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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 324

post #9691 of 73413
Thread Starter 
Ranking the farm systems. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
To kick off my look at the best prospects in the minor leagues this week, I've ranked all 30 MLB farm systems from top to bottom, considering only the players who are currently in their systems and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. (I use the same criterion for the individual player rankings that will be posted over the next three days.)

I've done these rankings for the past few years, and I was surprised at how few farm systems there were this year that had both impact and depth, fewer than in any of the previous years in which I've gone through this exercise. Some of that reflects all of the major promotions that took place in 2012, but we've also hit a slightly down period in the cycle of farm system quality.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have drafted well, fared well in Latin America, traded well and developed well over the past five years, fulfilling the main goals of a farm system: Provide talent for the major league roster, and provide currency for trades to do the same.

St. Louis has shown a willingness to use young players in minor roles, with some of them graduating to full-time roles, a process I think will be easier under current manager Mike Matheny -- and it's a good thing, as the system is bursting with players who look like they'll be ready for the majors in the next year and who project as average regulars or more.

There at least five guys in the Cardinals' system -- if we include Tyrell Jenkins, who's coming off a shoulder injury -- who project as mid-rotation starters or better. Two of them -- Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal -- are ready now. They've got the minors' best pure offensive prospect in Oscar Taveras, their usual assortment of unheralded relief prospects and plenty of depth in the type of bat-first college position prospects they've had success with over the past few years, a strategy that helped yield guys like Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter.

They're in extremely good position to keep the major league club in contention for another five years without forcing them to ratchet up the payroll, and should produce a few rookie of the year candidates in that period, as well.

2. Minnesota Twins

The Twins placed more players on my top 100 (seven) than any other team, only one of whom was initially signed by another organization, and they added a former top-100 guy, Trevor May, in a trade this offseason. Their system is particularly strong in center field, enough that they're working on converting Eddie Rosario to second base, and has more power arms with a chance to start than it has at any point in the past decade.

The major league team is down, and isn't going to turn it all around in a year, but there's a lot of talent coming around which the Twins can build another contender.

3. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays had some setbacks among their highest-profile prospects this past year, but added a top-10 prospect in Wil Myers, a top-100 prospect in Jake Odorizzi and a former top-100 prospect in Mike Montgomery in the James Shields trade. They're deepest in power arms, although many of them are a grade or two of command below where they'll need to be to profile as starters, and right now their next impact bat after Myers would be in low Class A or short-season ball.

4. Houston Astros

The Astros had the second most money to spend in last June's draft and used it extremely wisely, landing the second player on my draft board and four other players off my top 60, while also adding some lower-ceiling talent through trades of the few valuable assets the new front office inherited. Their top two picks from 2010, Delino DeShields Jr. and Mike Foltynewicz, bounced back from disappointing first years to re-establish their prospect value, as well.

5. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs' rebuilding process isn't much further along than the Twins' or the Astros' in terms of time, but they spent extravagantly in the international market before the new CBA's restrictions went into effect last summer, landing the Cuban toolshed Jorge Soler (and the Cuban flop Gerardo Concepcion, but we're not going to talk about him), then later using their international pool money on the Dominican pitcher with an electric arm currently known as Juan Carlos Paniagua, who has gone through more names than the thief known as Parker. The Cubs also scored big in last year's draft, addressing the system's lack of starting pitching candidates while also bulking up its depth in outfield prospects.

6. San Diego Padres

My top system from last year graduated several players to the majors, saw a few significant injuries to top pitching prospects but then added a ton of high school pitching talent through a very strong draft. The system's weakness is in near-ready talent, where only infielder Jedd Gyorko and right-hander Casey Kelly are likely to be significant contributors this year, with lefty Robbie Erlin a possible option for the back of the rotation.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates

Their top two pitching prospects rival any club's at this point, with Gerrit Cole likely to reach the majors this year and Jameson Taillon probably a year behind, while their low Class A West Virginia roster was one of the strongest teams for prospects, including up-the-middle bats, last spring. The knee injury that wiped out nearly all of 2011 bonus baby Josh Bell's season after his awful (tiny-sample) start hurts, as he needed those repetitions at the plate and in the field.

