Sunday, April 02, 2006
New York Yankees 2006 Preview
Manager: Joe Torre
Stadium: Yankee Stadium
2005 Record: 95-67 (T-1st in AL East)
Team Page Roster Schedule
Best table setter in game. Hits according to score/situation.
Can do it all. Tough out with inside-out stroke. Mr. Clutch.
Superior skills. Destroys mediocre pitching. RBI machine.
Line-drive hitter with pop. Fundamentally sound in all areas.
Intimidates pitchers. Crushes fastballs and mistakes.
Bat speed and confidence are back. Defensive liability.
No easy out. More juice from left side. Solid behind dish.
Lost a step, but still has good bat control and gap power.
Good opposite-field pop. Must improve double-play turn.
Warrior. Attacks hitters with mid-90s heat. Wicked slurve.
Full menu of pitches. Works corners and mixes stuff well.
Relies heavily on sinkerball. Uses split to close out hitters.
Throws fastball in mid-90s. Needs to hone offspeed stuff.
Sneaky with low-90s cheese. Hard curve is money pitch.
Overpowering stuff, but can be inconsistent sometimes.
As good as it gets. Classic cutter is often unhittable.
* New to team
Complete scouting reports on each player available through Insider
By Bob Klapisch
With the addition of Johnny Damon, this lineup has the chance to score 1000 runs. It's by far the best offense of the Joe Torre era. Secondly, Mariano Rivera shows no sign of deterioration, so even if the Yankees have to rely on surviving high-scoring contests, those final three outs are as safe as ever.
The starting rotation is full of question marks, including lingering injuries to Carl Pavano, and the advancing age of both Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina. Pavano hasn't pitched since last June 27, and the Yankees have no idea how effective he'll be upon returning. Mussina, 37, suffered a mysterious elbow injury last year, and the AL's batting average against him has risen 46 points since 2003.
The Yankees are apparently conceding a defensive vulnerability by letting Jason Giambi serve as the everyday first baseman. The reason is all in the numbers -- last year Giambi batted .319 while playing the field, 108 points higher than when he was the DH. Also, as testimony to why hitters swing early against Rivera: With an 0-2 count against the great closer, the AL is batting just .067.
Robinson Cano is either on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star, capable of hitting .300 with 25 HRs, or destined to a career .270 average with a ton of errors. It's up to him, say teammates, who've watched the second-year player closely in spring training. Cano enjoyed a fine major-league debut in 2005 -- .297 with 14 HRs, 62 RBI and a second-place finish to Oakland's Huston Street for Rookie of the Year honors. But he also committed 17 errors, second to Alfonso Soriano among AL second basemen.
I didn't have the time to write my own season preview, so I stole this from "The Worldwide Leader in Sports." I basically agree with most of what has been predicted, although I think they underestimate both Cano and Wang. Robbie Cano could seriously win a batting title this year and should be named to his first All Star team if he stays healthy, and I honestly think Wang's cool demeanor, sneaky fastball, and excellent sinker will propel him to 15+ wins. The one prediction I will make is that the Yankees will finish the season in 1st place. Not very bold, I know, but I'm extremely superstitious when it comes to baseball and I don't want to jinx my team! The season officially kicks off Monday evening at 10:00 p.m. If you're not excited at this point, then quite frankly, there's something wrong with you. We're less than two days away!