The New York Yankees Hitting Roster In 2013: State Of The Union Part 1
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Wednesday, February.13, 2013
Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Yankees had a precarious winter after failing miserably in the ALCS, (AKA the last time the country saw them play on Television) – when the team was decimated by the Detroit Tigers in a sweep. So what has happened since? A lot of status quo: Re-signing Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda, while saying good-bye to Raul Ibanez (SEA), Andruw Jones (FA), Nick Swisher (CLE), Eric Chavez (ARI), Russell Martin (PIT), Derek Lowe (FA), Steve Pearce (BAL), Casey McGehee (FA), Freddy Garcia (FA) and Rafael Soriano (WSH). All they really added back was former arch-nemesis Kevin Youkilis (CWS) and Travis Hafner (CLE). The team is sitting around 215 Million Dollars at Payroll right now, yet they have are heading into the 2013 campaign with Catchers that are of limited experience.
For the first time in years, the club will need to see some internal progress from their farm system to help the big club. With A-ROD out with his hip injury, plus the Miami fiasco, can you really count on the prima-donna to play at all this season? Derek Jeter is coming off a brutal ankle injury that occurred in the aforementioned Post Season Series vs the Tigers . The club is also hoping that ‘MO’ Rivera can find it within himself to make it through another year as a 43 Year Old. Just like The ALL-Time Saves Leader, this team is aging fast. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are Free Agents after 2013 is over. Brian Cashman is also going to take advantage of the reset option f the Luxury Tax loophole in 2014.
This means that when the Luxury Tax goes from 178 Million to 189 Million next year, that the club can stop paying its 40% annual penalty if they can get under for just one season. The Yankees will be sure to blow up the Payroll from 2015 and beyond that, it is just to not start the new luxury lax at the maximum penalty. Had the Luxury Tax not moved from its current spot, the Yankees would always pay the 40% penalty (even if they decided to skip one year).
Yankees Highlights 2012: Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance is Advised:
So fellow Yankees fans, I believe this season may be it for a few years of World Series aspirations in the Bronx. Having said that, lets take a look at the hitters in 2013.
Catcher: Austin Romine has shown some flashes of offense in the Minors – with a 3 Slash line of .278/.333/.747. He does have some power, clubbing 3 HRs in just 61 AB with Scranton/Wilkes Barre. While he may be the clubs future at the position, even on the best of circumstances, he is going to struggle. Not even Joe Girardi being his personal mentor will help transform this kid into the next coming of Thurman Munson.
Chris Stewart is definitely not an offense threat, although he did hit .241 in 141 AB last year, which was a better Average than the departing Russell Martin. Stewart is better served as a back up Catcher. This guy has a .217 Career Average in 351 AB. He makes decent contact – only striking out 48 times in those AB suggest. He also carries a .281 OBP in that time frame, which is not what you want on a championship caliber baseball team.
Francisco Cervelli definitely has the best offensive capabilities out of the three and he was part of the 2009 World Series club that went through a Post Season run. His defense leaves a little to be desired. In about a seasons worth of games at this point, the guy has 20 Career Errors. On offense, he virtually has no HR power with just 5 HRs in 490 Career AB. What Cervelli can do is make contact and he has decent speed for a backstop. What about the Miami allegations? Will he be investigated and suspended or – A Rod for that matter?
So unless things change drastically, the Yankees must try to make do with this collection of 3 catchers vying for 2 spots. They may even carry three catchers. As a Yankees fan, your best chance to acquire a nice veteran catcher will be by a trade. I am thinking that if Wilson Ramos can fully heal for the Nationals, that Kurt Suzuki would be available at some point in 2013. You also may look no further than in your own city, where newly acquired Mets Catcher John Buck is on the last year of his contract, so you have to figure the Wilpons will try to save a few Million by trading him early if they continue to wallow in mediocrity in a tough NL East.
First Base: Mark Teixeira starts his 11th year in the Major Leagues. 2012 represented the 1st time in 9 years that he failed to hit 30 HRs and drive in 100 RBI since his rookie year in 2003 – although he missed 39 games and was clearly on pace, with 24 HRs and 84 RBI through 123 Games Played. ‘Tex’ still won his 3rd Gold Glove Award in his 4 years as a Yankee (and 5th overall). The switch-hitter will turn 33 in April. He has seen his average plummet in recent years: After hitting .292 in 2009 for NYY, the last three years have gone: .256, .248 and .251 respectively. His OBP has also steadily declined. Clearly the man has lost some of his hitting prowess, however you should still be able to chalk him on the board for 30+ HRs and 100+ RBI – with great defensive. This still places him in the upper tier of 1st Baseman in the game. 2014 – 2016 might not be so kind to the man originally from Maryland.
