2006 Record: 97-65, 1st in the AL East, lost to the Tigers in the ALDS
Manager: Joe Torre
Comings: LHP Andy Pettite, RHP Luis Vizcaino, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B Josh Phelps, RHP Chris Britton, RHP Humberto Sanchez, RHP Kevin Wheelan
Goings: LHP Randy Johnson, RF Gary Sheffield, RHP Cory Lidle, RHP Jaret Wright, OF Bernie Williams
Offense: If not the top, one of the top offenses in baseball. SS Derek Jeter had a career year, hitting .343/.417/.483 with 97 RBIs in the two hole. He should have been the MVP while finishing second in the batting race, stealing 34, and scoring 118 runs. CF and leadoff man Johnny Damon had a pretty good first year in the Bronx hitting .285 and scoring 115 runs. RF Bobby Abreu has been underrated for years. He turned in another solid season with a line of .297/.424/.462 with 107 RBIs. 3B Alex Rodriguez had some struggles with his throws but he still had a solid season with the bat hitting .290 with 35 HRs, 121 RBIs, and 113 runs scored. Jason Giambi gets to worry about hitting only now as the Yankees brought in Mientkiewicz to be the primary first baseman. Giambi put up hit 37 HRs and 113 RBIs and had an OPS of .971. Mientkiewicz hit .283 in 91 games. 2B Robinson Cano has become an offensive force. He did miss considerable time last year due to injury but hit .342 with 15 HRs and 78 RBIs. His biggest weakness is he hardly walks. C Jorge Posada will turn 36 during the season, but he still one of the top offensive catchers. Last years line was .274/.374/.492 with 23 HRs and 93 RBIs. LF Hideki Matsui missed over a 110 games last year but is a very good hitter and a silent leader of this team. Josh Phelps or Andy Phillips will platoon with Mientkiewicz at first. OF Melky Cabrera had a very good breakout year hitting .280 with 7 HRs and 50 RBIs.
Rotation: The verdict on the rotation is still out. LHP Pettitte is back after spending a few years in Houston. I really don’t know what the Yanks are expecting out of him. Last year in the NL he was 14-13 with a 4.20 ERA. RHP Mike Mussina had a bounce back year going 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA. RHP Chien-Ming Wang had a banner season and established himself as a possible number 1. He was 19-6 with and ERA of 3.63 but he only struck out 76. RHP Carl Pavano will try to bounce back after a couple injury riddled seasons. LHP Kei Igawa will round out the staff. He is a veteran of the Japanese League. He is described as having power pitcher stats without power pitcher stuff.
Bullpen: RHP Mariano Rivera is still one of the elite closers. He had 34 saves and an ERA of 1.80. RHP Kyle Farnsworth had a less than stellar debut with an ERA of 4.76. LHP Mike Myers is still getting out lefties. LHP Ron Villone was also solid. RHP Vizcaino was acquired in the Johnson trade and will add another power arm in the bullpen. RHP Scott Procter came in to his own posting a 3.52 ERA in 83 games. RHP Chris Britton is solid. The Orioles gave up way too much by trading him for Wright.
RHP-Phillip Hughes-was the Yankees’ top prospect going in to the season and his performance proved it. Pitched a career high 146 inninings going 13-6 between the Florida State League and Double A. Had and ERA of 2.25 in Double A as a 20 year old. Limited to 80 pitches or 5 innings during the last half of 06. His fastball sits from 91-95 while touching 96. Has a career K to BB ratio of 269 to 54. Was rated as the fourth best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. Will probably start the year in Triple A but it would not be shocking to see him in the rotation in New York during the year.
OF-Jose Tabata-During 2006 he hit .298/.377/.420 with only 66 Ks in 319 ABs at Low A. Really impressive considering he did this as a 17. His year was pretty much done in July due to a thumb injury before he turned 18 in August. Has great bat speed and power. Other tools are average to above average. May make it to the big leagues sometime during 2008.
RHP-Dellin Betances-Picked in the 8th round of the 2006 draft, was a first round talent but most teams were scared off by his price tag and committment to Vanderbilt. The Yankees gave him a million dollars and sent him to the Gulf Coast League. He threw only 23 innings but struck out 27 while giving up only 15 hits. A big kid that stands 6-7, he has a fastball that sits 93-94 and can reach 98. Has a hard breaking curveball that is his out pitch. A local kid, should start 07 at Low Class A and has the potential to be an ace.
Analysis: Definitely should be playing in October, but then again what else is new. GM Brian Cashman did a great job acquiring young arms and this system has really been restocked. It will be interesting to see if the organization is really going to start stocking the team from the minors or if they start trading them off as they have in years past. This offense will slug with anyone. I am not sold on the rotation, but the offense can win some softball style slugfests when the rotation suffers. The watch will be on Roger Clemens, and you know the boss will throw a lot of $$ toward the Rocket if the Yankees struggle early.