So, I tweeted my overall MLB predictions yesterday, just so I was on record with them, and as you’ll see I didn’t exactly smash the conventional thinking. I like Oakland’s young pitching; I think Boston has a terrific roster; I’m not sold the Brewers yet; and I think the Phillies, ultimately, will be as good as everyone believes because of their rotation. Picking them to win the World Series is hardly a revelation.
As for the Yankees, I think they’re going to be a lot closer to the division lead than many people believe. Yes, ultimately, I think Boston wins the AL East but I surely wouldn’t be shocked if the Yankees got there instead. I see 91-94 wins for the Yankees and 94-97 for the Red Sox; that’s a close enough margin that it could certainly go the other way.
In the playoffs, though, I do think the Yankees lack of pitching depth will hurt them, and that’s why I can’t see them making a deep run. Of course, that’s based on the roster they have now and … well, let’s just see who’s in pinstripes on Aug. 1.
Now, as to some other Yankees predictions:
MVP: Alex Rodriguez (I also happen to think he’ll win the AL MVP)
Surprise of the Year: Derek Jeter (Maybe bending the term slightly, but as I wrote for our preview, it seems like many folks think Jeter is heading downhill fast this year … I just don’t happen to be one of them)
Disappointment: Rafael Soriano (one way or the other, this isn’t ending good for the Yankees; either he pitches well and opts out for a new deal as a closer or he pitches poorly and sticks around at $12M a year. Not ideal.)
Lowest spot Jeter hits in the batting order this year: 2nd (For my money, “the drop” comes next year)
Date Jeter gets hit No. 3,000: June 4 (Just guessing that date because it means I won’t be working – it’s my daughter’s first birthday)
Over/Under 40 homers for A-Rod: Over (I like 42)
Over/Under 14.5 wins for Phil Hughes: Over (but not by much – I’ve got him at 15)
Does Jesus Montero spend significant time in the majors this season: No (I see the Yankees picking up a veteran backup along the way and keeping Montero/Romine down for another year of seasoning)
Does Manny Banuelos: Yes (He was too good in spring not to get a look at some point and once he gets here, I think he’ll do well enough to say a while)
Do the Yankees make a trade for a pitcher: Yes (but …)
Is it King Felix: No (Sorry)
What do you guys think? Hopefully Chad will chime in with his thoughts, too, and if you want, e-mail along any other prediction questions and I’ll try hit as many as I can in another post.