8. Seattle Mariners

The Mariners still have that raft of starting pitching prospects, with Victor Sanchez and Brandon Maurer stepping up as James Paxton took a step back. Their first pick in the draft, Mike Zunino, might be the first position player from that draft class to reach the majors.

9. Texas Rangers

They have Jurickson Profar, arguably the top prospect in baseball, three guys in the back half of the top 100, and as much talent from their short-season rosters last year as any organization in baseball, primarily on the position-player side. Their international spending spree had to end under the new CBA, but many of the fruits of those efforts are just now reaching full-season leagues, setting the Rangers up well to maintain their contender status for several more years.

10. New York Yankees

It's a top-heavy system, but the group of position players who started in low Class A Charleston last year, some of whom finished in high-A Tampa, could produce as many as three above-average or better regulars plus several other guys who'll have big league value. They'd rank even higher had they not lost two major starting pitching prospects to season-long injuries, with one, Manny Banuelos, probably out now until 2014.

11. Kansas City Royals

The Royals aren't well represented on my top 100 (although two prospects they just traded are on it), but they've got more sleeper/breakout candidates than any other organization. I could go more than 10 deep and still make good arguments for those prospects to jump on to the list next year, guys like Jorge Bonifacio, Adalberto Mondesi, Miguel Almonte and Kenny Diekroeger. I didn't like the trade for James Shields, but I still really like the overall direction of things in Kansas City when you look from top to bottom.

12. Cincinnati Reds

They have this really fast guy you may have heard of, and actually saw some strong debuts for 2012 draft guys and have three starting pitching prospects already marching up through full-season ball, one of whom, Tony Cingrani, got a cup of coffee in September.

13. Baltimore Orioles

Dylan Bundy emerged as the minors' best pitching prospect in 2012, while their first pick from last year's draft, Kevin Gausman, was one of the hottest names in Florida instructional league in September. They'd rank higher had Manny Machado not lost his rookie eligibility in September.

14. New York Mets

The R.A. Dickey trade really boosted their system, and several Latin American arms had strong years in 2012 to bolster the system's total value. First-rounder Gavin Cecchini could move quickly for a prep kid, as he's pretty advanced for a teenager and doesn't have much blocking him at shortstop.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks

Dealing Trevor Bauer for 50 cents on the dollar didn't help, nor did failing to get any of Atlanta's top six prospects in the Justin Upton trade, but they're still very deep in arms and now oddly deep in shortstops who can field but don't get on base. Infielder Andrew Velazquez and right-hander Ben Eckels, their seventh- and 11th-rounders from last year's draft, both came out strong in rookie ball and could be minor steals, yet neither sniffed the team's top 10.

16. Miami Marlins

An impact bat (Christian Yelich), an impact arm (Jose Fernandez), a couple of above-average guys from Toronto (Justin Nicolino and Jake Marisnick), two quick-moving lefties (Andrew Heaney and Adam Conley) from the past two drafts … this is the best system that Florida taxpayers' money could buy!

17. Boston Red Sox

A lot went right on the farm for Boston this year, with Xander Bogaerts looking like he can stay at shortstop, Jackie Bradley Jr. lighting everyone up with his plate discipline and Matt Barnes and Henry Owens posting very strong full-season debuts. The system's real shortage is in big league ready talent, with right-hander Allen Webster probably the closest.

18. Los Angeles Dodgers

They are a little underrepresented in the top 100, but with a lot of guys who'd either be in the next 50 or who could jump into the top 50 next year. That group is led by Yasiel Puig, who barely played in 2013 before surgery to address a staph infection kept him out of the Arizona Fall League.

19. Cleveland Indians

With Francisco Lindor and Dorssys Paulino, they have some of the best shortstop depth of any organization in baseball right now. They could be primed for a big leap if any of the young pitching they've drafted the past two years comes through in 2013.

20. Atlanta Braves

They actually didn't give up that much in the Upton trade, but they've drafted so poorly the past few years that it's really hurt the system. The 2010 draft probably won't produce much of anything besides Andrelton Simmons (no longer eligible for the list), 2011 looks just slightly better right now and 2009 is likely to end up producing Mike Minor and nothing else. They're not lower because they've made good trades and found value in non-traditional ways, but you can't get this little value from the draft for long without feeling it.

