A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE YANKEES
Boston should win the division, but maybe it will be nice for the Yankees to not have high expectations. They seemed to be playing very relaxed this spring.... There's enough in the rotation to be solid 1 through 4 and plenty of offense to outscore a lot of people on a given night.... You can pound Derek Jeter in and make him overaware of the pitch inside. That's when he'll start to cheat and open up and make himself vulnerable to breaking balls. But you can't live inside, because he's smart. You have to mix it up.... Now that his hip is healthy, there's a lot of torque in Alex Rodriguez's swing, and he's getting to some pretty good fastballs up in the zone. Last year he was popping that pitch up.... I've never been a big fan of Jesus Montero; he seems lazy, but the tools are there. He has great power to all fields. But when he catches he won't put his face in the dirt to block balls. You wonder if he's that lazy at age 21 what's he going to be at 30.... A.J. Burnett has been a pro for 15 years and still has trouble repeating his delivery. He gets very rotational in the upper half of his body. When you do that, your hand never catches up with your body so the ball stays flat up in the zone. And when he opens up too soon, his breaking ball doesn't have the depth and bite it should have.... Mariano Rivera's command is absolutely incredible. I think he misses the glove seven times a year.... Rafael Soriano's stuff is very good. He has a heavy fastball up to 93, a hard cutter, slurve and a put-away split he uses on lefthanders. He will still get some saves when they want to give Mariano the day off.
April 3, 2011
WITH 2010 STATISTICS
MANAGER JOE GIRARDI
4TH SEASON WITH YANKEES
|RH||IVAN NOVA (R)||1||2||4.50||1.45|
Stolen base success rate (132 of 150) against Yankees catchers in 2010, the highest in the majors and fifth highest of the wild-card era. Enter new catcher Russell Martin: He threw out 30.6% of base stealers for the Dodgers last year, seventh best in the majors.
Derek Jeter was at the center of an extended controversy over the winter when the free agent and the Yankees played hardball over a new contract. Now that his finances are settled, expect the shortstop and management to dig in again over another issue: How far down in the order should the 36-year-old bat? Jeter's .340 OBP in 2010, a career low for a full season, is unimpressive for a leadoff man, and New York has a classic top-of-the-order hitter in 27-year-old Brett Gardner (.383 OBP, 47 steals). Nor is Jeter ideal for the second slot: In addition to his low OBP, he's an extreme ground ball hitter—he had the highest rate of batted balls pounded into the ground of any player last year and was in the top three in '09. All those ground balls make him prone to wiping out the leadoff man with double plays. (Nick Swisher, a higher-OBP fly ball switch hitter, is a better choice to bat number 2.) That leaves Jeter slipping all the way to seventh, behind the power hitters. Can manager Joe Girardi take as tough a stand during the season as G.M. Brian Cashman did during the winter with the most popular Yankee since Mickey Mantle?