2015 New York Yankees Predictions: Starting Lineup, Pitching Staff, and Record


Baseball season is right around the corner and the New York Yankees have some questions to ask themselves going into Spring Training.  Will Carlos Beltran be healthy enough to play a full season? Does A-Rod have what it takes to produce in the MLB again? Who will establish themselves as Derek Jeter’s replacement at SS? Will they let Dellin Betances loose as the new closer? We will tackle all of those hard pressed questions and predict their starting lineup/positions, as well as their starting 5 (or 6?), the closer situation and the team record.

Starting Lineup:

1-Brett Gardner – Left Field

Gardy is the prototype for a leadoff hitter. While he showed some power last year, his real talents are working the count, getting on base and wreaking havoc on the base paths.

2-Jacoby Ellsbury – Center Field

Ellsbury is also a pure leadoff hitter but can be used in many different spots in the lineup, as he proved last year when he hit in the 3-hole a lot. He has the ability for 30+ doubles, 20+ home runs and 40+ SB’s. With Jeter gone, the #2 spot in the lineup is up for grabs. When Gardner gets on, Ellsbury should be able to move him over or drive him in.

3-Carlos Beltran – Right Field

The outfield is dominating the top of the lineup. Beltran is as good of a 3-hitter as you can get. Two years ago, he hit .296, 30 doubles, 24 home runs and 84 RBI’s for the St. Louis Cardinals. 2014 was an injury plagued year. He will be 38 in April, so health is a concern but if Beltran can stay in the lineup he will drive in runs like he always does.

4-Mark Teixeira – 1st Base

The recurring theme for the Yankees will be health questions. Marky-Mark hasn’t played more than 123 games since 2011. He has changed his diet, in hopes of being able to stay healthy this year. His average has taken a hit ever since joining the Yankees in 2009, but he has proven one thing and that is, when he plays, he drives in runs. He is a perennial 30/100 guy and in just 123 games last year Teix hit 22 home runs, with 62 runs batted in.  He is the biggest long ball threat for the Yankees, so they need him to consistently bat in the middle of the lineup in 2015.

5-Brian McCann  – Catcher

Signing a big free agent contract with the Yankees, put a lot of pressure on McCann to produce and it seemed to weigh on him in 2014.  He batted just .232 (40 points below his career average).  He did show some signs of life in the power department late in the year. McCann hit more than half of his home runs (12) in August and September. Hopefully he carries that over into 2015, because the Yankees need his bat. One thing to be said about McCann is that he did an incredible job with a banged up pitching staff and played in his most games since 2010 (140).

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6-Chase Headley – 3rd Base

Chase Headley came over to the Yankees in the middle of last season and provided a bit of a spark to the lineup. After hitting just .212 with 7 home runs in his first 77 games with the San Diego Padres, Headley hit .262 with 6 home runs in his final 58 games with the Yankees. The Yankees must have seen something they liked because they rewarded the 30-year-old with a four-year $52 million contract. If Headley produces anywhere near his 2012 season (31 HR & 115 RBI’s), this will be a steal for the Yankees. He should be able to hold onto the 3rd base position because of his defense. There is one player on the team that can challenge that and his name is…

7-Alex Rodriguez – Designated Hitter

As long as the Yankees are paying him his monstrosity of a contract, he will be in the lineup when healthy.  A-Roid is a bit of a wild card because the Yankees have no idea what to expect from him.  Some people think he can produce big numbers, some people think he’s going to be a disaster. I say somewhere in the middle. 15-20 home runs and 60-70 RBI’s would be considered a successful season for him and the Yankees would take that. This team was desperate for some “pop” in the lineup last year and while management may dislike A-Rod, he could prove to be a nice bat for them. We most likely will see him DH, because at 39-years-old (soon to be 40) his range at 3rd will be limited.

