It’s only day one of the new baseball season but it’s not too early to see that the New York Yankees are in trouble. The same day that New York officially set the record for highest opening day payroll, they began the season with a flop. New York fell 8-2 at home against a rival Boston Red Sox club that won just 69 games last season. It’s certainly premature to hit the panic button if you’re the Yankees but it’s realistic that their lineup won’t offer the usual production from a fantasy baseball standpoint.
Fantasy owners can typically count on the Yankees to contribute at least six solid fantasy options no matter who fills their lineup. As we saw in the 2012 post-season with Raul Ibanez, the Yankees always seem to have a rejuvenating affect on older or underachieving players. New York has a number of candidates to capture the Yankee magic this season but their lineup is without the usual cast that can take the pressure off the bottom of the lineup.
With Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez all out with injuries of varying degrees, the Yankees have been forced to pick up scraps in order to compile a presentable lineup. In their absence, the likes of Vernon Wells, Ben Francisco and an aging Kevin Youkilis have been called on to occupy the middle of the Yankee lineup. Not to mention, the tail end of the order is filled by fringe major leaguers in Jayson Nix and Francisco Cervelli.
New York only needs to stay afloat while their injured stars mend their ailments. The majority of the burden falls on the shoulders of Robinson Cano and their solid pitching staff. It’s crucial that CC Sabathia gives them the chance to win every time he takes the mound. As opposed to the Yankee lineups were accustomed to, this unit doesn’t strike fear into opponents or operate with the same swagger. Also contrary to Yankee customs, the starting rotation will need to carry a withered lineup with quality starts in order to compete.
New York will need to find a way to get through these first two months with the roster that they have. In addition to elite productivity from Cano, the Yankees will need Youkilis and Ichiro to step up in order to keep up in a competitive division.
Currently, the only Yankees that have legitimate fantasy value are Cano and Sabathia. Youkilis, Ichiro, Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera also have value to a lesser extent.