Here is another edition of “10 Bold Predictions For Yankees In 2014″. Let’s get started.
#10 Dean Anna Will Take Brian Roberts‘ Job By June: Brian Roberts only played in 77 games for the Orioles in 2013, and that number will only increase by a few in 2014, but this time because of being outplayed by a younger teammate. Dean Anna won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .331 average and was among the league leaders in runs scored (4th), OBP (3rd), OPS (4th), total bases (4th), and doubles (2nd) but the most impressive part was his ability to demolish right-handed pitchers (.345/.422/.508). Anna will outplay Roberts and become the everyday second baseman by June 15th.
#9 Kelly Johnson Will Be A Major Disappointment: Though he is likely to start the season as the Yankees starting third baseman, Kelly Johnson isn’t likely to remain an everyday player by season’s end. He has power but has very little range in the field, doesn’t get on base a lot, and strikes out a bit too much. That is the profile of a pinch hitter, not an everyday third baseman. Eduardo Nunez or a deadline acquisition will take his job.
#8 Derek Jeter Will Play 110 Games: Jeter will have a decent final season, hitting somewhere around .275-.285 and score 70 runs with an OBP around .350-.360 and will play 110 games (90 at shortstop) for the Yankees in 2014. Jeter has always risen to the occasion, so expect some clutch hits down the stretch in August and September.
#7 Teixeira Plays 140 Games, Hits 30-plus Home Runs, Drives In 85-90: The Yankees first baseman will prove that he isn’t done by playing 140 games (125-130 at first base), hitting 30-35 home runs, and compiling 85-90 RBI, and fielding his position like the 4-time Gold Glover he is. He will likely only hit .245-.260, but Teixeira shouldn’t be looked to for a high batting average anymore. Also, expect an improvement in the second half of the season as his wrist heals.
#6 Five Yankees Will Hit 20-Plus Home Runs, Three Will Hit 30-Plus: As previously stated, Mark Teixeira will hit at least 30 home runs in 2014 and will be joined by catcher Brian McCann and right fielder Carlos Beltran. Alfonso Soriano will be good for 20-25 long balls as will Jacoby Ellsbury. Beltran, Ellsbury, and McCann will benefit greatly from the short-porch in right field just like Teixeira has during his Yankees tenure.
#5 Michael Pineda Will Be Among The League Leaders In Strikeouts: After missing two seasons following rotator-cuff surgery, Pineda will prove that the Yankees were smart in acquiring him before the 2012 season by being one of the top five strikeout pitchers in baseball. Not to say he will be the Yankees best pitcher, but he will be quite good.
#4 Four Yankees Starters Will Have An ERA Between 3.00-3.95: C.C. Sabathia will bounce back and return to form and pitch to an ERA between 3.30-.3.65 even though his average fastball velocity will only be between 90-91 MPH and will not top 93 MPH all season. Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka, and Ivan Nova will all post ERAs below 4.00 as well. Hiroki Kuroda will prove to be a disappointment and will struggle at times this season. His ERA will eclipse 4.00 for the first time ever.
#3 Masahiro Tanaka Will Struggle Until Mid-May: He is going through a major transition while learning a new league, new hitters, and a new catcher. Have patience with Tanaka. He won’t struggle forever.
#2 David Robertson Will Prove To Be A Solid Closer: After three successful years as the set-up man, Robertson will have a great year by saving 30-plus games, posting an ERA between 2.00-2.50, and continuing to strikeout batters at an incredibly high rate. Look for David Robertson to have a great first year as Yankees closer. Be aware that he isn’t Mariano Rivera and will struggle at times.
#1 Jose Ramirez Will Eventually Become The Set-Up Man: Ramirez won’t be with the team on Opening Day, but expect him to join the Yankees bullpen in June or July and pitch well enough to pitch the eighth inning.