Spring training is just days away. Team equipment is slowly making its way to Florida. The snowing isn’t clearing yet, but that’s New York for you. The season is almost here, and it’s time for some bold predictions. I’m not making some educated guesses that will most likely happen. When I say bold prediction, I mean bold. There’s no fun in telling you Brett Gardner will have more stolen bases than Jacoby Ellsbury . These predictions are out there and welcome skepticism. Without further adieu, here are my five bold offensive predictions for 2014.
5. Brian McCann will break 30 home runs.
The first large signing of the off-season, McCann is arriving to the Bronx just after his 30th birthday. He has hit at least 20 home runs the last 6 years in a row, but never more than 24. He definitely has a few years left in the tank, and coming to a field that is just 314 down the line is going to help in a big way. McCann will hit 30 in his age-30 season.
4. Jacoby Ellsbury will go .310/30/100 with 120 runs scored.
Any of these statistics will make an impressive season. All of them? That would make this signing have a fantastic start. We all know that Ellsbury had one great season – 2011. He actually had a line of .321/32/105 with 119 runs scored that season, extremely close to my prediction. However, he has never hit more than 9 home runs in any other season. Health is going to play a major factor in this prediction. As long as he doesn’t run into Carlos Beltran fielding a fly ball, Ellsbury should have a great chance at making this stat line come to fruition.
3. Derek Jeter will have over 200 hits, again.
Jeter played in all of 17 games last season after complications following a broken ankle in the 2012 playoffs. I was at that game. I saw him hit the ground. It’s the quietest I had ever heard Yankee Stadium, new or old. In 2012, he led the American League in hits with 216. It was his 8th 200-hit season, and the 13th time he had at least 180 hits. So why is this a bold prediction? He will be 40 in June. He hasn’t really played in a year and a half. He won’t be able to leg out hits the way he has his entire career. Most realistically, his ankle may not hold up enough for him to even have a full season. All that said, would you bet against him? I know I’m not. After all, if he’s going to reach 4,000 hits, he needs to get past 3,500 this season.
2. Mark Teixeira will hit less than 15 home runs, play in fewer than 50 games, or both.
Teixeira has had a tough couple years in New York. After a solid first year, his average plummeted to sub-.250 levels. He still had his power, making him a viable option in the lineup. Now, though, he has wrist issues. Last year, Teixeira played in 15 games. There are reports out that his wrist may stop him from being ready for the start of spring training. Teixeira says he will return to form, but last year’s issue seemed minor too. I think he’s done, power included.
1. The Yankees will score 850 runs as a team this season.
The Yankees gave up more runs than they scored last season. While Boston led the league with nearly 900 runs scored, the Yankees scored just 650. McCann, Ellsbury, Beltran, a healthy Jeter, and a full year of Alfonso Soriano will turn this team back into the Bronx Bombers we all know. Scoring 850 runs is not impossible by any means. However, scoring 200 runs more than last season with Cano and Granderson is lofty to say the least.
Check back in later this week, when I examine the 5 bold claims on the pitching side of the team.