After 1 time through the Yankees rotation, the experts and journalists are already giving their predictions for the Yankees 2016 season. Some seem optimistic, just like some fans and myself, while others are terribly pessimistic, with good reason. With the Yankees roster and contracts in a sort of rebuilding type stage, which Yankees team shows up in 2016?
The Sporting News ran an article recently explaining how this is the year the Yankees wheels fall off and in a way, I could see that happening, not gonna lie. They have some fragile (it must be Italian) older vets that could easily spend more time in the trainers office than on the field, plus some unproven kids coming up. But they also have some young arms and have added some youth to inject some energy into the team.
As many people have pointed out, and I firmly agree, the Yankees go as Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner go. I even wrote about the both last April, read HERE. If the two speedsters can get on base while reeking a bit of havoc on the base paths allowing the middle of the order to inflict the damage, the Yankees should be among the league leaders in runs again. If they struggle, the offense will struggle. Behind them in the order are the big boppers in ARod, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann.
These four men are no spring chickens anymore. They do however possess the talent to allow the offense to take some pressure off the pitching staff. They also possess the bodies of older men that could fall apart just by thinking about it. Brian McCann has proven to be durable but the other three have a laundry list of ailments. While there have been some home runs and wins, can it last all season long?
Didi Gregorius will hopefully continue where he left off in the second half of 2015 and Starlin Castro appears to be rejuvenated in the Bronx. Aaron Hicks and Dustin Ackley provide some nice upside, although neither have lived up to their high draft picks. But this could be the year they break out! Right?! Maybe?
The starting rotation really has me intrigued and excited, while also nervous as hell. I'm nervous that Masahiro Tanaka's elbow could blow up. I'm nervous that CC Sabathia's huge frame could cause knee pain again, although, he was the only starter in the Yankee rotation to go 6 innings last week. Wow!
I'm nervous about Nathan Eovaldi. I'm nervous that Michael Pineda will not be the stud pitcher he looked like in 2012 and if one of them get hurt, I'm nervous Ivan Nova wouldn't be the perfect fill in because of Tommy John.
That being said, I'm excited for Tanaka letting loose more this year after successfully completing 2015 with no major issues. I'm excited for CC Sabathia and his new found mental and physical health to bounce back and earn his huge pay check. I'm excited for Nathan Eovaldi to pitch his second year in pinstripes and improve upon his rather successful 2015. I'm excited that Michael Pineda appears healthy and in better shape mentally and I'm excited for Ivan Nova to have a full unrestricted spring nearly 24 months after Tommy John surgery. I know... I'm a mess...
I'm also extremely excited that Luis Severino appears ready to be a fixture in the Yankees rotation. He is just a kid with now 12 career Major League starts and there will be hiccups along the way, but he has the goods. And the Yankees need the goods!
The Yankees are in flux. They're attempting to be more budget friendly and get younger. They have accomplished that! Some of their investments are coming to an end (thank goodness) and some others, including prospects and prospective free agents, will be on the way to the Bronx in the near future.
In an ideal world, the youngsters show some great potential this summer, the vets stay healthy and produce and Joe Girardi uses a balanced lineup and provides adequate rest for his players so they don't burn out in September like last season.
This year will be interesting, as will next. But the direction of the organization I do truly like. So the big question is; are the 2016 Yankees going to be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?