Yankees Spring Training Update

The Future is Looking Bright

For some reason I’m more excited than ever for this 2011 season. Maybe it’s because I like it when the Yanks aren’t the favorites heading into April. The Yankees are the most vulnerable they’ve been since 1995. If everyone plays up to their potential, this team will be fantastic. However, there are so many questions on both sides of the ball. Offensively, this lineup has the ability to be the best in baseball. But how will Derek Jeter come back from his worst season of his career? Will Teixeira finally have a strong beginning? Can Granderson start where he left off at the end of September or is he going to go back and hit below the Mendoza line against lefties? Finally, what about the catcher situation?

Kevin Long Is Awesome

In the fall, I had the opportunity to meet Yankees’ hitting coach Kevin Long. I asked him about the Yanks’ top prospect, catcher Jesus Montero. Long said that he sees Montero hit around .280 with 20 bombs and 80+ RBI – pretty much Rookie of the Year numbers. I’m going to go ahead and take Kevin’s word on this one. From what I’ve heard about Jesus, he’s supposed to be the next Yadier Molina but with power. One of the few moves I agreed with this offseason was the acqusition of Russell Martin. Here’s a guy who’s an experienced all-star catcher who can mentor Montero and Cervelli. Today, Joe Girardi told the media that he expects Montero to start out the season as the backup to Martin.

All offseason long, we’ve been analyzing the depleted starting rotation. Because of this rotation, Brian Cashman publicly stated that the Yanks’ are the hunters of the American League while Boston are the hunted. But great news with Sabathia coming into camp in great shape! From the reports of his bullpen sessions in Tampa, he seems to have more stamina than ever before. Last week, A.J. Burnett said that his goal for this year is to “win the Cy Young.” Now that’s a pretty significant goal, but I’m not going to say it’s an impossible one. Burnett has the stuff to be one of the best in the Bigs, but sometimes he has the control to not make it out of the first inning. We will keep a close watch on Burnett’s next couple of weeks on the bump. We should expect great things out of Phil Hughes (just found out he’s a huge Lightning fan). Bartolo Colon and Mark Prior both looked impressive in their first bullpens of the Spring as well. Expect some updates about the back end of the rotation as Spring Training gets off and running.

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