Now that Spring Training is nearly over, this is as good a time as any to guess at what the Yankees will do in 2012.
Given that the roster turnover is minimal and (I’m predicting) for the greater good (starting pitching additions), I’m thinking the Yankees regular season will be similar to that of 2011. So let’s pencil the Yankees in for 95 wins this year.
I’m sure all Yankee fans are please with the way the team strengthened their starting rotation, but I still can’t expect the team to win significantly more games than last year. After all, Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia pitched better than I expected, so I look for similar performances from better personnel this season.
I’m also hopping for rebounds from Phil Hughes and A-Rod, and I think they’re both capable. It looks like Derek Jeter has figured out how to play with the tools he has left, and I’m hoping A-Rod has too, and so far, it looks like Phil Hughes is healthy and dealing more heat than he was last year. I’d also prefer Nick Swisher get off to a good start, but you can’t have everything – at this point, I’d be pleased if he’d just get into a game. It’s probably not fair to expect Curtis Granderson to light the world on fire again in 2012, but I’m sure he’ll still provide plenty of power, defense and all around speed. Anyway, I thin the team has plenty of offense.
This year, I think the Yankees have the pitching to go deep into the playoffs, and if Andy Pettitte is effective… wow. It’s easy to pick the Yankees to win the World series this year. Sans A.J. Burnett. Nuff said.
Wait, one more thing!
Let’s check in with our friends the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, when they got whacked out quickly in the first round – at home, as I recall. In 2011, the Red Sox has the best offense in baseball and in 2010, they were second best, but they still haven’t won a postseason game since 2008. Besides that, they have something to prove after last year’s disastrous September and new coach Bobby Valentine certainly wants to put his stamp on the team. Speaking of Bobby V, I still don’t get why the Red Sox hired him, unless this signals a change in overall philosophy after the departure of GM Theo Epstein. By that I mean, Bobby Valentine is an old school baseball guy – "Do this because I think it will work" rather than a sabermetric styled Joe Girardi manager who loves his stats and match ups. Maybe after four seasons in a row of coming up with less than a World Series, the Sox want to shake things up, but I think Valentine is not the right guy to do it. Who knows, maybe everything will fall into place for them – they still have their offense intact, and they have two top flight starters atop their rotation and their number three is OK, but I don’t know what to expect out of their 4 and 5 spots. Their bullpen might be OK, but I’ll need to see the results before I believe.
Bottom line, I see the AL East finishing the regular season as follows:
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
Well, that was easy – now all the Yankees have to do is play 162 games and then win 11 post season games.