by Tony Aubry, BaseballEvolution.com
February 23, 2007
2006 Record: 97-65 (First Place - AL East Division)
2006 Runs Scored: 930
2006 Runs Allowed: 767
Pythagorean 2006 Record: 95-67
Another year, and another disappointment in Yankee land. In
2006, the Yankees once again failed to complete their mission: to win a World
Series. 2006 was really no different from 2005, actually. Great offense, so-so
pitching in the regular season, and they lacked timely performances in the
postseason. In 2005, Randy Johnson spit it up in game 3, and did the same in
2006. Mike Mussina failed to hold a lead in game 5 of the 2005 ALDS, and failed
to hold a lead in game 2 of the 2006 ALDS.
Will 2007 be a three-peat of the previous two seasons? With
a somewhat revamped rotation, and some youth, Yankee fans can only hope not.
2006 Starter-Jorge Posada
2007 Starter- Posada
I was really surprised to see that Posada rebounded from
his sub-par 2005 performance in 2006. That being said, I doubt heíll duplicate
his Ď06 production in í07. Posada will turn 36 this August, and I highly doubt
heíll match his 123 OPS+ and 23 HR, but he should still be one of the better
offensive catchers in the league, nonetheless. Another thing that surprised me
was how he performed defensively. Posada had his best season behind the dish
last year at age 35, which is very rare, to say the least. Look for him to be
average behind the dish this year, with a slightly lower CS% than last year.
2006 Starter- Jason Giambi
2007 Starter(s)- Doug Mientkiewicz, Andy Phillips
This is probably one of the worst first base platoons Iíve
seen in a while. Doug is a first baseman with a career .405 SLG, and just
imagining Andy Phillips at the plate makes me cringe. In 263 PA, Phillips made
198 outs! I understand Cashman wants to get a better defensive team, but the
signing of Mientkiewicz was a real bad one.
Overall Prediction- .250/.297/.390
2006 Starter- Robinson Cano
2007 Starter- Cano
Cano was the best offensive second basemen in the league
last year, and the second best overall. The upside is that he is just 23, and
his best years should still be ahead of him. The downside is that he is below
average defensively (who isnít on this team?), and my 80 year old grandfather
walks more than he does. Canoís ability to walk some what improved in 2006. In
í05, his BB% was 2.9, and in í06 it was 4%. Yes, I know, itís not even worth
mentioning, but hey, itís better than nothing.
2006 Starter- E-Rod
2007 Starter- A+-Rod
I say A+ Rod because I really anticipate a monster season
from him. Hopefully the Jeter issue is out of the way, considering that he
addressed it on Monday, and hopefully it wonít be brought up anymore this
season. If Alex Rodriguez can realize how damn great he really is, he should
have another MVP type season. Also, his inability to throw the ball to first on
a fly last year was more mental than anything. If A-Rod can get off to a hot
start offensively, his defense should be fine.
*note- A-Rodís average HR distance was the longest in the
majors last year. This could be a sign of an increase in HR for 2007.
2006 Starter- Derek Jeter
2007 Starter- Derek Jeter
For once in his life, Jeter didnít win an award that he
deserved. The Captain enjoyed his best season since 1999, and once again, his
poor range some how improved. Jeter should enjoy another good season, but
anything like í99 or í06 shouldnít be expected. Almost 60% of Jeterís balls were
hit on the ground, and he had an incredible .394 BABIP. I donít want to take
anything away from him, but in order to hit almost .400 on balls in play, when
60% of them are GB involves some kind of luck.
2006 Starters- Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Gary
Sheffield, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu
2007 Starters- Matsui, Damon, Abreu, Cabrera
This is probably the best offensive outfield in the league.
Damon is a great table setter, and should continue to pad his power numbers in
Yankee stadium. Bobby Abreu will continue to be force, and I expect his power
numbers to return to normal. Yankee Stadium has had a LH HR park factor of 118
over the past 3 years, and that should help him hit 20-25 HR. Matsui should have
a great season. Although his í06 playing time was limited, his BB% and FB rate
were both up, which leads to more HR, which leads to more productivity.
Overall Prediction - .296/.390/.495
2006 Starter- Jason Giambi
2007 Starter- Giambino
Over the past couple of years, Giambi has become a very
streaky hitter, but still one of the better hitters in the league nonetheless.
As soon as you realize that BA isnít everything, you realize how valuable he
really is. He is a virtual lock for a .900 OPS barring injury. Since Giambi will
be DHing, the odds of him breaking down late in the season should decrease.
Top of the Rotation
2006 Starters- Wang, Mussina, Johnson
2007 Starters- Wang, Mussina, Pettitte
Wang needs to strike more people out; plain and simple. I
know itís easier said than done, but just about nobody has had a good career
with a below average K rate. And to say Wang has a below average K rate is an
understatement. You would think Wang would strike out more guys since he can
throw a 94+ MPH fastball and a slider in the high 80ís that is down more often
than not. Hopefully the Ks will come this year.
I think the issue with Pettitte and Mussina is health more
than anything. Both have had elbow problems in the past, but both were healthy
last year and enjoyed solid seasons. Pettitte will be switching leagues, but he,
like most LHP, should benefit from Yankee Stadium. Look for them to both be
solid in í07.
Prediction- 45-26 3.90 ERA
Bottom of the Rotation
2006 Starters Ė Jaret Wright, Cory Lidle, Aaron
Small, Shawn Chacon
2007 Starters- Carl Pavano (Iíll believe it when I
see it), Kei Igawa, Philip Hughes(?)
There really isnít much to say about Pavano. I really doubt
heíll start more than 20 games, and I doubt heíll be effective in those 20
games. Iím not really sure what to expect of Igawa. Iíve never seen him pitch,
nor does he have any minor or major league numbers to analyze yet.
Obviously, the big deal is whether Hughes will be called up
or not. Hughes is probably the top pitching prospect in the world and has
dominated every league he has played in with some extraordinary K/BB ratios. If
he does get called up, I doubt heíll be any worse than Pavano or Igawa.
Prediction- 32-20 4.46 ERA
2006 Starters- Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth,
Scott Proctor, Ron Villone
2007 Starters- Mo,
Farnsworth, Proctor, Luis Vizcaino
Mariano should be Mariano once again if healthy. Proctor
made a name for himself last year, and should be able to enjoy another good
season with a plus fastball, and a good curve to boot. Farnsworth is probably
the biggest question mark. It has never been stuff with him. Last year he
suffered multiple back spasms which caused him to be very streaky. He does walk
too many guys, but if he can stay healthy, he should be better than what he was
last year. The deal for Luis Vizcaino added some depth to an already solid
On paper, this team is probably the best team in the AL and
the only team that can probably challenge them in all of baseball is the
Dodgers. There is no doubt this team will make playoffs, the only question is
whether they will advance in the postseason or not. Clutch hitting and pitching
is what it will take, something the Yankees have been lacking.
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