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Tag: Season Previews

2011 Season Predictions – Part 1

Let’s poll the Banter masses regarding which teams will be playing meaningful games in October:

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Shooting Off My Mouth

You’ve already seen the three Bronx Banter Breakdowns Alex and I shot with River Avenue Blues’ Ben Kabak, and I’ll have more to say about the Yankees and Red Sox in my preview of the season opening series this weekend, but if you want even more, here are a few other places that I’ve offered my take on what the coming season holds for the Yankees and the rest of the league:

  • Patrick Sullivan interviewed me for Baseball Analysts’ Yankees “Stakeholders” preview.
  • I also participated in the New York Times‘ Bats blog’s Yankee preview roundtable with Kabak and former SNY.tv cohort Steve Lombardi of Was Watching. Part one ran yesterday, part two is up today.
  • Finally, my picks for the six divisions, wild cards, pennants, MVPs, Cy Youngs, and Rookies of the Year are up on SI.com along with those of the other SI.com “experts.”

Yankee fans upset with my pick for the AL East should be sure to check my picks for the AL pennant and World Series. Meanwhile, I stick my neck out in the NL Central due to a belief that the Cardinals don’t have the depth to survive the regression likely to be experienced by their two aces.

The 2009 New York Yankees

New York Yankees

2008 Record: 89-73 (.549)
2008 Pythagorean Record: 87-75 (.537)

Manager: Joe Girardi
General Manager: Brian Cashman

Home Ballpark: Yankee Stadium 2.0

Who’s Replacing Whom:

  • Yankee Stadium 2.0 replaces Yankee Stadium 1.1
  • Mark Teixeira replaces Jason Giambi
  • Nick Swisher, Xavier Nady, and Hideki Matsui replace Bobby Abreu
  • Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera switch jobs
  • Jorge Posada replaces Chad Moeller, Ivan Rodriguez, and hopefully a lot of Jose Molina
  • Cody Ransom replaces Wilson Betemit and Morgan Ensberg
  • Ramiro Peña replaces Alberto Gonzalez
  • CC Sabathia replaces Mike Mussina
  • A.J. Burnett replaces Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Carl Pavano
  • Chien-Ming Wang replaces Darrell Rasner
  • Joba Chamberlain replaces Sidney Ponson
  • Brian Bruney replaces Joba Chamberlain’s relief innings
  • Damaso Marte replaces Kyle Farnsworth
  • Phil Coke replaces LaTroy Hawkins
  • Jonathan Albaladejo replaces Ross Ohlendorf

25-man Roster:

1B – Mark Teixeira (S)
2B – Robinson Cano (L)
SS – Derek Jeter (R)
3B – Cody Ransom (R)
C – Jorge Posada (S)
RF – Xavier Nady (R)
CF – Brett Gardner (L)
LF – Johnny Damon (L)
DH – Hideki Matsui (L)

Bench:

S – Nick Swisher (OF/1B)
S – Melky Cabrera (OF)
R – Jose Molina (C)
S – Ramiro Peña (IF)

Rotation:

L – CC Sabathia
R – Chien-Ming Wang
R – A.J. Burnett
L – Andy Pettitte
R – Joba Chamberlain

Bullpen:

R – Mariano Rivera
R – Brian Bruney
L – Damaso Marte
R – Jose Veras
L – Phil Coke
R – Edwar Ramirez
R – Jonathan Albaladejo

15-day DL: 3B – Alex Rodriguez (hip labrum)

Lineup:

R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Johnny Damon (LF)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
L – Hideki Matsui (DH)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
R – Xavier Nady (RF)
R – Cody Ransom (3B)
L – Brett Gardner (CF)

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My Prediction? Pain

SI.com has it’s 2009 MLB preview material up, and yours truly is one of the so-called experts picking the division, pennant, and World Series and major awards winners and pontificating on the whys and wherefores.

I have the Yankees winning the Wild Card and losing to the AL East champion (and eventuall world champion) Red Sox in a hard-fought ALCS. The AL East (which should beget the pennant-winner, whoever it might be) was almost a coin-flip for me between the Yanks, Sox, and Rays (anyone have a three-sided coin?), but when push came to shove, the Sox were just deeper, younger, and had less down-side than the other two, at least in my mind. I’m bully on the Yankee pitching staff, but merely hopeful about the offense.

Surprisingly, I was the only “expert” to pick CC Sabathia to win the AL Cy Young award, though two others picked Mark Teixeira for MVP. I went with Josh Hamilton for the latter, though I could certainly see Tex taking the trophy.

In addition to my comments in the roundtable linked above, here are my responses that didn’t get used:

Which division is the best in baseball, top-to-bottom?

The AL East is the best division in baseball because it is home to the three best teams in baseball, the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees. Every division has a team as bad as the Orioles, but none has one as good as any of the top three teams in the AL East.

What is your sleeper team for 2009?

I think the Reds’ streak of eight-straight losing seasons is going to come to an end this year. I think Joey Votto is going to have a huge sophomore season. He’s surrounded by talented young hitters in Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Edwin Encarnacion, and Chris Dickerson. Ramon Hernandez is a sure improvement over Paul Bako. Willy Taveras and Alex Gonzalez won’t hit much, but they’ll improve the Cincinnati defense, which was among the worst in baseball last year, something Dickerson will also help correct. That will benefit the rotation–which features the up-and-coming duo of Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto as well as innings-eater Bronson Arroyo, bounceback candidate Aaron Harang, and could be rounded out by a new and improved Homer Bailey–and the already solid bullpen. They’re not a playoff team, but for the first time in a long time, they look like a good team.

Which rookie will have the biggest impact?

Matt Wieters will win the AL Rookie of the Year award because he’s a flat-out masher who will put up outstanding numbers once he’s installed as the Orioles’ starting catcher (think Evan Longoria last year), but David Price will have the biggest impact as he’ll be entering the impossibly tight AL East race as a member of the Rays’ rotation.

Preseason At Bats

Over at the New York Times‘ Bats blog today, Justin Sablich has a round-table Q&A with myself, Steve Lombardi, and Benjamin Kabak concerning the Yankees’ outlook for the coming season. A quick sample:

Q: Cliff, there is little doubt that Teixeira will help this team in the short term and probably for many years to come. But how concerned are you about Teixeira, on an aging team, clogging up a position for eight years that is often considered a prime spot to move aging players?

Corcoran: A team concerned about how it can keep declining players in the lineup isn’t going to win. I’m thus not concerned in the slightest about having one of the best first basemen in baseball “clogging up” a position on the far left of the defensive spectrum just because the team might have declining players looking for a place to play. Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon are free agents after this season and shouldn’t be re-signed. Neither Derek Jeter nor Jorge Posada should remain past 2011. Though Jeter likely will, he won’t hit enough to carry first base by then (he barely does now), and it will be Jeter’s contract, not Teixeira’s that was the mistake.

The real issue is Alex Rodriguez, who is signed through 2017, a year longer than Teixeira. Unlike Jeter, Rodriguez could carry a corner outfield spot, but also unlike Jeter, he’s awful at tracking fly balls. That would make first base the preferred destination for Rodriguez’s big bat should age and injury further erode his play at third base. Once again, the problem isn’t that Teixeira is signed through age 36, it’s that Rodriguez is signed through age 42.

Check it out.

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