Second Base: Robinson Cano makes it look so effortless – people often confuse it with him being lazy. Cano will hit .300+ with 100+ RBI and 75+ XBH in 2013. This is a contract year for the perennial ALL-Star, so look for him to be motivated towards a Career Season – and perhaps even challenge for that elusive AL MVP. He has taken home 3 straight Silver Slugger Awards – and has won 2 Gold Gloves in the last 3 years. He is a LHB in Yankee Stadium, which will only propel his numbers even higher.
ShortStop: Derek Jeter will begin his 19th season with the New York Yankees. He had a renaissance campaign in 2012 as a 38 Year Old. He led the AL in AB (683) PA (740) and Hits (216) – while he finished 5th in Batting Average (.316). Jeter is rapidly moving up ALL-Time List of a lot of different categories. He starts the year only 11 hits behind Eddie Collins for 10th place – and 15 behind Paul Molitor for 9th ALL-Time on the Hits List. Derek Jeter broke his ankle in the ALCS versus Detroit. He is on pace to make it back for Opening Day. I project the man to hit in the .290 – .300 range, with an OBP of .350 – .360 and possibly score near 100 Runs this year. His range of defense has suffered with old age, however he makes up for it with baseball savvy. Jeter has a player option for 2014. The Yankees must treat this season like it could be El Capitan’s last!
3rd Base: Kevin Youkilis will shock the world by wearing pinstripes in 2013. It was an insurance move for the year once learned Alex Rodriguez would be unable to play until around the ALL-Star Game at the earliest. Youkilis will get the job done. He may hit for a poorer Batting Average than in his Boston Red Sox hey-days, but he still grinds out Walks in his At-Bats. Look for a 3 Slash Line of .250/.350/.800 for the man in 2013, with about 20 HRs and 80 RBI. If A-Rod can come back, “The Greek God of Walks” will also prove as a valuable commodity for the Post Season. He can platoon DH with Travis Hafner. He can also back up at the 1B/3B positions. It was a brilliant move by Cashman to pick this guy up for 1 Year!
3rd Base: Alex Rodriguez. There are just too many variables on this season to predict what this guy will do. Even if the Active Leader in HRs (647) RBI (1950) and XBH (1189) probably doesn’t know himself. My guess is that he will come back in August. The Yankees would love just to void his contract, however they will work him back into the lineup if that fails. I am going to project that he plays in 35 Games. I believe he will have 120 AB with 8 HRs and 17 RBI. His Batting Average will be around .250. It will be a hard decision whether or not the team would add him to a Post Season Roster. I guess a lot will have to do if Travis Hafner is healthy.
Designated Hitter: In Travis Hafner, the Yankees will have some options if Rodriguez can return. The immediate idea looks to play Hafner as much as possible right now. However here is the problem, Hafner hit for a 3 Slash Line of .197/.306/.748 versus LHP last year as oppose to .241/361/.798 vs RHP. I look for ‘Pronk’ to receive about 400 AB – and run into 20 HRs, plus add about 60 RBI (circa Raul Ibanez in 2012.) The club may look to add another player to help with the DH duties. Either that or games versus LHP, they could hit Youkilis as the DH – and play Eduardo Nunez at 3B to cover the position. The latter is a more likely scenario.
Projected Lineup vs RHP: Leadoff – Jeter (SS) Suzuki (RF) Cano (2B) Teixeira (1B) Granderson (CF) Hafner (DH) Youkilis (3B) Whoever the Catcher is will hit 8th and Gardner (LF) 9th.
Projected Lineup vs LHP: Leadoff – Jeter (SS) Suzuki (RF) Cano (2B) Teixeira (1B) Youkilis (DH) Granderson (CF) Pena (3B) Whoever is Catcher will hit 8th and Gardner (LF) 9th.