21. Washington Nationals

I love their top five prospects. There's a bottomless crevasse somewhere not far after that.

22. Oakland Athletics

One huge impact guy (Addison Russell), then a ton of depth guys who look like average regulars or mid-rotation starters. Their Arizona Rookie League club was stacked, though, which puts them in position to make a big move up if those guys carry it forward to low-A next year.

23. Colorado Rockies

They had setbacks with several major prospects this year due to injury, poor performance or other factors, although first-rounder David Dahl obliterated the rookie-level Pioneer League as one of its youngest regulars, and the team even saw signs of life from 2009 first-rounder Tyler Matzek, whose stuff has returned and who started throwing strikes again at the end of the season, including the playoffs. I was never a huge Tyler Anderson guy out of the draft, but I think he could move quickly this year and get to the majors faster than the 2012 performance would lead you to believe.

24. Toronto Blue Jays

A top-10 system before the big offseason trades, probably top five, but Alex Anthopoulos pushed his chips to the center of the table, stood up and said "Boo-yah!" … but in the politest way possible.

25. Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have given up a lot of high draft picks over the past few years to sign free agents, understandable given how well the major league team has fared but not a great way to keep a farm system afloat, especially since the new CBA limits how much the team can spend. They might see their top three prospects (Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia and Bruce Rondon) all contribute in the majors this year, though, and would rank near the top of systems if we were going just off potential 2013 impact.

26. San Francisco Giants

Several good starting pitching prospects highlight a system that's very light on bats right now. After closer Heath Hembree, the Giants don't have much that's likely to help the major league team in 2013. I could see some of their second-tier arms becoming useful trade chips for them to add a piece in July, though, so they're not without assets, just without many potential stars.

27. Philadelphia Phillies

Their highest-ranked prospect on my top 100 (no team was shut out entirely) is the lowest of any team's highest-ranked prospect. They do, however, have a number of intriguing, high-risk guys from low-A on down, especially on the pitching side.

28. Chicago White Sox

The system is improving, helped by a draft where the team opened up and looked more at prep players up top, and progress from a couple of arms already in the system, including two less-heralded pitchers from the 2011 draft (Erik Johnson and Scott Snodgress).

29. Milwaukee Brewers

This system has one top-100 prospect and a lot of back-end starters or probable relievers. I didn't love their draft in 2012 despite the extra picks, as they didn't manipulate their money to get any players who fell for signability reasons. They took only one player, second-rounder Tyrone Taylor, who has significant upside to become an above-average or better regular.

30. Los Angeles Angels

When you don't pick until the third round and then trade three prospects for Zack Greinke, this is something of an inevitable consequence. They did place one player on the top 100 and have a lot of guys who project as big leaguers, but more as role players than everyday guys or better. First baseman C.J. Cron didn't make my top 100, but if he can stay healthy and remain at first base, he could break into impact status.
post #9692 of 73413
Thread Starter 
PED mess a tough spot for Rizzo, Daniels. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There is nothing worse for a general manager than to be blindsided by allegations of impropriety by one of your players. True or false, the news causes an immediate maelstrom of controversy, uncertainty and turmoil.

And that’s exactly what happened to Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels and Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo after the Miami New Times reported Wednesday that Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez and Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz were linked to a company that allegedly produced performance-enhancing drugs. Neither Gonzalez nor Cruz had ever been linked to PEDs before.
Former MLB general manager and ESPN Insider Jim Bowden offers insight into the Nelson Cruz PED allegations and discusses possible Rangers moves with Ben and Skin.


It’s an awkward situation for a general manager. Obviously, neither GM knew about this report or whether it was actually true or false. If true, however, the GMs will have to deal with the ramifications from a team perspective, as well as the potential negative public relations that normally follow.

Gonzalez saved Rizzo from having to comment publicly by issuing a full denial via Twitter, and Rizzo subsequently made the best possible PR move and said nothing about it. He and his club had no knowledge of the report and will support Gonzalez until all the facts are gathered. This could take weeks or months, so the resolution -- and any disciplinary action -- might not come until spring training. And rest assured, the issue will become a distraction during camp as the team becomes inundated with media requests for Gonzalez.

