MLB American League Preview: No. 9 New York Yankees

Updated: March 25, 2015
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2014 Record: 84-78 (3rd in AL East)

2015 Projected Record: 79-83 (3rd in AL East)

The New York Yankees are noticeably on the decline for the first time in a long time. No matter how legendary or dominant a franchise is, eventually they will have to rebuild — that time is now if it didn’t already begin a few years ago. Arguably one of the greatest shortstops the game has ever seen, in Derek Jeter, retired and obviously that hurts this franchise both on and off the field.

Is Age Nothing But A Number?

As a whole, the Yankees are seemingly old, but still have tremendous talent. A 39-year-old Alex Rodriguez is making his return from the longest suspension in baseball history, but it still remains unknown how much exactly he brings to the table. Outfielder Carlos Beltran‘s best years are definitely in the rear view at the age of 37, left handed pitcher C.C. Sabathia is entering this season 34 years of age and first-baseman Mark Teixeira is entering the season at 34 as well.

So much money has been spent into this franchise and they now find themselves in a rough position, where none of these players are expendable. A positive though, with star-studded names in the lineup, it could mean trouble for other teams. There is so much home-run potential with names like Brian McCann, Teixeira, Rodriguez, third baseman Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and even Garrett Jones. Last season the Yankees finished 12th in the league in team home runs (147).

The bullpen will take a little step back with the departure of the best closer of all-time Mariana Rivera, and the loss of David Robertson to free agency. The last couple of innings will more than likely belong to right-handed pitcher Dellin Betances and left-handed pitcher Andrew Miller. Age will be the biggest concern for the Yankees. Meanwhile, other teams in the American League East are improving could mean disaster for them.

Defense Will Be A Strength

One of the strengths of this Yankees team is their defense. Advanced metrics may not agree with that, but Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew provide a deadly double-play combination. McCann still remains one of the best catchers in all of baseball, especially when it comes to pitch-framing. The outfield has some room for improvement, but Jacoby Ellsbury is still a quality outfielder as well as Gardner and Beltran.

Pitching will be suspect with Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka at the top of the rotation. Pineda made 13 starts last season and none two years prior to that. Once again, if all pitchers are healthy, then this team may indeed be playing in October, but as baseball fans are we really counting on that? As mentioned earlier, Sabathia is 34, and is now 300 pounds and hasn’t been effective in the past two seasons in New York.

Season and Future Outlook

A positive outlook on the Yankees’ organization as a whole is that they have been drafting quite well. Also, they have added some strong international players, but we may not see them this season. Aaron Judge is one of their top prospects, but he is still a season or two away from being major-league ready. He shows huge power potential from the right-side and when he does make the big leagues, he will make a huge impact in the lineup.

It seems like ownership of this team are all going in different directions. Personally, in my opinion, their current status is very similar to the Los Angeles Lakers‘ situation in the NBA — like they have lost some of their market. The financial risks they have taken have come back to bite them, but they are the Yankees — they will be fine in a few seasons. As long as the Steinbrenner brothers, Randy Levine and Brian Cashman, are running this franchise, money will be spent. I don’t foresee a playoff appearance this year, but possibly with a good off-season they can return in 2016.

Projected Depth Chart (via with 2014 statistics)

C: Brian McCann — .232 average, 23 home runs, and 75 RBI.

1B: Mark Teixeira — .216 average, 22 home runs, and 62 RBI

2B: Stephen Drew — .162 average, 7 home runs, and 26 RBI (85 games with NYY and BOS)

SS: Didi Gregorius — .226 average, 6 home runs, and 27 RBI (80 games with ARI)

3B: Chase Headley — .243 average, 13 home runs, and 49 RBI (58 games with NYY and SD)

LF: Brett Gardner — .256 average, 17 home runs, and 58 RBI

CF: Jacoby Ellsbury — .271 average, 16 home runs, and 39 stolen bases

RF: Carlos Beltran — .233 average, 15 home runs, and 49 RBI

SP1: Masahiro Tanaka — 13-5 record, 2.77 E.R.A, and 141 strikeouts

SP2: Michael Pineda — 5-5 record, 1.89 E.R.A, and 59 strikeouts (13 games)

SP3: C.C. Sabathia — 3-4 record, 5.28 E.R.A, and 48 strikeouts (8 games)

SP4: Nathan Eovaldi — 6-14 record, 4.37 E.R.A, and 142 strikeouts (with MIA)

SP5: Chris Capuano — 3-4 record, 4.35 E.R.A, and 84 strikeouts (12 games with NYY and BOS)


Photo Credit: (Anthony Gruppuso, USA TODAY Sports)

DC Hendrix

DC Hendrix

Report for Sideline Sports Report. Producer/Host for ESPN 1380 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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