The New York Yankees have won 15 out of 18 division titles and finished in the top two in the league in runs each of the last four seasons, but this isn’t that team anymore. Injuries have decimated an aging Yankee lineup and have already begun to expose a lack of depth as early as March. Time may be ticking on this era of legendary Yankee mainstays. Mariano Rivera has announced that this will be his final tour and Derek Jeter may not be far behind. New York enters the 2013 season with questions about the present and future of their organization. The American League East is shaping up to be unkind for its occupants and the Yankees may struggle to contend. The Yankee lineup still features several intriguing fantasy baseball options despite injury concerns.
If Robinson Cano can lead New York to the playoffs then he deserves an MVP and the historic contract extension that has been discussed. The latter is all but guaranteed if Cano comes through with the pressure is squarely on his shoulders. No playoff contender will rely as heavily on one player as the Yankees will rely on Cano. He is one of the few players that is a lock for prolific fantasy numbers.
With Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the shelf for various lengths, the Yankees will focus on newcomers to lead the attack. Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner are competent replacements in the middle of the order; however, the replacements for the injured stars are less than desirable.
The names Juan Rivera, Chris Stewart and Dan Johnson do not belong in a Yankee lineup, or any playoff caliber lineup for that matter. New York is still discretely shopping for replacements for their less than stellar bottom-third.
Jeter and Ichiro will be key components in the top two slots of the lineup. Setting the table for the subsequent hitters becomes an important task since the home run will be less prominent in the Yankee offense this season.
The Yankee pitching staff has managed to avoid the injury bug to this point. The familiar names return to form the same rotation that earned the leagues 12th best ERA in 2012. New York should get more stability from their staff this season as they enter with five distinguished starters. CC Sabathia brings top fantasy value as the anchor of what should be a top-10 pitching staff.
New York’s top five fantasy hitters: 1. Robinson Cano, 2. Mark Teixeira, 3. Kevin Youkilis, 4. Curtis Granderson, 5. Ichiro.
New York’s top three fantasy pitchers: 1. CC Sabathia, 2. Hiroki Kuroda, 3. Phil Hughes.
New York projected record: 88-74
Stay tuned over the next month while I preview one team each day in preparation for the 2013 baseball season.