Wednesday, March 28, 2007

2007 Yankees: Championshp Number 27 or Bust

We've looked at the rest of the league, we've waited nearly 6 months, and as we're less than 5 days away from the Yanks opener, so let's review what we've got, and what we need.

Here's why they'll make the playoffs again:
  • The offense: Damon, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Giambi, Matsui, Posada, Cano, Mientkiewicz/Phelps. The most impressive thing about it, is not the power, not the average, but the .OBP - it will be the best in baseball, and it'll be enough to wear down any pitching rotation 2 out of 3 games and average over 6 runs per. Cano is such a superstar in the making - he'll be even better this year.
  • The Pitching: Rivera, Proctor, Pettitte, Mussina, and Wang. Everyone talks about Mo and Moose, and Pettite etc. Proctor, I thought was the 2nd most important pitcher last year for the Yanks. Hopefully with Vizcaino in the mix, this will reduce the probability of over-use and will still have some gas left come playoff time.
This alone will get them to the October and at least open the door for a championship.

When the dynasty began in 1996, there was a combination of tested veterans (like those listed above) with younger or in some cases, just unknowns that seemed to be sprinkled in and come up big when it mattered the most. - I mean, Jeter was not Jeter in 1996, and remember Shane Spencer?? With that formula in mind...

Here's what has to happen to win it all:
  • When called up or called upon, and they will be, for those spot starts, Rassner, Hughes, and Karstens have to eat quality innings and get some victories
  • Igawa and Pavano need to give them at least 20 quality starts each, and have an ERA sub 4 - Farnsworth needs to be consistent, and when called on, use that damn heater of his to get the job done over and over and over again
  • Mussina and A-Rod have a strong April, and an even stronger September and October
  • Mientkiewicz bats .250, and Phelps performs like he has in Spring Training when he gets his time in the field
  • Cabrera's production continues to climb even though his playing time will likely be sporatic if not in decline
  • Vizcaino adjusts smoothly to pitching in NY, and continues to make his 70 appearances in relief
  • Cairo and Phillips need to produce when filling in
  • And finaly, the back up to Jorge, be it Nieves or Pratt need to produce to at least the .225 level for offensive production when giving Posada his much needed rest
What am I leaving out? - Of course staying healthy that is a given.

That is a lot that needs to happen in order to take down the big prize - no doubt about it and is enough to make even the most staunch supporter a little queasy. However, compare those questions facing this team to what other clubs are facing. Suddenly, you realize, that our issues, do not appear as bad as most of the other teams in the American League. Reason to be optimistic.

If, the unknowns step up when called upon, combined with one of the most balanced line ups in baseball today, it will be enough to win the whole damn thing. The wait, is over, 2007, the Bombers get it done.


the Scooter said...

Great entry Mid....I'm impressed. You were fair and on target all the way through.

Did you get your dad to write this or something?

InsideSports said...

Nice write up!

I agree with all your points. The only thing that makes me nervous is the starting pitching. These guys he to stay healthy.

old professor said...

Tended to agree with a lot of what you said. However, the rotation is going to be a big question mark if injuries begin to hit. Is Karstens really healthy? Will Andy's back hold up or will he have to miss everyother start? Will Pavano really turn a corner and give the Yankees 20 starts (not worried about quality starts just starts)?

If they have long-term injuries to the staff, I don't know how many of the young pitchers they can rely on just yet. Many of them are one to two years away from being ready for prime time.

The bullpen seems to be the strongest it has been in awhile. I would like to see Henn get the nod over Vallone. Vallone may have written his ticket out of town with his latest performance against the Astros (Same thing for Rasner's performance).

Vizciano may turn out to be the steal of the Johnson trade - just concerned that he has been traded a lot in a real short time.

As for the backup catcher, no one wants to mention Ben Davis. Here is a 28 year old catcher that can bat from both sides of the plate, can do a good job defensively and can add some pop of the bench. Nieves is an offensive liability and Pratt is 40 years old.

Mid said...

Pavano - opening day starter..

Phelps in -

Nieves back up cather

Anonymous said...

Pavno looking strong through 3!!!

old professor said...

Pavano was looking strong. The defense let him down. Error by A-Rod, error by Jeter and error by Phelps. Result 5-3 Yankee deficit.

Mid Relief said...

Giambi starts the year off strong - clearly the front runner for the MVP.

And if Jeter didn't come up with the RBI I would be suggesting he was taking the game in spite of Pavano..

A win is a win - 99 more to go to reach my over under figure

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