Before we discuss the 2014 NY Yankees, let’s note that the Yankees’ 2013 campaign was a Fantasy blunder. For only the second time in 19 years, the Yankees didn’t make the postseason. Able to manage 85 wins in a down year, the Yankees’ front office made some big money changes in response.
Last year’s Yankee offense and pitching were abysmal and unacceptable through the eyes of the Steinbrenners. They were below league average in home runs (167), and they totaled (144), and runs (702). Obviously, they needed to correct more than a few things.
The pitching was a disaster in 2013 and Larry Rothschild was left with trying to clean it up, which he was somewhat able to do.
Their 3.94 team ERA was at the bottom half of the MLB spectrum and the biggest question of all is what the heck happened to CC Sabathia? The Ace of New York finished with a career-worst 4.78 ERA and he never had an ERA over 3.40 since he was with Cleveland in 2008.
Hiroki Kuroda was a master in the first half and was old in the second, while Andy Pettite held his own, and Phil Hughes was Phil Hughes. Ivan Nova was the only bright light of that rotation, and the rest were just one too many spot starts for what New York is used to.
The 2014 Yankees are full of fresh new faces, up and down the starting lineup. They signed many big names, but let one of the biggest ones go in Robinson Cano. The $200 million he wanted went to seven — that’s right — seven new players. The 2014 projected lineup will give drafters many chances to reclaim massive amounts of power numbers.
Projected 2014 NY Yankees “Go-To” Lineup
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury (L) 30
- SS Derek Jeter (R) 39
- RF Carlos Beltran (S) 36
- 1B Mark Teixeira (S) 33
- C Brian McCann (L) 29
- DH Alfonso Soriano (R) 38
- LF Brett Gardner (L) 30
- 3B Kelly Johnson (L) 31
- 2B Brian Roberts (S) 36
- CC Sabathia (L) 33
- Masahiro Tanaka (R) 25
- Hiroki Kuroda (R) 38
- Ivan Nova (R) 27
- David Phelps (R) 27
- Michael Pineda (R) 22
- Setup Shawn Kelley (R) 29
- Closer David Robertson (R) 28
Fantasy Studs: Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury
I’d say keep a strong eye on these two, who both have shown HR strength in the past, so look for both of them to be drafted a little higher than expected in 2014. That short RF porch will help these two and many more.
McCann is a pull hitter and can easily hit 25 HRs this year, maybe 30, and Ellsbury hit 32 in 2011, so the good news keeps getting better. Everyone in the lineup, with the exception of McCann, is 30 years of age or higher and have had some sort of injury in the past few years. If all of these players can somehow remain healthy, we’re looking at Fantasy gold.
Breakout Candidates: Kelly Johnson, Carlos Beltran
Johnson and Beltran can easily benefit from the right-field porch, as most of the lefty power hitters will. With Beltran capable of hitting as a lefty and coming off two big years with the Cardinals, he’s poised to continue where he left off in a hitter-friendly park.
Johnson showing his pop by launching 16 homers in 2012-13, and 26 back in 2010 with Arizona, so these two can rack up some nice early to mid-round value. Beltran has the option of hitting as the DH now in the AL, so this can only be an upside for the new Yankee, as he’ll be able to rest.
Sleeper Candidate: Michael Pineda
It seems like years have gone by, but Pineda was the rookie pitcher who took the league by storm just a few years ago in 2011 with Seattle, earning a trip to the All-Star game with an overpowering arsenal beyond his 22 years.
Thanks to a torn labrum suffered in his first Spring Training game in 2012, he hasn’t appeared in a major league game since. That includes last year, even though he returned to make 10 minor-league rehab starts. The numbers still showed he was able to hit in the mid-90s with his fastball and still kept his breaking stuff in tact to keep the front office impressed.
During those 10 rehab starts, he managed to strike out more than a batter per inning with a pretty solid hit-to-walk ratio. Since New York was 12 games back in the AL East and the season appeared to be a lost, they decided to rest Pineda for a hopefully strong 2014 campaign. The entire front office, all the way to manager Joe Girardi, sees Pineda rounding out the bottom of the 2014 rotation. For a late-round pick, the reward outweighs the risk.
