This morning, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS published his projections for the 2013 NY Yankees. Of course, the debate over which projections are most useful (assuming for the moment that any are useful) is for another post, but looking across our Bronx Bombers numbers, a few observations:
(1) Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki are projected to have wOBAs of .309 and .301, respectively. Not good. Especially for aging guys that aren’t exactly gold glovers in the field any more (and in Jeter’s case, never really was)
(2) The current starting catcher platoon (Chris Stewart/Francisco Cervelli) is projected to put up a robust 234/310/330 triple slash. Even given the low bar for catchers, that begs for another solution — while youngster Gary Sanchez definitely isn’t ready, perhaps it might make sense to find out if Austin Romine can handle the job – with a veteran pitching staff I would think the burden of handling pitchers could easily be dispersed amongst the starters. Romine’s projected wOBA clocks in at .289, slightly above Stewart/Cervelli, and while he might not be as good, it is hard for me to imagine him being materially worse.
(3) The Yanks go into Spring Training with 3 starters more or less locked in (Sabathia, Kuroda and Hughes) with another locked except for our suspicion he can’t hold up to a full workload (Pettitte). That leaves two pitchers (Ivan Nova and rehabbing from a shoulder injury Michael Pineda) competing for the last spot, though give the age of the rotation both should see near full season workloads. Sadly, only one of the 6 (Sabathia) projects to be an above average starter. I suppose you can make the playoffs with 4 below average starters – but it is hard for me to see how you do so in the AL East.
On the bright side, I guess – Robinson Cano is still projected to be awesome. Should make for a fun contract discussion next November.