A rival scout sizes up the YANKEES
Last year JOE GIRARDI did a masterful job of juggling pieces. He's going to have to do that again because of the age of all those guys in his infield.... DEREK JETER looks good. He's made some really nice plays, body-control plays on slow rollers, throwing from down low, looking very healthy. I've had him running average times to first base with no limp.... I have not seen a really good swing out of MARK TEIXEIRA this spring, from either side.... ICHIRO SUZUKI is not a good hitter anymore. He can slap the ball the other way, but he doesn't have the bat speed to protect himself the way he used to.... I'm not a fan of their outfield prospects: SLADE HEATHCOTT, MASON WILLIAMS, TYLER AUSTIN. I'd be surprised if any of them end up being an everyday player in the big leagues.... BRIAN ROBERTS looks old; he's not the explosive player he used to be.... CC SABATHIA is a warrior, but he's not a No. 1 anymore. His fastball is 88, 89 tops right now.... MASAHIRO TANAKA is really good, with one of the best splits I've ever seen, 88--89 mph. He has to locate his fastball; he doesn't have great movement or deception. If he makes a mistake up over the plate, it's flat and very hittable, but when he gets to the bottom of the zone, it's real effective.... MICHAEL PINEDA has shown some promise. His slider looks good. He was 90 to 93 in his first outing, and he threw some really good sliders with late bite to them.... The bullpen is thin, though I'm a big DAVID ROBERTSON fan. He has all the weapons to close.
2014 Projected Statistics and Run Totals by ROTOWIRE.COM
PROJECTED RUNS SCORED
AL AVERAGE 694
PROJECTED RUNS ALLOWED
AL AVERAGE 707
BRENDAN RYAN isn't as famous as DEREK JETER's girlfriends, much less Jeter himself, but the man can pick it. Since 2009, Ryan is the second-best defensive shortstop in baseball as measured by Ultimate Zone Rating. Jeter's defense has been the subject of great debate, but at age 40 and coming off leg injuries, he's expected to be subpar this year. New York plans to play him at short, with Ryan filling in at second, which is like handing Paul the drumsticks and Ringo the lefty bass. It is an incredible misuse of resources: If Ryan isn't playing shortstop, he shouldn't be on the roster because he can't hit. The Yankees are trapped by history, but in a season when they need all the help they can get, playing a bad defensive shortstop instead of one of the best is a self-inflicted wound—it will cost them dozens of runs. If Ryan plays, he has to be at shortstop, with Jeter sliding to third base or getting more time at DH.