This isn't about being dead-on-balls accurate; it's more about the 'bold' part.
Jesus Montero becomes the #6 hitter by the All-Star break. It goes down like this: Montero tears up Triple-A, to the tune of .310/.370/.520, and is showing enough on defense to make the experts believe in him as a long-term catcher. Meanwhile, Nick Johnson breaks his wrist when he plays first (to give Tex a day off) in late April, and misses the rest of the season. Granderson takes the #2 spot (as he's hitting lefties better), and the Yanks rotate the DH spot between Posada, Tex, Swisher, Jeter and Arod. Jesus' great half-season forces the Yankees to promote him; there's no reason to keep his bat in the minors when he could help the ML team, so he comes up in mid-July and quickly becomes the #6 hitter and DH (and occasional catcher). He posts a solid .270/.330/.440 line with the Yankees.
I picked Mike Mussina in 2008, and he pitched 200 innings for the first time in 4 years, with 150 K and a 1.22 WHIP. Oh, and he won 20 games.
I picked Robbie Cano in 2009, and he posted a career high 129 OPS+ in the first 200 hit campaign of his career.
I've spent a lot of time this offseason thinking about Curtis Granderson, though I haven't quite clearly distilled my thoughts before.
I've been worried about his splits, though the 70 point drop in 2009 BABIP against lefties precisely covers the gap between his 2009 and 2008 splits. So there's 1 cause for hope.
I've worried about his pull tendencies making him easier to pitch to and easier to shift against. Grand Central walked a career high 72 times in 2009, besting his 71 in 2008. That's a positive trend.
And all of Granderson's homers would easily clear the walls in New Yankee Stadium. He had basically the same number of extra base hits in 2009 as 2008, so while he'll never approach his 23 triples of 2007, he's basically traded some doubles for homers. Loft a couple more flies over the short wall, and we're in line for a treat.
My bold prediction: Curtis Granderson - .290/.370/.520, 32 HR, 15 SB, 3 CS
At 39, Jorge Posada shows his age. Francisco Cervelli ends up starting more games behind the plate.
Nick Johnson takes advantage of Yankee Stadium and hits more home runs than Johnny Damon.
Brett Gardner hits at least .275 and steals 50 bases.
Recognizing that Javy Vazquez is unlikely to return in 2011 and Andy Pettite may retire or begin to decline at any moment, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi will cast aside conventional wisdom about defined pitching roles and find ways to give both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes the opportunity to each pitch 150 innings in 2010. The NY Post will cry foul, Goose Gossage will tell us why he thinks an 8th inning setup guy is more valuable than a starter, and Pinstripe Alley's readers will engage in a debate that exceeds the Posada vs. Molina argument in fire, scope, and intensity. The experiment will work, though, as all five starters and Phil Hughes will qualify for the ERA title and post sub-4.10 ERAs, leading to a repeat World Series matchup versus the Phillies. This time, Joba Chamberlain will outpitch Roy Halladay in the decisive Game 6, striking out 14 Phillies hitters in 8 innings on 112 pitches, while only giving up three walks, all of them intentional to Chase Utley (who winds up hitting .435 for the season and .735 for the Postseason). In the aftermath of victory, Mariano Rivera will announce his retirement effective immediately, and a reporter will remind us that Joba posted a 0.37 ERA in relief in 2007. Joba will find that reporter, kick him in the groin as hard as he can, and nobody will be able to blame him for it.
I had to think long and hard about this one. I have a few bold predictions for the 2010 season. First, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain both have set roles that do not change during the season. Hughes in the rotation, Joba in the pen. Joba ends up competing with Dave Robertson for the main set-up man role. Second, Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson turn out to fit in the lineup perfectly and the offense doesn't skip a beat. Jesus Montero comes into the Yankees lineup midseason after an injury and proves to be an MLB ready top player. Finally, the really bold prediction. Alex Rodriguez wins MVP hitting .325 with 48 HR. Not really the boldest predictions, but the Yankees do repeat, winning the World Series over the Giants.
The Yankees' pitching may be one of the only areas that didn't ignite heated off-season debate and dissension. While some questioned the ability of old friend Javy Vasquez to successfully transfer his NL dominance over to the unforgiving AL East, most have to agree he's a worthy #4 starter. My prediction? The rotation will be more than fine, but in terms of the bullpen, the disintegration of the young mini-alliance from 2009 is going to take its toll. While none of our relievers were superstars in them of themselves, they formed a kind of camaraderie and unity over the season that effected a Megatron-type force. Our 2010 pen is perhaps stacked with more individual talent, but the motley crew of Chan Ho Park, Joba, Boone Logan, and a handful of other also-rans, is going to need some time to gel before making an impact. As long as a.) Mariano stays healthy/stable and b.) Girardi doesn't flip out and start concocting weird pen sequences like he's ordering off a Chinese menu, then there won't be any great implosion. But I predict that there might be a little roughness in the heart of the rotation at first (Andy, AJ), but that this will be eclipsed by the mild embroiling in the pen. It'll get there, but not seamlessly. Kind of like trying to get a bunch of kindergartners to line themselves up against the wall according to height.
There you have it. Who's boldest and who's right?