[+] Enlarge

Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports
We won't know Nelson Cruz's fate for a while.
Meanwhile, Cruz and the Rangers took the exact opposite approach. Cruz has yet to comment on the allegations, while the Rangers issued an organizational statement that read:

“The Texas Rangers were contacted last week by Miami New Times regarding the story posted this morning. At that time, the Rangers contacted Major League Baseball on that inquiry. The team has no further comment.”

Until there is an arrest made, an admission of guilt or a positive drug test, it will be extremely difficult and unlikely that the commissioner’s office would suspend any of these players in the short term. (T.J. Quinn explains in further detail here.)

Thus, it’s still premature to think that the report alone will force Texas or Washington to think about alternatives or options to replace Cruz and Gonzalez.

An immediate thought shortly after the news broke was whether Daniels and the Rangers would pursue free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn. But according to a Rangers source, that is unlikely. They are committed to giving Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry the opportunity to compete for playing time in center field. Martin is a Cuban outfielder whom the Rangers guaranteed $20.5 million in 2011. He hit .359/.422/.610 last season at Triple-A Round Rock with 18 doubles, 12 home runs and 42 RBIs.

If Cruz is suspended at some point during the season, some combination of Mike Olt, Mitch Moreland and Lance Berkman would end up sharing most of the time in right field, first base and DH. Of course, that would change if the Miami Marlins decided they liked a prospect package for Giancarlo Stanton, an idea the Marlins front office has said “will not happen.”

Thing is, the Rangers needed to add power even before the news on Cruz came out. After losing both Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli to free agency and failing to acquire Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks, it’s pretty obvious that if they come across the opportunity to acquire another power hitter, they will. The trade market does not have a lot of inventory right now, not for corner outfielders with power. However, by June or July, it’s highly likely the Rangers could add veteran power with players such as Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, the Diamondbacks’ Jason Kubel or Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Garrett Jones.

Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
If Nelson Cruz is eventually suspended during the season, Jason Kubel could be an option come July.
Likewise, the Nationals and Rizzo aren’t going to react to this report by going out and trying to trade for another starting pitcher in case Gonzalez is suspended. They’ll prepare for the season as they always do -- prepare for injuries to a starting rotation, which from a team-building perspective is essentially the same as a suspension.

Therefore, they will monitor the rehab of free-agent pitcher Javier Vazquez, who had knee surgery Wednesday. If all goes well, they’ll sign him, but that shouldn’t be mistaken as the team thinking they must make a move because of Gonzalez’s predicament. It will be business as usual. If they add a starter via trade or free agency, in all likelihood they would have any way.

So where does that leave Rizzo and Daniels heading into Opening Day? The most likely scenario is that Nelson Cruz will still be in right field for the Rangers and Gonzalez will start either the first or second game of the regular season for the Nationals. Innocent until proven guilty is how America is built and we should view Gonzalez and Cruz in this light.

Seasoned general managers such as Rizzo and Daniels are not going to spend their days wringing their hands to find replacements in trades or free agency just in case Cruz or Gonzalez is suspended. Rather, they’ll probably spend it communicating directly with their players and mainge sure the players assure them of their innocence, communicating with and supporting the commissioner’s office’s investigation and drug policy and preparing for the public relations distraction that will escalate when they arrive at their spring training homes in Florida and Arizona in approximately two weeks.
post #9693 of 73413
Encouraging for the Twins and M's. pimp.gif

Still concerned with the Mariners finding a bad though...Their farm is all pitching and no one already in the bigs wants to come to Seattle. laugh.gifmean.gif
post #9694 of 73413
Thread Starter 
I doubt they will either unless the park shows a huge step towards not suppressing power this year. It's either Zunino becomes Piazza or some of that pitching goes for Stanton or Cano or Ellsbury or someone like that.

Twins problem has and always will be internal when it comes to developing players, especially pitchers. Shoot themselves in the foot every year.
post #9695 of 73413
Thread Starter 
ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals this season, and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year.

Carpenter has renewed numbness and some bruising in his right shoulder and hand after throwing off a mound before spring training, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday. Carpenter will get an additional medical evaluation and isn't officially retiring, but Mozeliak said the Cardinals are moving on without him.

