As we all know, the Yankees have quiet a few of their big stars on the DL. Some are close to returning (Grandy, Teixeira). Others still have a ways to go (Jeter, A-Rod). Of course none of us can wait any longer for their returns. But the question is, who comes back most productive? By productive I mean better than their current replacement player and their numbers compared to previous years.
As Granderson continues his rehabing in Florida, the current stock of Yankee outfielders are playing as if Grandy was still in the lineup. Vernon Wells is playing like the all-star Blue Jay he was a few back. Ichiro's bat is finally starting to wake up after a slow April start. Brennan Boesch hasn't been terrible. Ben Francisco, yah he's been terrible. As far as the numbers go, we know that he's going to strikeout a lot. But since he's been a Yankee his homerun production has sky rocketed to the point that he ovbiously won't match that this season. I'm predicting that the homerun total lands somewhere in the 20-30 range, with about 60-70 RBI's and batting average of about .240-.270. Those might be around the final numbers we see from Vernon as well.
With the way Lyle Overbay is playing I'm not sure I even want Teixeira back. Just kidding, I rather have a completely healthy Teixeira over an Overbay any day of the week. I'm not putting down Lyle in any way, don't get me wrong he's doing a fantastic job for the Yankees this season despite not being on the team less than a week prior to Opening Day. Comng back from such a wrist issue isn't easy for any power hitter and it's imporntant that he doesn't come back until he's fully healed. I can live with Overbay until he does. But if a completely healthy Teixeira can produce 30-40 dingers a year, than a Teixeira that's missed the first two months will probably hit 15-25 homers, with a total of around 40-50 RBI's and a batting average of .240-.260. It's not classic Tex, but it will do.
We all know that A-Rod isn't what he use to be. I'm not entirly sure he'll be anything when he returns. Coming off his 2nd hip surgery, it's will be extremely difficult for a power hitter such as A-Rod to return to even the form we've seen of him the recent years. I think we've seen the last of the 30 homeruns a year A-Rod that signed a 10-year contract with the Yankees in 2007. If he comes back after the all-star break (which will be forever know as just a 4 day break for A-Rod) and hits more than 10 homeruns then I'd be shocked. At this point, obviously Youkilis or anybody else is a better option at 3rd. I belive that A-Rod should comeback to a DH role only and only against lefties, so Hafner can play against righies. But with his numbers this season, I'm guessing 5-10 homeruns, with 20-30 RBI's and a .230-.250 batting average.
Now for the biggest question of them all, Derek Jeter. At 38, going on 39 by the time he's expected to return. Jeter is not a better defensive option than Eduardo Nunez. Especially with the defense that Nunie has been playing thhis year. But on offense, I'd rather had Jeter obviously. Jeter is coming off one of his best offensive season's in a while, as he led the league in hits (216) for only 2nd time in his career (1999). As long as he can get a good amount of rehad at-bats, I don't doubt that he'll return to be a .300 hitter once again. Of course me along with everybody else is wonder how he'll fair at shortstop, if the Yankees even let him play there. His range has already been limited over recent years and after this ankel issue, I don't think he's going to comeback as the 30-year old Yankee shortstop that's diving into the stands for every ball. I do believe that Jeter comes back in a productive way. Just not as a shortstop.
So who's more productive? We can cross out A-Rod, Jeter won't be as helpfull if he isn't playing the field, Tex won't come back as easy with the wrist tendon tear, so that leaves Grandy. He'll slide right back into the Yankees outfield and pick up right where he left off as the Yankees top power bat.
But what are your opinions? Who plays the more productive role among their return?
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