Fangraphs ranks the Yankees positional strength

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fangraphs completed its annual "Positional Power Rankings" feature, so lets see how the Yankees stack up against their foes.

I will readily admit that I am a sucker when it comes to rankings. Whether it's seeing where my team ranks week to week on ESPN.com or the latest MLB video game, I'm hooked on the things. So I was eagerly awaiting Fangraphs' "Positional Power Rankings" for the upcoming season. Some of the projections that constitute the rankings should be taken with a grain of salt, but all in all they're an interesting measure of how the Yankees stack up against the rest of the league and use a hybrid of the projections from the ZIPS and Streamer systems to get there. But if you don't much care for fWAR, you're probably not going to get anything out of them at all since the ranking is solely a reflection of total fWAR at the position. For your convenience, I compiled where the Yankees ranked at each position in the exercise.

C

5th

CF

3rd

1B

11th

LF

8th

2B

22nd

DH

10th

SS

26th

SP

4th

3B

25th

RF

11th

RF

17th

In case you're not familiar with the way these rankings are done, they're compiled using projections that include how much playing time players will get at the position in question. So second base doesn't look as terrible as expected due to Dean Anna getting a projected 200+ ABs there. So as I noted, they're definitely to be taken with a grain of salt.

The first thing that stood out to me is the downright generous ranking at first base. Mark Teixeira has the sort of track record that plays well with the projection systems, but I would be pretty surprised if he met his 2.7 fWAR expectations. Aside from that, the rest of the infield looks to be right where you would assume them to be. That's 3/4 of the infield expected to be worse than the vast majority of the league. Here's hoping that Derek Jeter has one more age-defying year in him. Unsurprisingly, catcher is the bright spot in the infield. That 5th place ranking could actually even be conservative if Francisco Cervelli has improved as much as his Spring and early 2013 play have indicated.

The Yankees look to have one of the best outfields in the league, and that's even with Carlos Beltran's cratered defensive projections. Considering anything hit his way will likely sail over the fence, that might not be of much concern. DH is obviously going to be some amalgamation of Alfonso Soriano, Beltran and anyone who wants a day off, so the Yankees are in good shape there since most teams don't usually plug in that much talent into the spot.

The starting pitching is going to be what drives this team for sure, and their 4th place ranking reflects this. The projections are interesting though, as they are very bullish for CC Sabathia (3.7 fWAR) and Masahiro Tanaka (4.4 fWAR) but bearish on Ivan Nova (2.2 fWAR) and Hiroki Kuroda (2.9 fWAR). So the ceiling for this staff could be even higher than 4th best in MLB and that's saying nothing of Michael Pineda's potential. Even with all the unknowns in the bullpen David Robertson is enough to make it a pretty good corps. Dellin Betances could be the key to elevating that ranking even further, but his inexperience doesn't add much to their overall projection.

These rankings seem to generally reflect what we already know: this infield has the potential to be really bad, the outfield should be quite good and the pitching looks like some of the best in baseball. So no groundbreaking stuff there. I suggest you peruse all of Fangraphs positional rankings as it's a fun way of gauging what the Yankees will be up against in 2014. And it will likely add to the pity you feel for the Astros.

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