SweetSpot: Saluting An Ace Carpenter
David Schoenfield tips his cap to Chris Carpenter, one of the most memorable -- and one of the best -- pitchers of the past decade. SweetSpot

"He's leaving the door slightly open, but it's unlikely," Mozeliak said of Carpenter's return. "After speaking with him on the phone, you certainly get a sense that he's more concerned about life after baseball."

Manager Mike Matheny called the news "a kick in the gut."

Carpenter had surgery in July for a nerve injury that first occurred in spring training 2012. He returned to pitch three games in the regular season, going 1-2 down the stretch, and started three games in the postseason. He beat Washington in the divisional series but was 0-2 in the NL Championship Series against eventual World Series winner San Francisco.

It marks the third straight season the Cardinals have lost a key member of the rotation before the start of the season. Adam Wainwright had Tommy John surgery after hurting his elbow in 2011 and missed the entire season.

Former Cardinals teammate Albert Pujols tweeted, "Sad to hear the news of #ChrisCarpenter and hoping for a quick recovery. Sending prayers to one of the toughest men in baseball."


Carpenter, 37, did not join Mozeliak and Matheny at the news conference. Mozeliak said the emotions are still too raw for the pitcher. Carpenter will seek additional medical evaluation at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, but Mozeliak said attention now turns to filling the void left by not only a top-of-the-rotation pitcher but also an unquestioned clubhouse leader.

"There are a lot of young arms ready to contribute, and now they're going to get that opportunity," Mozeliak said.

He declined to speculate on whether the team would pursue Kyle Lohse, who was 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 211 innings for St. Louis last season but remains unsigned as a free agent.

Carpenter, who is 144-94 for his career and 10-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 postseason starts, is considered one of the best clutch pitchers in Cardinals history. He pitched eight shutout innings to win Game 3 of the 2006 World Series against Detroit, a series St. Louis won in five games. And he was a postseason standout in the improbable 2011 World Series run, beating Roy Halladay 1-0 in a memorable Game 5 of the NL Division Series at Philadelphia, and beating Texas in Game 7 of the World Series.

"When he was healthy, he was one of the best," Mozeliak said. "He was blessed with talent, but he also worked extremely hard. When I think back over the last 10 to 15 years here in St. Louis, he was one of those guys who just helped create the model of success. He left nothing to chance."

Matheny, a former catcher who was Carpenter's teammate and manager, agreed.

"I don't know if I've ever witnessed a better competitor than Chris, and also leader," Matheny said.

Carpenter's contract calls for a $12.5 million salary this year, of which $2 million is deferred without interest and is to be paid in $200,000 installments each July 1 from 2017 to 2026.

As recently as the Cardinals' annual Winter Warm-up in mid-January, Carpenter was saying he was healthy and eager to pitch in 2013. Mozeliak said Carpenter tried throwing from a mound perhaps three times before calling him on Friday, emotionally saying he didn't think he could pitch.

"He felt to some degree he was letting us down," Mozeliak said. "I assured him nothing was further from the truth."

Carpenter's career -- six seasons in Toronto, nine in St. Louis -- has been marred by various injuries to his shoulder, elbow and a nerve. He missed most of 2002, all of 2003, most of 2007 and most of 2008, in addition to all but three starts in 2012.

The nerve injury last season seemed career-threatening and surgery included removing a rib. Carpenter made an improbable return that helped St. Louis squeeze into the playoffs with the final wild-card spot. His velocity was down and stuff not as sharp, but he was hopeful for a full recovery by 2013.

The Cardinals also have uncertainty about left-hander Jaime Garcia, who was 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA last season but was limited to just 20 starts because of shoulder fatigue. He was lost for the rest of the postseason after injuring his left shoulder in Game 2 against the Nationals.

Wainwright, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn are expected to be in the rotation. Younger pitchers Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller will compete for a spot.

