Previewing The 2012 NY Yankees Lineup
The Yankees lineup has historically been one of the best in baseball year after year. Yes, many faces have come in gone since the beginning of recent Yankees dominance, but each season they continue to be at the top in most offensive categories.
This year’s Yankees lineup is not too different from the one Joe Girardi sent out in 2011, but it’s still powerful, potent, and talented, and should have no problem finding success this season. So without further ado, here’s my predictions for the 2012 Bronx Bombers. We’ll go in order:
#2 Derek Jeter, SS – .290 AVG, 10 HR, 60 RBI
Sixteen years since his Major League debut, Derek Jeter still finds himself at the top of the Yankees lineup, continuing to produce into his late 30’s. Despite a poor start to 2011 that saw him go down to a calf injury, Jeter returned in early July to become Mr. 3,000 and start a second-half surge, batting .327. Jeter is not being moved out of the leadoff spot anytime soon, and it seems he’s gotten back into the grove that made him the player he’s been all his career. Jeter should be able to hover around .300 and continue to be a solid shortstop for the Yankees in 2012.
#14 Curtis Granderson, CF – .270 AVG, 33 HR, 101 RBI
Last year, Granderson had an incredible year, hitting 41 home runs and leading the league in runs scored (136). He finally found the power stroke Yankee fans expected from him when he first arrived, and he’s still only 31 years old. Curtis should be able to put up similar numbers in 2012, and improve even more hitting against left-handers.
#24 Robinson Cano, 2B – .319 AVG, 34 HR, 125 RBI
This is the year of Robbie Cano. The production he’s put up the past two years, and still being only 29 years old to me makes him a strong candidate for AL MVP. Granted, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder have now entered the picture, but Cano should have a huge year and should finally crack the 30 home runs plateau. If you thought he was great last year, watch out.
#13 Alex Rodriguez, 3B – .283 AVG, 27 HR, 96 RBI
A-Rod is a very interesting player to watch in 2012. Playing in just 99 games in 2011, Rodriguez had the worst season of his career, and his streak of hitting 30 home runs and 100 RBI the past 13 seasons was finally snapped, when A-Rod only got to 16 and 62 for those stats. The 36-year old followed Kobe Bryant to Germany to get a revolutionary blood-spinning treatment called Orthokine therapy, which apparently helps heal injuries and strengthen the body faster than average. Also, if you had averaged out A-Rod’s 2011 season to 162 games, he would have hit somewhere around 26 home runs and 101 RBI. Rodriguez can certainly still produce, and I’m anticipating him to have a bounce-back season for the Yanks in 2012.
#25 Mark Teixeira, 1B – .273 AVG, 40 HR, 115 RBI
The curious case of Mark Teixeira. Ever since joining the Yankees, Tex’s average has dipped from .292 in ’09, to .256 in ’10, and to .248 in 2011. A once perennial. 300 hitter, Teixeira’s strikeouts has increased, while his on-base and slugging percentage has dropped considerably, making some people question the $180 million deal he was given. Teixeira apparently devoted his offseason to working on hitting better from the left side, and said he will bunt if needed to beat the dreaded shift that’s also hurt him in recent years. If Teixeira’s plans work to fruition, expect a bounce back year average-wise from the slugger.
#33 Nick Swisher, RF – .277 AVG, 24 HR, 87 RBI
In a contract year for Nick Swisher, he’s looking to do some damage and prove he should be the Yankees right fielder of the future, as he says in a perfect world he’s in the pinstripes until he dies. Swisher, like seemingly every spring, has come in more fit that the previous season, but this time he’s apparently built up muscle instead of shedding fat. Will that translate to more production? Only time will tell. But I’m expecting another good season for Nick, who’s been a sure bet to putting up big offensive numbers in the lower half of the Yankees’ lineup. Oh, and he’s also been tabbed as the successor to A.J. Burnett has the pie guy, so look out for him when the Yankees walk off. Maybe he’ll pie himself!
#27 Raul Ibanez, DH – .262 AVG, 20 HR, 72 RBI
The ink still drying on his one-year, $1.1 million contract, Raul Ibanez will be the DH against right-handed pitchers. The soon to be 40 year old still has something left in the tank, and a move to Yankee Stadium as I previously said, will benefit him greatly. For $1.1 million, the Yankees got a bargain for the native New Yorker, and I expect a solid year for what it’s worth as the #7 hitter in the Yanks’ lineup.
#22 Andruw Jones, DH/LF – .251 AVG, 12 HR, 43 RBI
The former 19-year old Brave who smacked the Yanks around in the ’96 World Series is coming back on a one-year deal to be the team’s DH against left-handed pitchers. He underwent knee surgery in the offseason and came into camp, as a lot of guys, in better shape and ready to go. He will be a valuable piece to the bench and should be a solid DH against left-handed pitching, which he clearly still dominates.
#55 Russell Martin, C – .258 AVG, 15 HR, 68 RBI
One of my favorite players, Martin had a great year last season as the Yankees starting catcher. His great management of an average pitching staff mixed with timely hitting led to him getting his 2012 option picked up by the Yanks. He’s a terrific defensive catcher and besides the batting average, he can hit very well too. I figure him to have similar numbers to that of 2011, but it still should be a great year for Martin, who will be looking for a new contract next offseason, whether its from the Yankees or elsewhere.
#11 Brett Gardner, LF – .280 AVG, 6 HR, 54 RBI
Already entering his fourth full year, Gardner will once again be the starting left fielder and probably hit ninth for most of the time. Of course he has great speed, and has gotten key base hits in many games for the Yankees, regular and postseason alike. The problem with Gardy is that he is a very streaky hitter, something that he needs to work on. He’ll go on a tear for three weeks of hitting .300, and then will enter a month of hitting .200. It makes no sense, and with all his speed he should be getting more stolen bases as well. He is far from a great player, but should be able to jump-start the Yankees lineup again as the “second leadoff man”, as I like to say.
So there you have it. They’re no Murderer’s Row, but the 2012 lineup should be one feared by all, and one that has a great shot of powering the Yankees to the playoffs and beyond. Go Yanks!