Monday, March 31, 2008

New York Yankees Preview

2007 Record: 94-68
We wrap up or 2008 MLB Team previews with the Evil Empire. It's only fitting that "America's Team" (or is that America's most hated team?) finishes off our epic 30 team in-depth coverage. Although we weren't able to get it done in 30 days (cough Porque is a BN cough cough) we did complete every team preview before each squad threw out their first pitch. This was aided a bit by the Yanks and Jays game being postponed today, but a win is a win here at GDB. Anyway, on to the analysis. The Yankees made the playoffs last year but were bamboozled by the Indians in the ALDS. Their pitching woes couldn't pick up the slack for their always stellar line-up and a blunder of a signing of Roger "Needles in my ass" Clemens went horribly wrong. Surprisingly, most things stayed the same in the Big Apple (outside of the manager and GM leaving town/dieing), but if the Yankees don't finish better this season, look for many more personnel changes in the near future. By the way, every toolbag in Binghamton is a Yankees fan and I'm already starting to hate them as much as the Red Sox.

Key Additions
Morgan Ensberg 3B
Latroy Hawkins RP
Hank Steinbrenner GM
Joe Girardi Manager

Key Losses
Roger "Roid Rage" Clemens SP
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
George Steinbrenner GM
Joe Torre Manager

Projected Line-up
1) Johnny Damon LF
2) Derek Jeter SS
3) Bobby Abreu RF
4) Alex Rodriguez 3B
5) Jorge Posada C
6) Hideki Matsui DH
7) Robinson Cano 2B
8) Jason Giambi/Shelley Duncan 1B
9) Melky Cabrera CF

Offensive Grade: A-...Don't sleep on the Yanks line-up. They aren't exactly young, but they are a strong veteran bunch that will give pitchers fits this year. Damon doesn't really apply to this situation, he has declined severely over the last 2 years and isn't really an ideal lead-off man anymore. Jeter is one of the most consistent players in baseball and fits well in the 2 hole. Abreu is no spring chicken, but he's still a 25/25 threat. Gay Rod had one of the best seasons in recent memory last season and will look for a second straight MVP award with another strong season. Posada had a career year last year and is one of the best all-around catchers in the game. Matsui is a crazy jap but when healthy has some serious pop. Cano is up and comer that could become an elite 2nd baseman over the next couple years. Giambi has kind of fallen off the map now that he's not on the juice, but his power potential is still there. Duncan and Cabrera are harmless but not too shabby for where they are in the line-up. Overall this is a top 5 offense in baseball once again.

Projected Rotation
1) Chien-Ming Wangggggg
2) Andy Pettite (DL)
3) Phil Hughes
4) Mike Mussina
5) Ian Kennedy
CL) Mariano Rivera

Pitching Grade: C+...Pettite should be back relatively quickly so I'm not gonna take him out. He's dropped off quite a bit in production since the beginning of last year, and this could be his last season. Considering he admitted to using HGH, his legacy has been greatly tarnished outside of NY. Wang is a servicable Top Starter. He was good for 19 wins the last 2 years and there's no reason to believe he won't equal that mark this year (just don't expect any K's). Hughes missed 2 months last year, but showed some real promise when he was on the mound. If he can stay off the DL a breakout season is entirely possible. Mussina is pretty much done, and the only reason the Yanks still trot him out is because they are so thin at SP. This leads right in to Pitcher 5 in the rotation. Kennedy could be solid down the road, but he's just not ready yet. Rivera is still one of the better closers in baseball, but he used to be elite and now he's just above average. Waiting in the wings is young Joba Chamberlain. Who knows how he'll be used this year. No matter how NY uses him he will probably be highly effective. Joba the hut is the closer of the future and he was brilliant in limited action last year.

Projected Outlook
Once again the AL East is going to be an absolute war. The Yankees and Red Sox have been two of the top teams in baseball over the past decade and this year will be no different. You can expect ESPN to overhype every matchup between the two clubs and I'm sure I'll be close to slitting my wrists by the end of each series after having to beat this shit into the ground on-air. Back to the outlook...the Yanks starting pitching is going to be a real pain in the ass for them this year. The line-up should be able to carry them to victories more often than not, but when they are out of sync, it's going to get rough. Still, be ready for another top 2 finish and a good shot at some sort of playoff spot for NYY.

Predicted 2008 Finish: 92-70

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