At 3:10pm today another championship season begins for the winningest franchise in the history of sports, as the New York Yankees, open the 2012 season against division rival Tampa Bay Rays.
I’ve got a short day at the day job and will be drinking a beer for first pitch, so I don’t feel like writing a traditional blog, but I steer this ship so here are some random thoughts, predictions and nonsense I’m thinking about the 2012 Yankees season.
The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball program won the 2012 NCAA Championship, and the last six times this has happened, the Yankees have won the World Series. So going into the 2012 season it’s already a proven scientific fact that the Yankees will win the World Series through years of historical testing The rest of major league baseball may as well give up now, the Mets already have.
The Yankees will finish with a 96-66 record, and battle the Los Angeles Angels for the best record in baseball.
Robinson Cano wins the AL MVP. The All-Star second baseman has gotten consistently better every year, and although his average dipped a bit last season, he puts it all together in 2012. I’m predicting Cano hits .323 with 36 home runs and 131 RBIs while providing stellar defense. Cano, AL MVP.
Derek Jeter gets off to his typical slow start, and we have to deal with the New York Post asking “Is Jeter Done?” again. By the end of the year, Jeter is quietly hitting .303 and proving once again, that he is one of the greatest Yankees of All Time.
While center fielder Curtis Granderson continues to be solid, he cannot duplicate his MVP consideration campaign of 2011. I think Granderson hits 32 home runs and drives in 105 RBI, still great numbers, but not what he did last season.
Mark Teixeria worked hard all offseason on learning how to bat against the shift, and it pays off, as his average jumps up to .295 and he hits 42 home runs with 125 RBI.
Brett Gardner will have his best season as a pro, hitting around .280 while stealing 55 bases and scoring over 100 runs.
Of course everyone wants to know what I think about A-Rod. One, his girlfriend Torrie Wilson is smoking hot. She used to be married to former WCW Pro wrestler Billy Kidman, so talk about an upgrade, especially financially. On the field, I think A-Rod will bounce back, and not all the way back to his younger days, but I think .290 with 32 home runs and 110 RBIs sounds about right for A-Rod. He’ll be better, but he won’t earn his $33 million salary, which would be virtually impossible.
Overall I expect the Yankees offense to be more of a team effort in 2012. During the 2011 season it seemed like the Yankees relied on Granderson, Cano, and Teixeria (when he went yard) to carry the offensive load. In 2012 I expect more of the lineup to share the load offensively. I expect big contributions out of new acquisition Raul Ibanez, reserve Eduardo Nunez (who we will be seeing a lot of), and Nick Swisher who is in a contract year.
When it comes to the pitching staff, much remains to be seen after workhorse C.C. Sabathia.
I’ll pencil in Sabathia for his usual monster season. 21 wins, 245 strikeouts, a .297 ERA. It’s what he does.
I think Andy Pettitte, who is coming our of retirement will be the Yankees second best pitcher by seasons end and the number two starter in the playoffs. He’s a bulldog, one of the toughest pitchers in Yankee history, and he will succeed in this comeback.
I think Michael Pineda will eventually become a star in New York, and he will show flashes in 2012 once he gets in shape. I do not think Pineda will be the number two starter at any point this season, however I still think he wins 12 games and proves to New Yorkers he can be counted on in the future and shows fans why he was one of the top prospects in baseball.
I think that the other Yankee starters will be solid in 2012, which us really all you need with the support they should get from the Yankee offense. Some bad starts, but mostly good ones for Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and “The Chief” Freddy Garcia keep the Yankees in most games.
The bullpen will be fantastic. Rafael Soriano will adjust and pitch better in his second season with the club, David Robertson will continue to be lights out, and the greatest closer of All-Time Mariano Rivera will continue his ride right to Cooperstown.
Paul O’Neill will continue to be awesome.
Paul O’Neill’s hair will continue to be awesome.
The Yankees beat the San Francisco Giants in 6 games to win the 2012 World Series.