The New York Yankees are coming off a strong season. They won the American League East in 2011 but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. The Yankees look at that as a bad season, a failure. They lost in five games to the Detroit Tigers even with home field advantage. The Yankees went out and seemingly upgraded their pitching. They still have a strong offense and strong bullpen. The question is will the older players remain healthy and will Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Andy Pettitte be able to stay healthy and pitch well enough for the Yankees. The Yankees had seven starters for five spots but it has worked out. Here is a look at their up coming season which will begin on Friday afternoon in Tampa.
The Yankees starting rotation is led by CC Sabathia. He is the ace of the staff and one of the best in the game. There isn’t much to say about him. Kuroda is the number two starter, the Yankees haven’t had much luck with Japanese pitchers in the past. Kuroda though seems to be different, he has pitched in Los Angeles for the past four years and had success. He has had a quiet but effective spring. I think he will be very good in the number two spot in the rotation. Phil Hughes has had a great spring and looks more like the 2010 version then the 2011 version. If he can stay healthy and continue to pitch well that may be the biggest upgrade they have in the rotation. Ivan Nova looks to continue what he started last year, he won 16 games and will try to build off of that. Freddy Garcia as the fifth starter will provide you innings and give you a chance to win most of the time, he may get hit hard against some good teams but he is the fifth starter. Pettitte will be ready in May or June, what a great weapon to have in your back pocket. Pineda we will see, he has the potential and getting hurt may have been the best thing for him.
The Yankees lineup is very strong. They will have Robinson Cano hitting third for a full season and I think that is the way it should be. Cano has become their best hitter and best player. If Alex Rodriguez can stay healthy he will be very productive as the cleanup hitter, I would expect more games and better numbers from him this season. I think Mark Teixeira will be good in the fifth hole and hit for a little better average. I don’t know though if it will affect his power numbers. I think Nick Swisher will have a big year in his walk year. I also think Russell Martin is one of the better catchers and will do even more offensively this year. The Yankees will have one of the top offenses in baseball.
The Yankees bullpen remains a strength to me. They can close out games with Dave Robertson, Rafael Soriano and the great Mariano Rivera. That is enough for me and now they have two lefties in Boone Logan and Clay Rapada. I think the Yankees will win a lot of games because of their pitching but they have the offense to back it up also. I would pick the Yankees to win the AL East and go to at least the ALCS. I think they will win around 95 games. The American League is stacked and the win totals may come down a little bit.