanks’ were happy to bring the veteran back
LHP Andy Pettitte – Was better than expected after coming out of retirement
RHP Phil Hughes – Valuable arm towards the bottom of the rotation
RHP Ivan Nova – Must prove he deserves this spot in the spring
RHP Mariano Rivera – Didn’t want knee injury to end his career
RHP David Robertson – Strong 8th inning man
LHP Boone Logan – Has become a very good left handed set-up man
RHP David Aardsma – Acquisition may pay big dividends in 2013
LHP Clay Rapada – Appears to have found a home
RHP Joba Chamberlain – Must prove he can still be a consistent middle man
RHP Cody Eppley – Pitched well under the radar in ’12