"As we head into spring now there's certainly a void there, but there's also an opportunity," Matheny said. "We have to have some other guys step up."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
post #9696 of 73413
Terrible loss for the Cards. Carpenter's a gamer.
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post #9697 of 73413
Can't wait to sitting at AT&T Park/Coliseum on a beautiful Saturday/Sunday Game pimp.gif April can't get here soon enough
post #9698 of 73413
That's the life of a big league pitcher, I know Brandon Webb has been out since 2009, but damn talk about a shooting star. You blinked and you missed it.
Instagram: backyardlobo
Instagram: backyardlobo
post #9699 of 73413
Agree with the Twins developing issues... that must improve or "Keith Law's Rankings" will mean absolutely nothing. But it's encouraging.
post #9700 of 73413
Oakland trading for Jed Lowrie was a great move. He's a solid player.

- also can someone get Keith Law's top 100 prospects? He just released it today
post #9701 of 73413
Thread Starter 
Posted it up already, check the last page. It's in four diff posts.
post #9702 of 73413
Ryan Braun on the list.....mean.gif
post #9703 of 73413
dude got off on a technicality, not eem surprised his name is associated with the list
post #9704 of 73413
Damn Carpenters career over? That's a bummer, feel bad for him.
post #9705 of 73413
Yes, i saw this coming a mile away. Carp has had too much trouble in recent years with injuries......This was bound to happen.

Now the problem the cardinals have is if they should re-sign lohse to a lower contract because of his inability to sign anywhere else............or go with a young arm from the bullpen or the minors??

I cant see them NOT signing Lohse at this point in the season. I wouldnt take a chance with more than 1 young arm in the rotation at a time. Either Miller, rosenthal or kelly. (two of which should stay in the pen for 1 more year)

I see rosenthal as a late inning pitcher because of his heater........Kelly and Miller are more rotation fit to me at this point, but you never know.
post #9706 of 73413
Thread Starter 
If he's stupid enough to get away with it on a technicality and then go right back...let's see how it shakes out.
post #9707 of 73413
The day Keith Law's top 100 prospect list comes out is Christmas morning for baseball nerds


post #9708 of 73413
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

If he's stupid enough to get away with it on a technicality and then go right back...let's see how it shakes out.
MLB is trying to ruin their own league. Fans don't give a damn about this anymore. Spring training is about to start and this is all we get to talk about?
post #9709 of 73413
I care about it.
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post #9710 of 73413
Originally Posted by Ballerific703 View Post

Ryan Braun on the list.....mean.gif

Braun's on the list bc he consulted with the guy during his legal issues last year. He issued a statement. Braun is A-OK in my book
post #9711 of 73413
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

Posted it up already, check the last page. It's in four diff posts.
post #9712 of 73413
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

What Yankees need to go right in '13. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Travis Hafner could have signed with the Tampa Bay Rays. Ultimately, he chose the Yankees, to take advantage of the opportunity they have at DH and at Yankee Stadium, which has always been a friend of left-handed sluggers.

But because Hafner has been so limited by injuries in recent years, and because he hit .228 last season, he becomes one more question mark for a team that has a whole lot of question marks.

The Yankees have made the playoffs all but one in the past 17 seasons, partly because they've had a lot of safety nets in place. That was made more possible because, well, they've had a larger budget than anybody else, and because veterans such as Raul Ibanez have liked to go to the Yankees knowing they had a chance to win.

But after a winter of financial belt-tightening, the Yankees don't have as many fall-backs as possible. They don't have as much room for error as they've had in other seasons.

Every team has linchpin parts, the strength of which determines whether it's a good or bad year. Here are eight things that must go right for the Yankees:

1. CC Sabathia needs to be healthy enough to provide a lot of innings -- and be good in those innings. He's coming off elbow surgery and looks good and ready to go. It's been eight seasons since Sabathia had a season when his ERA didn't start with a "2" or a "3," and the Yankees need that streak to continue, because as constructed, they need for the rotation to be the backbone of the team. They won't be like the '31 Yankees, a prolific, run-producing powerhouse; theywill need to win a lot of 4-3 and 5-3 games, with Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda -- all on the downslope of their respective careers -- leading the way.

2. Derek Jeter needs to be a good player, at age 38. He doesn't have to be as great as he was last year, when he led the majors with 216 hits, and if you gave truth serum to the Yankees' officials and staff, they probably would tell you to expect at least some regression in performance this year. Jeter is coming off a broken ankle, and last year, his batting average in balls put in play was unusually high, ranking 16th in the majors. In some metrics, Jeter already is ranked among the worst defensive shortstops. Time marches on.