Left Field: Brett Gardner will be chomping at the bit to play a full season – after nursing an injury for the majority of the 2012 campaign. The Yankees really missed Gardner’s speed last year. If the 29 Year-Old can get back to his AL SB leading ways of 2013, the team will be happy. He will be best served to hit 9th – before the combination of Suzuki and Jeter at the top of the lineup. The Yankees will gladly accept his .355 Career OBP for hitting down at the bottom of the order. Gardner will also improve the defense out in the Field. Gardner is under team control until 2015, however he is Arbitration Eligible in 2014, so it would behoove him to have a productive season in 2013. I will project a 3 Slash Line of .270/.360/.725 – with around 40 SB. He must stay healthy!
Center Field: Curtis Granderson is coming off back to back 40+ HRs and 100+ RBI years. He also has scored over 100 runs in consecutive years. A noticeable difference from 2011 – 2012 was a big dip in his OPS (.916 – .811). This will be the Grandy Man’s last year in New York City. There is no way Brian Cashman can re-sign Robinson Cano, stay under the Luxury Tax – and then dole out the money it will take to re-sign Granderson based on his power numbers. Granderson Struckout 195 times last year (Career High) – and hit a Career low of .232 for a Batting Average. If you are the franchise, don’t change a thing. Let him be HR – Centric. You can simply drop the man in the lineup now that you have Ichiro at the top.
Right Field: Ichiro Suzuki saw his career re-ignited with the Yankees. He hit well in the last 3 months including the playoffs. He is a perfect #2 in any lineup these days. I project the veteran to hit neat .300 and wouldn’t be surprised for him to near 40 Stolen Bases for the campaign. Suzuki is possessed by fitness. You can bet he will be in the best shape of the last 5 years coming into camp looking for a championship this season. It is also a false pretense that he can’t hit LHP. Last year he hit .284 vs LHP and .283 vs RHP. The man does have better power numbers vs RHP, however the Yankees should put him in the #2 slot and just not worry. Suzuki should also bunt more and wave the bat like a magic – wand to move up runners all year long. Suzuki can play it any way. With the short – porch in Right Field at Yankee Stadium, I am thinking he may post a Career high in HRs with 16-20 (circa Johnny Damon 2009.)
I am not convinced the Brian Cashman is done acquiring players for the club either. With financial Armageddon happening for the 2014 year, he owes it to the fans to go for one last title. Otherwise, why did Rivera, Pettitte, Kuroda, Suzuki and Jeter come back for one more year? Why sign Youkilis if the team doesn’t want to cash 1 more title with the current roster? There is no guarantee that Cano will re-sign either. Watch for the Dodgers to be players for him next winter (especially if they fail to win a World Series. If they don’t end up with the ALL-Star Second Baseman, you can sure bet they will jack up the value for him to re-sign with New York, which will cause less money left in the kitty to sign other players.) The team will have one of the better offenses in the AL in 2013 – and this should carry them to a playoff berth yet again – for all but one year since 1994 (2008.) Whatever happens in the Bronx this year, it will be as entertaining as always!
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners ***
Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames: To learn more about my “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days- click here. I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB. You can reach me on Twitter here Follow @mlbreports
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Posted on February 13, 2013, in MLB Payroll and Contracts, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 2009 World Series, 2012 ALCS, 2013 Yankee Payroll, 25 man roster New York Yankees, 40 Man Roster Yankees, a, al mvp, AL Silver Slugger Award Winners, alex rodriguez, all time hits list, all-time home run list, andruw jones, andy pettitte, austine romine, boston red sox, brian cashman, casey mcehee, chicago white sox, chris stewart, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, cleveland indians, curtis granderson, dave robertson, dellin betances, derek jeter, derek lowe, detroit tigers, eddie collins, eduardo nunez, eric chavez, francisco cervelli, freddy garcia, Gold Glove Award Winner AL, Hal steinbrenner, hiroki kuroda, ichiro suzuki, john buck, johnny damon, jonathan broxton, juan pierre, kevin youkilis, kurt suzuki, mariano rivera, mark teixeira, new york yankees, nick swisher, paul molitor, phil hughes, rafael soriano, raul ibanez, robinson cano, russell martin, ryan madson, seattle mariners, stan musial, steve pearce, thurman munson, travis hafner, twitter @chuckbooth3024, Wilson Ramos. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.