Feb 28, 2007

2007 Preview - Storyline

First off, Yankees: Five Things to Know.

This is the first part of a preview of the coming season. An overall season projection/prediction is first, followed by player projections and AL East team projections. I'll hold off on playoff predictions so not to jinx them (yes, I believe in that).

Opening Day Roster
OF: 4
Damon, Matsui, Abreu, Melky

IF: 9
Arod, Jeter, Cano, Giambi, Minky, Cairo, Phelps, Posada, Davis

SP: 5
Wang, Mussina, Pettitte, Igawa, Pavano

RP: 7
Mo, Farnsworth, Proctor, Myers, Vizcaino, Rasner, Villone (unfortunately)

Post-season Roster
OF: 5
Damon, Matsui, Abreu, Melky, K. Thompson

IF: 8
Arod, Jeter, Cano, Giambi, Minky, A. Gonzalez, Phelps, Posada

SP: 4
Wang, Mussina, Pettitte, Hughes

RP: 8
Mo, Farnsworth, Proctor, Myers, Vizcaino, Igawa, Britton, Sanchez

With the Yankees starting the season healthy (Pavano and Abreu coming back before opening day), they get off to a hot start, winning 18 games in April. Wang pitches decent enough, Mussina is great, and Pettitte struggles coming back to the AL, but is saved by an above-average month from Igawa and Pavano. Cano starts off hot, hitting .400, while Arod and Matsui each rack up 10 HR.

Mussina tweaks a muscle and goes on the 15-day DL. Jeff Karstens is called up and makes 3 starts with a 4.40 era. Giambi heats up, with a 1.000 OPS, while Abreu also gets hot, smacking about 10 HR.

Pavano's luck runs out and he tweaks his arm - 15-day DL. Karstens gets the call again. He pitches well, to a 4.30 era. Rivera pulls his groin, Farnsworth moves into the closer spot, and T.J. Beam gets the call over Britton or Bruney because of his advanced age and Britton's not-quite-ready secondary pitches and Bruney's continued control problems, but performs poorly. Jeter and Damon carry the offense, scoring 45 runs in the month.

Pettitte has arm issues, causing him to miss the whole month. Humberto Sanchez is the most ML-ready of the Scranton pitchers (with Karstens now the LR bullpen guy), so he gets the call, and pitches well, despite control problems, going 3-1 with a 4.30 era. But he also pulls a muscle, and goes down. Not wanting to bring Hughes up unless it's for good, Rasner gets 2 starts, going 1-1 with a 4.50 era.

The team is hit with a rash of injuries as Damon hurts his foot, Farnsworth tweaks a forearm, Wang experiences 'tightness' in his back, and Pavano gets his finger caught in a door. Melky plays a lot more in Damon's absence, with Kevin Thompson getting called up as the 4th OF. Bruney gets the call this time and overcomes his control problems to post an admirable era of 2.90. With 2 SPs down, Sanchez and Hughes are called up. Sanchez' control is improved, and Hughes pitches well, garnering a 3.90 era. Unfortunately, the trading deadline has passed, so Pavano is stuck with the team.


The Yanks enter with a comfortable 5 game lead over Boston. Matsuzaka is pitching well, and has a 3.40 era, but not too much better than Kei Igawa, who has a 4.25 era. Sanchez and Britton take over Villone and Rasner's bullpen spots, and Hughes takes over Pavano's rotation spot. Arod is the offensive hero of the month, hitting .380 with 10+ HRs. They cruise to another division title with 99 wins, 7 games ahead of Boston, and the best record in the A.L.

They take on Minnesota in the ALDS.

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