The Yankees don't need him to hit .320; they can get by with him hitting in the .270 range, consistently making plays on balls hit to him. But if he's much less than that -- given the lack of pop they have at catcher and perhaps in other spots -- it would be a problem.

3. Mariano Rivera needs to be an effective closer. He's 43 years old and hasn't pitched in almost a year, and given his past greatness and his extraordinary athleticism, the Yankees need him to be at least average. If he's not, it's not clear they have a lot of fall-back, given David Robertson's struggles as closer last year.

4. Robinson Cano needs to have an MVP-caliber season. This isn't a reach, because Cano has had MVP-caliber years in recent seasons. With his free agency looming, Cano has a lot motivation to have a big year, and given the Yankees' offensive questions in other spots, they need Cano to again be the anchor.

5. Mark Teixeira needs to be an above-average run producer. As everybody knows -- Teixeira more than anybody -- he has struggled early in seasons throughout his career. But in 2013, the Yankees need him to hit from the start, because they don't have someone with the power of an Alex Rodriguez or a Nick Swisher to pick up the slack.

6. Brett Gardner needs to get back to what he was in 2010. And lest anybody forgets, he was a terrific player that season, with a 7.0 WAR and a .383 on-base percentage. Gardner is 29 years old and theoretically in the prime of his career, as he comes back from an elbow problem. If he bounces back, it would be a huge boost for this team.

7. Kevin Youkilis needs to contribute. Ichiro Suzuki probably won't expand his production much beyond what's he done in recent years, and the Yankees probably aren't going to get much production out of their catchers. They need Youkilis to get on base and provide at least some extra-base muscle. It's worth repeating that in his homes in Fenway Park and in The Cell in Chicago last year -- two parks that play well for right-handed hitters -- he was a really good player, with a .413 on-base percentage. On the road, he hit .177. Yankee Stadium is not a great park for right-handed hitters who don't flick the ball toward the right field line.

8. Michael Pineda needs to give them something -- not a lot, but something. The Yankees are downplaying expectations about when Pineda will come back, which is what they always do. There haven't been any fake proclamations about how he'll be ready to have an impact this year. But he is a monster talent, and there is cautious optimism in the organization that he'll return in the middle of the season. Because his was a shoulder injury, there's no telling how good he'll be; typically, pitchers recovering from shoulder trouble need some time to regain command. If he gives them 10 strong starts at the end of the season, that would be an enormous boost for a team playing in a division that appears to be wid

I hate when "analysts" write stuff like this that is so blatantly obvious
post #9713 of 73413
Thread Starter 
It's Buster Olney, don't be shocked laugh.gif
post #9714 of 73413

BP hats. Not bad
post #9715 of 73413
A's hat may be purchased...
A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

post #9716 of 73413
A's elephant logo and the Reds baseball mascot are my favorites
post #9717 of 73413
I think the Blue Jays and Mets hat looks pretty gnarly too.

And what's with the Yankees having a home and road cap for ST? laugh.gif

EDIT: Ah, I see that a couple other teams have more than one too. Duly noted.
A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

post #9718 of 73413
Originally Posted by DaJoka004 View Post

MLB is trying to ruin their own league. Fans don't give a damn about this anymore. Spring training is about to start and this is all we get to talk about?
Completely agree. Athletes are expected to use PEDs nowadays.
post #9719 of 73413
I disagree. I don't think they're expected up use PEDs it's just not as surprising to find out that they have. In Braun's case we knew he got off on technicality, but with his name in the BioGen records which link other known users it could solidify the beliefs from those of us who knew he did it. For us it's sort of like saying "You thought you could get away, didn't you?"
post #9720 of 73413
Thread Starter 
Felix Hernandez has agreed to a new seven-year, $175 million contract with the Seattle Mariners, USA Today Sports reported Thursday.

The deal would make Hernandez the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history.

Hernandez, 26, was scheduled to make $19.5 million this season and $20 million in 2014. The new contract will start this season, according to USA Today Sports, and pay the three-time All-Star an annual average salary of $25 million.

The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, Hernandez went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA and 223 strikeouts last season. He has pitched at least 232 innings in each of the last four seasons and owns a career record of 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in eight years, all with the Mariners.
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