March 12th, 2012
To no ones surprise, the New York Yankees were once again an offensive force in 2011. GM Brian Cashman has built a lineup that just beats up on mediocre pitching during the regular season. Yes, the Yankees’ offense struggled against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS, but the postseason is quite unpredictable. Guys can get hot or go into slumps at the snap of a finger.
The Yankees figure to have one of the better offenses in baseball once again in 2012, so let’s take a look at what their lineup could potentially look like on Opening Day…
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Can0, 2B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Raul Ibanez, DH
8. Russell Martin, C
9. Brett Gardner, LF
With Granderson, Teixeira, Cano, Swisher, Ibanez, and Gardner, this lineup is going to destroy mediocre right-handed pitching. Granderson and Cano combined for 69 HR’s in 2011 and they could even do more damage in 2012.
I picked Cano to win the 2011 AL MVP award and while he had a pretty darn good season (.302/.349/.533 with 28 HR’s), he hasn’t had “that” season yet. The season where he hits .330 with 40 HR’s and is just in a zone for 162 games. He has that season in him and it’s just a matter of when he is going to do it.
If there is a “key” to this lineup, it’s Rodriguez. ARod only played in 99 games in 2011 and posted career lows in HR’s (16), OPS (.823), and ISO (.185). ARod isn’t a spring chicken anymore and if the Yankees’ offense is going to be running on all cylinders in 2012, he needs to be in the lineup. In order to keep ARod healthy throughout the season, look for the Yankees to move him to DH from time to time and put Eduardo Nunez at third.
At the DH spot, look for the Yankees to use a platoon of Ibanez and Andruw Jones. This isn’t 2005 anymore, so Ibanez and Jones are way past their primes, but if put in the right position, they both can still be productive.
Ibanez hit 16 of his 20 HR’s against right-handed pitching in 2011 and Jones had a .923 OPS against left-handed pitching. If the Yankees can’t get 15-20 HR’s combined out of those two with a .780 OPS, I think they will be quite happy.
If there is one player who should watch himself this season, it’s Swisher. Swisher has been everything Cashman thought he would be in the regular season, but he’s a free agent at the end of this season and he has absolutely been terrible in the postseason. If he doesn’t get off to a fast start, trade rumors will swirl and the name to look out for is Andre Ethier.
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