Bust Candidates: Brian Roberts, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter
Just as fast as Roberts can be a Fantasy sleeper with the starts he’s going to get, he can easily be this year’s Travis Hafner — a big ol’ bust. Roberts has averaged a scary 48 games over the last four years and with the workload he might get, who knows what can happen to this once great second baseman. Roberts deserves to be on the watch list as of now and shouldn’t be considered as a draft choice, maybe your last pick.
In the midst of the Alex Rodriguez fallout and letting, perhaps, the best second baseman in Cano leave New York, both Roberts and Johnson have some Shaq size shoes to fill.
Sabathia left a lot of question marks after last year and his weight loss has all drafters on edge. It would be great to see CC back on pace. But after last year’s debacle I’d stay away early on CC.
Teixeira and Jeter are both coming off big injuries that sidelined them for basically the whole year. Both of them should be treated as mid- to late-round value picks, if you’re worried about injury carryover as they progress in age. If healthy, they could be solid additions to any roster. Draft at your own risk, plenty of talent early on before these four.
Rookies: Masahiro Tanaka, Vidal Nuno, Dellin Betances
The $155 Million Fantasy Man that all will be watching closely, is Masahiro Tanaka. Probably the biggest rookie in all of baseball, we are all expecting him to have a big year like Ichiro had when he first arrived on the scene in 2001. All eyes will be on him the moment pitchers and catchers report. He looks to carry that over into New York a perfect season in Japan in 2013 going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA.
The not-so-obvious rookies to look out for are Betances and Nuno. Nuno in his few spot starts in 2013 went 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings pitched. Betances can be a strong arm out the pen. Nuno proved he could hold his own in the big leagues, and he can fight for the fifth rotation spot or add depth to the bullpen.
What We Should Know
The Yankees are usually pretty easy to get a read on over Spring Training. After all the money that was thrown around in the offseason, you better believe the main free-agent additions will make all Fantasy rosters in 2014.
However, there are still a few questions left unanswered:
- Will Sabathia, Teixeira, Jeters, Roberts, Pineda, and Kuroda overcome their adversities and shine in the Bronx?
- Is Tanaka’s 1,300 IP in Japan by the age of 25 too much mileage for him to carry through the 162 games a year in the MLB?
- Can David Robertson hold down the closer role? The role that the beloved Mariano Rivera called his own over the last 17 years in pinstripes.
- The risks are there, but in Yankee Stadium, every single offensive player can gain from playing there and Rothschild has his work cut out for him in the pitching area. When it comes to Draft Day, just remember that most of these players can see resurgence in their numbers and expect them to adapt quickly.
The 2014 NY Yankees roster has many early to mid-round values going into mock drafts and with most of the lineup able to hit from the left side, I can’t wait to see this club go for the single-season franchise home run record, again. Even if you’re a Yankee hater, the possible Fantasy production from this team is just too appetizing.
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep
|Strategy:Drafting Rds 9-16 | Drafting Rds 4-8 |Drafting the First 3 Rds | 7 Steps to Success | Positional Tiers | 30 for30 Draft Results|
|One-Man Mock Drafts: Mixed Roto (1/27) | Mixed H2H (2/4)|
|AL East: Baltimore | Boston | N.Y. Yankees | Tampa Bay | Toronto|
|AL Central: Chi White Sox | Cleveland | Detroit | Kansas City | Minnesota|
|AL West: Houston | L.A. Angels | Oakland | Seattle | Texas|
|NL East: Atlanta | Miami | N.Y. Mets | Philadelphia | Washington|
|NL Central: Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati | Milwaukee | Pittsburgh | St. Louis|
|NL West: Arizona | Colorado | L.A. Dodgers | San Diego | San Francisco|
|Prospects: Top 50 Prospects | Nick Castellanos | Javier Baez|
|Stat Deep-Dives: Expected RBI Totals from 2013|