2011 Lineup Projections And Preview

We are finally only three days away from Opening Day and with that being said, let’s take a look at the projected numbers for the nine Yankee starters.  These numbers are the PECOTA projections for the 2011 season and I got them via another Yankee blog (Its About the Money Stupid).  Here they are:

Before I analyze some of the players individually, I’m going to look at the team at whole.  With 190 homers hit by the entire team, each player averages over twenty, which is kind of ridiculous, but doable.  Also, you gotta love that team on-base percentage at .344.  It shows that this is a big part of the team which is a very good thing because it is something that the Yankees team’s of the late 1990’s did very well.  They worked counts, got on base, and got into the other team’s bullpen.

Brett Gardner

I think the hitting numbers are just about right for Gardy, but I think he will steal more than forty bags.  He is the only very real steal threat in this lineup and Joe Girardi wants to use that as much as possible.  Plus, if he hits lead off more often this year with Jeter batting second, he will probably be given the steal sign a lot more to keep out of the double play.  I think the batting average is accurate though and I think the OBP is dead-on because although I think Gardner does get on base a lot, I don’t think he will be a career .383 OBP guy.

Derek Jeter

The captain obviously wants to put last season, his contract negotiation, and what position he will playing in the future behind him and I think he will.  He has been working all winter long with hitting coach Kevin Long and has had a very good spring hitting more line drives.  His line at .281/.350/.389 sounds just about right to me.  He’ll definitely hit for a better average, which will raise his OBP.  Look for a bounce back year from Derek.  The only slump I see him having is when he is trying for his 74th hit of the season, the hit that will give 3000 for his career.

Mark Teixeira

This is the only one that I think is dead on.  I think Tex will hit just around that as far as his average, OBP, and slugging percentage.  I also think his homers and runs batted in are pretty accurate.  If he has a year like this and continues to do his magic with the glove, I will be very happy, we just have to look out for that slow start, which is something he needs to cut down on a little.

Alex Rodriguez

Sure A-Rod had an ‘off’ year average wise, but I think 30 homers and 100 RBI’s was pretty productive.  And as good as that was, he look better than ever in Spring Training, batting over .400 with six homers.  He is as locked-in as ever and it shows.  Alex says he owes to Kevin Long and the fact that he was fully healthy this winter for the first time in a couple years so he was able to fully work out.  I would expect him to drive in more runs than PECOTA projected and hit for a higher average, but expect this to be his last big season.

Robinson Cano

Although Robbie had a break out year in 2010, don’t expect him to be as good in 2011.  I’m not saying he will fall flat on his face, but I don’t think he will be a legitimate MVP candidate.I think he’ll hit over .299 (what PECOTA predicted), but expect a small step down in the power department because unlike K-Long predicted, Cano will not be a 40 homer guy.  The numbers are just about spot on besides batting average.

So effortless. (Behrman/AP)

Nick Swisher

Swish had a huge year last season and probably the best of his career.  The power number projected are pretty on-target, but he hit .289 last season so for the average to drop that much, something big would have had to happen, which I just don’t see.  I don’t think he is a .289 hitter, but to fall that low is just ridiculous.  I expect around a .270 average out of him and also maybe a little higher of an on-base percentage.

Jorge Posada

Sure Jorge Posada has had his share of injuries over the past few seasons, but he has proven that there is still some life in his bat.  With the transition from catcher to designated hitter, I expect Posada to be a lot healthier and have better offensive numbers.  This being said, I think these projections are a little low.  I expect something more like .270/.360/.455.  I know it’s not a big change, but don’t see the batting average being that low, and with that, the other two numbers will rise.  Another factor in my belief that Posada will have a good year is that this is the last year on his current contract and with Jesus Montero coming up and not looking great behind the plate, the Yanks might want to keep that youth trend going.  Jorge will have to prove that he is still a viable offensive option or it could ugly next winter.

Curtis Granderson

When the Bombers first got the Grandy man from the Tigers last year, I was pretty low on him and didn’t like the trade one bit.  But after a full season with him and watching him on and off the field, I have realized that the Yanks have one of the best center fielder’s in the game.  Of course it is more by default than anything else, but he is still a solid player who I think will have a great year.  I think PECOTA got it just right with him, although I hope the average is a little higher.

Russell Martin

I know that Martin is coming off of knee surgery and a season in which he only played 93 games, but remember that this guy was once a very good offensive player with the Dodgers.  Being plugged into a very good lineup should only help him.  I think he’ll hit more like 15 homers and hit around .280 because remember he is entering what should be the prime of his career at the age of 28.  For more on how I feel about the Yanks new catcher, click here.

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