With Spring Training just two and a half weeks away, I wanted to put together a list of my predictions for how the projected starting 9 may perform at the plate for the 2011 season. So, after the jump I'll dive in.
1st Baseman, Mark Teixeira
.262, 25 HR, 97 RBI
I am expecting more regression from Tex. I think he'll be pitched to more and believe his walks will decrease. Look for a lower OBP and OPS.
2nd Baseman Robinson Cano
.329, 27 HR, 118 RBI
Robbie being Robbie. Another solid season from the Ninja. I think he will see a lot less pitches to hit, especially if he's batting 5th in the order, and expect his OBP to be higher as he should draw more walks. I'd like to see him bat third for two reasons; I believe he'll see better pitches to hit with A-Rod hitting behind him and second, since he'll more than likely be pitched around with probably Posada batting 6th, I am worried he may become impatient and take hacks at pitches he should avoid while being frustrated at getting pitched around.
3rd Baseman Alex Rodriguez
.295, 36 HR, 121 RBI
Not much to say here. A-Rod should be closer to 100% healthy and I think we'll see a small increase in A-Rod's average and OPS for another solid season. I do, however, expect this to be the last season before a steady decline beginning in '12.
Shortstop Derek Jeter
.307, 12 HR, 72 RBI, 115 R
I'm expecting a decent bounce back season from Jeter. He's been in Florida for several weeks now and seems determined to prove the doubters wrong. I think he'll succeed, he always has.
Left Fielder Brett Gardner
.283, 3HR, 51 RBI, 51 SB
I honestly didn't know which way to go here. One side of me says regression, but the optimistic side of me says slight improvement. I feel optimistic right now. I'm hoping Gardy works on bunting for hits and gets a bit more aggressive on the basepaths, leading to another surprising performance from Gardy for '11. Let's hope so.
Center Fielder Curtis Granderson
.277, 27 HR, 88 RBI
I'm hoping Grandy is a little more consistent. He can easily attain these numbers. If he found a permanent solution to his woes as he seemed to show in the last several weeks of '10, his average and HR totals may exceed my predictions. Either way, I'm expecting a solid season from Grandy as he gets more comfy in Yankee Stadium.
Right Fielder Nick Swisher
.256, 22 HR, 79 RBI
I think Swish will have a bit of an off year at the plate. I just feel he's due for some regression. This may be his last season as a Yankee and perhaps this, too, could affect his play. If he is having a down year, I also think he will see a little less playing time with the addition of Andruw Jones and possibly allowing for some playing time for Montero in RF.
Catcher Russell Martin
,248, 6 HR, 43 RBI
I don't really know what to expect from Martin, and obviously I'm not expecting a lot. We don't know how healthy he actually is and we don't know when the second coming will arrive, taking away some of his playing time.
Designated Hitter Jorge Posada
.278, 25 HR, 80 RBI
I feel Posada will have a good season at the plate. With less wear and tear on his body due to less time behind the plate and being able to concentrate solely on hitting, I think Jorge will go through a bit of a renaissance at the plate
Whatcha guys think?