Projecting Yankees Opening Day Roster

 

With Blizzard Nemo coming down on us it seems like baseball is a million years away. However, that is not the case, as pitchers and catchers for the Yankees will report to Tampa on Tuesday. There will be more competition for roster spots this year than there normally are, which should make Spring Training more interesting. Here is my projection for the Yankees Opening Day Roster:

Catchers:

Francisco Cervelli

Chris Stewart

I have been screaming about this position all offseason, but unfortunately this is what we are stuck with. If it was my decision I would give Romine a chance over Cervelli because I would rather see what the unknown is rather than see the known bad player. Don’t let Cervelli’s .271 career batting average fool you. It is an incredibly empty .271 and represents why batting average is just not a very useful stat anymore. Cervelli’s career OPS is an egregious .692 and I don’t think with regular AB’s Cervelli would hit close to .271 anyways. Also, Cervelli is terrible behind the plate, so I really don’t know what the Yankees see in him. I actually don’t mind Stewart as the backup, as his defense is pretty good.

Infield:

Mark Teixeira

Robinson Cano

Derek Jeter

Kevin Youkilis

Eduardo Nunez

Jayson Nix

The infield remains intact from last year except for Kevin Youkilis replacing Alex Rodriguez. I really expect that to be pretty much a wash. On a terrible year for him Youkilis’s OPS was only eight points lower than Rodriguez’s last season. Youkilis has already been working with Kevin Long on changing his stance and I look for him to have a bounce back season. Nobody knows quite what to expect from Jeter coming off a broken ankle. It is doubtful that he will lead the AL in hits again, but hopefully he can hit around .300 again. Cano is in his walk year, so you can expect him to put up his normal MVP type numbers. The Yankees will need Teixeira to be the elite player he used to be to make up for some lost offensive production on the team. Nunez will likely resume his role as the utility man again and he should be the DH against lefties. I gave Nix the last roster spot because of his versatility. Dan Johnson could make it over him because the Yankees don’t really have a backup first baseman, but Youkilis could always play over there if necessary.

DH: Travis Hafner

Hafner will be the DH against righties. Hafner’s line last year was .228/.346/.438/.784 and he hit 12 home runs and 34 RBI. The short left field porch should be inviting for Hafner and the Yankees hope he can replace the production Raul Ibanez gave them last year.

Outfielders:

Brett Gardner

Curtis Granderson

Ichiro Suzuki

Matt Diaz

I still don’t understand givng Ichiro a two-year contract and having an all lefty outdield, but there is nothing that can be done about that now. Gardner is one of the most important players on the team this year, as the Yankees will need him to be consistent on offense. Despite his postseason struggles, Nick Swisher will be sorely missed and Ichiro will not be able to replace his productivity. What Ichiro has to do is hit like he did for the Yankees after the trade (.322/.340/.454/.794) and create havoc on the bases with Gardner. Granderson will need to get back to his 2011 form after his down season. Despite another 40 homerun season Granderson was dreadful in the second half of the season (.212/.278/.480/.767)/ I think Diaz will win the last outfield spot over Juan Rivera, as he has a career .863 OPS vs. lefties. One thing this group has going for them is that their defense as a whole should be outstanding.

Starting Pitchers:

CC Sabathia

Hiroki Kuroda

Andy Pettitte

Phil Hughes

Ivan Nova

Not too much drama here, as the first four are locks and form a very solid starting rotation. There are age issues with Kuroda and Pettitte, but if they are healthy they should be just fine. I was very bullish on Kuroda last year and I see no reason why he can’t repeat his success this season. If you have seen pictures of Sabathia lately you probably noticed that he has lost a ton of weight this offseason. It will be interesting to see what effect that has on him this season. Hughes is in a contract year and he can cash in next offseason if he has a solid year. I think Nova will win the fifth spot, as he has more potential than David Phelps, and Phelps has had experience in the bullpen.

Bullpen:

David Phelps

Boone Logan

Clay Rapada

Joba Chamberlain

David Aardsma

David Robertson

Mariano Rivera

This group is probably the strongest on the team, especially if Chamberlain and Aardsma pitch to their potential. Chamberlain was outstanding in September after struggling to find his command after returning in August. He had a 2.03 ERA in September and a .90 WHIP. Rivera’s health and productivity will be the key because if he is injured of ineffective than the pen is much less deep. Rapada and Logan are two solid lefties, as Rapada is a LOOGY only, and Logan can pitch to a lefty or righty. Robertson should be one of the best setup guys in MLB again.

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About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on February 8, 2013, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Matthew B…
    Any more news on a switch between CF and LF.
    From the sounds of it, they are going to use Nunez in the out field as well as the infield…if so, maybe they will have him play RF if Itchy has trouble hitting this year! Nunez has the best right handed bat on the bench, obviously he will play SS a lot, for the first few games or so. We should watch his feet, that will tell how much he has improved from last year. The only thing the same from 2nd, 3rd and SS is they are all in the in-field! Foot work and routes to the ball are different and Foot-work controls most things, plus your throwing to first etc. A good athlete can play all those spots and get the job done but, the little things come up and bite one at the damnest moments!

  2. Ken, ………Twasp played SS and then 3rd…..the big difference is the footwork when throwing the ball.

    • Cool, I always say I played 2rd base and closer, which is true but, the only reason I played 2nd is because, a lot of guys hate the way the ball spins and takes bad jumps plus guys like me like to take them out. Really I had to play 1st, 2nd, 3rd and ss, they wouldn’t allow me in the OF!
      I played were ever a guy was missing but, mostly 2nd base.
      You ever play 2nd base?
      Each of those positions are different, I really liked 3rd base the most, everything was fast and quick reaction time. And that is the biggest difference between 3rd and 2nd or SS. The middle spots have more time to react and mostly take a rounding route to the ball, when possible, thus setting themselves up for the throw.
      You have heard of OF taking bad routes, they ain’t seen anything until they see me play the OF…which only happened ONCE in my 60+ years of playing. Playing the infield I am usually on the move as the batter is swinging but, in the OF, I have to wait untill the ball is in the air…Not to good! That is why I say not everyone can play the OF well. :)

  3. Is there an OF in MLB that is fast er than the Yank’ s OF?

  4. JUST FOR MEN has come out with anew hair color called “Camouflage “Ken”.

  5. Gardner Nunez and Ichy steal 100 this season.

    • Yesterday I went to the Field-house and worked out with some of the College kids. My left hand is still very stiff and I am slow, well slow, for me anyhow. Almost half the kids could out run me, really…almost all of them did. I tried to throw a curve and change-up but, not ever going to happen, the fingers and wrist are stiff!
      I think I’ll go in the basement and light up a cigarette and feel sorry for myself…nope…better not, my wife would beat me up and I hate to see a grown old man cry…when it is me!!! :)

  6. GLOBAL BALOGNA…good morning blogging survivalists.
    Hope you guys got through this event in good shape.
    My part of Long Island, looks like about 8″. Man the shovels, lads.
    Could of been much worse. Good luck. Talk later.

  7. A ROGUE POST!…Yu Darvish? where did that come from?
    Good morning, Cowgirls.

  8. ROBINSON CANO REVISITED…again..MLB says that Scott Boras & Cano will look
    for an eight year, 200 million dollar contract. If the Yankees are not at that high altitude,
    then make him available tomorrow. Offer a young player, or two also, and see
    who comes to the table.

  9. Give him the 200 and be glad you have him!

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