2014 New York Yankees Odds to Win the AL East with MLB Picks and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 3/10/2014
The Yankees missed the playoffs last year for just the second time since the 1995 season after going 85-77, which was only good enough for third place in the ultra-competitive AL East. They were 12 games in back of Boston in the division and 6.5-games out of the final wild card spot in the AL.
Despite this sudden downturn, optimism inside New York's clubhouse is still running high that this will be just a one-year hiatus from the postseason behind a team that spent the entire offseason trying to become more competitive in a number of different areas. Externally among many of the baseball experts out there, the jury remains out on whether or not it was enough to actually turn things around.
Odds to win the AL East: +240
Odds to win the AL Pennant: +500
Odds to win the World Series : +1200
Projected Win Total: 86.5
The Yankees are hoping they struck gold in one of the biggest free agent acquisitions of the year with the signing of Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. He has tremendous upside potential after a stellar career in Japan, but he is easily the biggest wild card in the newly-shuffled deck.
New York also added outfielders Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury along with infielders Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts and Scott Sizemore. It also looked to bolster its entire pitching staff by bringing in Matt Thornton and Andrew Baily.
The biggest departure from last year's roster was all-star 2B Robinson Cano, who was a huge part of the Yankees' offensive production during his tenure with the team. They also parted ways with Curtis Granderson, Jayson Nix, David Adams and catcher Chris Stewart.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
Derek Jeter (SS)
Carlos Beltran (RF)
Brian McCann (C)
Mark Teixeira (1B)
Alfonso Soriano (DH)
Kelly Johnson (3B)
Brian Roberts (2B)
Brett Gardner (LF)
For the Yankees to be successful this season, the meat of this order is going to have to elevate its game to fill the void left by Cano as well as hope that Derek Jeter can stay healthy for a good part of the season to fully enjoy his swan song to a Hall of Fame career.
The Yankees finished the 2013 season well down the list in the AL in total runs with 650, and they were ranked 12th in hitting with a team batting average of .242. These numbers are a far cry from the team's glory days, and that was with Cano leading this lineup in almost every major category including hits (190), RBIs (107) and home runs (27). The good news is that the distraction caused by the whole Alex Rodriguez situation should be a thing of the past.
Projected Starting Rotation
A noticeably slimmed-down Sabathia reported to Spring Training last month following a 14-13 record in 2013. The Yankees' ace finished the season with an inflated ERA of 4.78 as part of one of his worst campaigns in the majors. New York is also looking for a much better performance from Michael Pineda at the back end of the rotation as well as the pitching staff as a whole after it was ranked eighth in the AL with a team ERA of 3.94.
Right-hander David Robertson has been penciled in as the team's new closer to replace another future Hall of Famer in Mariano Rivera. New York will also look to Thornton and set-up man Shawn Kelley to help anchor the rest of the bullpen.
2014 New York Yankees Picks and Predictions
The Yankees are still the highest-profile team in the majors and is stocked with enough talent to compete in the AL East, but it is no longer a given that they will still be playing when the playoffs get underway in October. New York will need quite a few things to go right to quickly end their postseason drought, and if it does qualify it will most likely be through the wild card route.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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