Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pre-Season Thoughts in Review: New York Yankees

Revisiting (and revising) some of my preseason looks at AL East teams. Now, another look at this February post about the Yankees.

1. Like Last Year, the Pitching Staff Will Be a Problem

And it has been.

Andy Pettite has been league average, as I expected. Wang was good but now is injured. Phillip Hughes and Ian Kennedy have already flamed out.

The wild cards here have been Joba Chamberlain and Mike Mussina. I thought Chamberlain would be a good starter but I didn't expect him in the rotation this soon. Mussina has recaptured some skills and is having a hell of a last hurrah in pinstripes. If not for these two, the staff would be tryuly abysmal.

The question will be if these two can continue their good performances. Chamberlain looks strong and I expect him to pitch well in the second half. Mussina has tired late in the season the last couple of years. Moose looks more likely to suffer a setback.

2. Jorge Posada Falls to Earth

Well, he has but who really thought he would hit .338 again?

Since his injury, Posada has hit at rates that you would expect Posada to hit at but time will tell if his 36 year old body continues to betray him this season (Look at Jason Varitek for a cautionary tale...)

3. Derek Jeter is the Worst Fielding Shortstop in Baseball

As much as it pains me to say this, Jeter is having one of the best fielding seasons by an AL shortstop in 2008.

By nearly every measure, he is one of the top fielders in the league. His errors are up but they're not at crazy levels. The only thing I could say is that the competition among AL shortstops is light. Outside of Michael Young and Orlando Cabrera, there are no regular AL shortstops with stellar defensive reps.

Of course, he's hitting more like David Eckstein than his normal it balances out I suppose.

4. Who's On First?

I ripped the Yanks for their personnel at firstbase but Jason Giambi has been better and played more games there than I thought. They're going to be fine at first for now.

5. Melky's the Man?

Before the season, I compared Melky to Corey Patterson and found him only slightly better at the plate. So far, Corey Patterson is looking like a better option.

Melky's OPS number for the last three seasons, including his partial 2008, are .751, .718 and .690. He's regressing. He's an easy out.


I was somewhat correct on the rotation. Only Chamberlain has panned out among the youngsters and outside of the surprising Mussina, it has been decimated by injury and ineptitude. However, the bullpen, outside of LaTroy Hawkins, has been stellar and bailed the Yanks out a lot.

The offense has seen unexpected very good performances from Giambi and Johnny Damon (when healthy) and great numbers from A-Rod (as expected). But the rest of the offense has been lackluster at best. The Orioles are scoring more runs!

Without some continued luck with their pitching staff, the O's could still catch these guys and the Blue Jays before year's end...

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