Now that we’re a few weeks into the season and we’ve gotten a brief look at the 2013 Yankees, we can safely say that this team looks to be competitive this season despite the loss of power from it’s 2012 counterpart.
At least, so far. It’s been a short sample size and the Yankees haven’t seen much left handed pitching thus far, so we’re still in wait and see mode. Plus, the Yankees are still waiting for Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and even Alex Rodriguez to heal up and join the team. It seems as though Granderson has the most straight forward injury/recovery, while Teixeira’s issue seems to be all about not rushing it. As for Jeter, it sounds like they’re having him take a break of sorts, so not sure if that’s a bad sign or what… and who knows what the deal is with A-Rod. Oh, and I forgot about Michael Pineda, the pitcher the Yankees traded for in the 2011-2012 off season who has yet to throw a pitch for the team. If all of these guys come back and can be above replacement level, that should be worth something – especially Teixeira, Jeter and A-Rod as they can help against left handed starters immensely. And Granderson’s numbers against lefties aren’t bad, either.
Beyond the walking wounded, the two biggest things that I’m watching on this team are Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes. At this point, I’m just tired of Hughes. I think he could be a wonderful bullpen piece, but as a starter, I just don’t trust him. He’s had some good performances here and there, but his injury history makes me nervous if the Yankees want to resign him after this year. His career ERA of 4.46 doesn’t exactly blow me away, and given that he’s only pitched 150 innings twice in his career, I just don’t have a lot of confidence in the guy to stay healthy and be better than a 6.0 IP/3 ER guy at best, and I would expect Hughes to get worse as time goes on as he couldn’t stay healthy in the beginning of his career, never mind in the later stages. On the other hand, there’s Ivan Nova, who has really only had one bright spot of success in his short career, but when I watch this guy pitch, I think he has the stuff. He’s got velocity, his breaking ball breaks and has good velocity separation from his fastball… he just needs to bring it all together. That’s a tall order, but I think he could be great if he does, as opposed t Hughes, who is a fly ball pitcher in a park that’s not especially fly ball friends and who’s best days are probably behind him. Even if Nova doesn’t work out as a starter, I think his 95 MPH has a starter could play up to 99ish in the bullpen, and between that and his curve ball, Nova could be a dominant reliever.
Well, there’s still over 90% of the Yankees season left, so let’s not make predictions just yet and hope the injured guys make it back before June and go from there.
I know, I still owe ya’ll a Baseball Prospectus post. It’s coming! Editing videos for CreativeJamie.com is taking up a lot of my time…