8-Stephen Drew – 2nd Base

Last year was a disaster for Drew. He held out for a big contract and didn’t get it. The Boston Red Sox signed him in June and traded him to the Yankees in August. Neither team was kind to Drew, as he hit .162 with 7 HR and 26 RBI’s on the SEASON. Optimists will say that he can’t get any worse and that Spring Training will help. If Drew starts slow, look for the Yankees to make a change quick. Brendan Ryan and young prospect, Rob Refsnyder could challenge him for playing time at second base.

9-Didi Gregorius – Shortstop

He’s young (25) which is new for this Yankees team. Gregorius is a stud defensively, but there have been some questions about his offensive skills. Only time will tell, but all signs point to him starting at SS. If he can produce decent numbers he should solidify his spot in the lineup, but if not we could see a platoon.  Everyone wants to know “who will replace Jeter?”. The answer, is nobody!  Jeter is impossible to replace, but Gregorius has a chance to be the Yankees SS for years to come.

Feb 21, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a bullpen session during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pitching Staff:

1-CC Sabathia

Because of Sabathia’s tenure with the Yanks he will be the opening day starter.  His numbers have taken a hit since 2012. A lot of it has to do with his career workload and drop in velocity.  He came into spring weighing 305 lbs and says he feels healthy at that weight. If Sabathia can stay healthy, he will continue to be a workhorse for the Yanks. In 2013, while his ERA was 4.78, he still pitched 211 innings. Look for Sabathia to bounce back after his season was cut short in 2014.

2-Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees organization let out a collective gasp when Tanaka suffered an elbow injury in 2014. He was pitching at a Cy Young level before going down. The good news is, he did not need Tommy John surgery and says his elbow feels great going into the season. The bad news is that we will be holding our breath every time he throws a splitter this season.  If healthy, Tanaka will be the best pitcher on the staff and will contend for a Cy Young.

3-Michael Pineda

Nobody has ever questioned his talent. After a pine-tar incident and an injury, Pineda got it together and in 13 starts posted a ridiculous 1.89 ERA and a 59:7 K:BB ratio. He has yet to prove that he can hold up over a full season, but the Yankees have to be encouraged after seeing him finally pitch for them in 2014.

4-Nathan Eovaldi

The Yankees traded with the Miami Marlins for Eovaldi, a 25-year-old flame thrower in December, in hopes that they can turn his “great stuff” into production. He has under performed to this point in his career, but he is still young and boasts a 100+ MPH fast ball.

5-Chris Capuano

Capuano pitched 12 games for the Yankees in 2014 and was a pleasant surprise.  His numbers weren’t outstanding (2-3 with a 4.35 ERA) but he seemed to keep the team in every game he pitched.  The southpaw was resigned in the off-season and expects to round out the starting five.

6-Adam Warren, Esmil Rogers, Bryan Mitchell or Chase Whitley

There have been grumbles that the Yankees may start the season with a 6-man rotation in order to keep Tanaka and Sabathia healthy. I believe they will give this a shot and the sixth starter will be determined in spring training. Personally, I’d like to see them give Bryan Mitchell a shot. There are enough older players on this roster and it would be nice to see them give a young guy a shot to prove himself.

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Closer – Dellin Betances

The guy was unstoppable last year. 90 innings, 1.40 ERA and 135 strikeouts is about as good as you can get as a relief pitcher. If the Yankees brought back David Robertson, I’d say to keep things the same. They chose to let Robbie go and sign Andrew Miller instead, so all signs point to Betances being the new closer of the future.  I’m willing to bet he can handle the 9th inning just fine.

Prediction: 91-71 – First wild card in American league

Joe Girardi and company, have some decisions to make going into the 2015 season.  As Yankee fans, we never want to see them miss the playoffs. After 2 years being excluded from the post season, I think the Yankees are able to stay healthy enough to grab a wild card. The issue was their offense last year. If their middle of the lineup bats can stay on the field, they will produce. Also, the Yankees’ organization is not one that takes kindly to losing, so after a fairly quiet offseason, I expect for them to make a big move if needed during the year.

Next: Who was the best player on the Yankees last year?

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