MLB Week 1 Losers: Yankee Haters

by Nik Swartz | Posted on Monday, April 13th, 2015
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New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez

New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez

It’s laughable to think the New York Yankees will be living in the AL East basement in 2015. It does not matter how early in the season it is, there are always those anti-Yankees fans in MLB who are ready to pounce on the grave of the Evil Empire.

Do the Yankees have issues this season? Yes they do; and they have many “ifs,” but they also have enough talent to compete in a division where each team has issues.

Looking at the AL East it’s almost impossible to honestly say one of the teams is that much better than any of the others. The Tampa Bay Rays, on paper, look like the only team who really has no chance to legitimately win the East, but even the Rays, if they get a few breaks and a player or two steps up, have a chance. It’s a very small chance, but they have a shot in the most wide open division in baseball.

The Toronto Blue Jays have an amazing lineup, which is led by the big bats of José Bautista and Edwin Encarnación, but they have a below average rotation and an unpredictable bullpen that will be called upon early and often to eat innings.

The Baltimore Orioles also have a great lineup led by Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Manny Machado, but they too have a below average starting rotation. The Orioles do have a solid bullpen, but it’s far from great.

The Boston Red Sox have possibly the most well rounded team in the East, but they are not without their issues. Yes the Red Sox have the core of David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli again this season, as well as newcomers Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in their top heavy lineup, but the team has no number one starter.

The entire Red Sox rotation is full of pitchers who would normally be low-end two’s or three’s in most rotations in baseball. The Red Sox absolutely upgraded this offseason, but they could finish anywhere from first to fourth.

Now back to the New York Yankees, the team so many love to hate, and why there is no chance they will be cellar dwellers as someone recently wrote for Baseball Hot Corner.

Yes the Yankees have a few issues, but they also have some strengths, and one of those strengths is having the most reliable starting rotation in the AL East; the Yankees have a true number one starter in Masahiro Tanaka, as well as three other pitchers who could easily win 15+ games this season – Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Adam Warren.

Where the Yankees are head and shoulders above any other team in the division is in the bullpen. The Yankees bullpen is one of the best in all of MLB and easily is the best in the East, which is the biggest reason why they have no chance of being cellar dwellers in 2015.

The Yankees have the luxury of choosing between the two best shutdown relief pitchers in the division to close out games. Newly acquired Andrew Miller and last season’s All-Star set-up man Dellin Betances are the best late inning two-step in the East. The Yankees have a solid group in the middle of the pen and a great manager in Joe Girardi, who knows how to get the best out of every player he has ever managed.

The biggest problem with the Yankees pitching staff this season is CC Sabathia – the former Cy Young pitcher who once was the Yankees ace. Sabathia, in one start so far, looked like the bad pitcher he was the past two seasons, but he has a better chance to turn things around than any of the other top pitchers on any of the other teams in the East.

Girardi had to deal with an enormous amount of injuries and a lack of depth the past two seasons, yet he kept the Yankees in the playoff hunt until late in the season, which is insane when you look at some of the lineups and pitchers he was forced to use. If the Yankees can stay remotely healthy this season Girardi will led the Yankees back to the postseason.

The Yankees have a very unpredictable lineup, but it’s a lineup with the potential to be as good as any other offense in the AL East.

The Yankees have a lineup full of players capable of hanging with any team in baseball. To view this Yankees lineup, which features Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, and the player who could very well be the biggest surprise in all of baseball this season, Alex Rodriguez, as weak or non-threating is as ridiculous as thinking the Yankees will be cellar dwellers.

This article is no proclamation the Yankees will win anything, this article is more to remind all those who love to hate the Yankees that sleeping on them or ever counting them out is a foolish mistake, a mistake that’s been made many times before, and often does not end well for those who doubt the Yankees.

This 2015 Yankees team has a better chance of winning the World Series than they do finishing anywhere below fourth place in the AL East. None of this is written with Pinstripe Shaded glasses on, it is written with the intelligence to see that the AL East is a four team race, with each team having issues, each team having strengths and the Rays really being the only team with no chance of winning the division.

The Yankees aren’t anywhere near as good as they were 10 seasons ago and they aren’t a shoe-in for anything, but they aren’t close to a team that will be hiding in the cellar of the AL East in 2015. To think this is almost as ridiculous as sitting here in April and reserving World Series tickets for the Chicago Cubs.

The Yankees ended the first week with a big 14-4 win over the Red Sox. It was a breakout game for the Yankees’ offense, which was led by Rodriguez. The win went to ace Tanaka and the Yankees look to build off that big Sunday night win as the team heads to Baltimore to start the second week of the season.

Follow Nik Swartz on Twitter @Sweetnesz13

 

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Nik Swartz
About the Author

Graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and Psychology, currently a counselor in Philadelphia. I started writing professionally in 1999 as the Penn State beat writer for the Milton Standard/Lewisburg Daily Journal in Pa. I have worked at eight daily newspapers as a Sports Writer/Editor - covering all high school sports, the NFL, professional baseball and professional hockey. A few sites I've written and/or contributed articles for include Rant Sports, Bleacher Report, FanSided and Pro Football Spot. Follow Nik on Twitter @Sweetnesz13.







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