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Looking at the Yankees Projected Starting Nine

Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training this week. Mark Levine takes a look at the Yankees projected starting lineup for Opening Day.

By: Mark Levine

Each year a player on the team always has something to demonstrate. Some need to improve upon the last year while other must keep up the good work from the prior year. Several key parts are obtaining walks, using their speed, and hitting with power.  Here is the projected batting line up for the 2011 New York Yankees. The batting order may look like this:

Brett Gardner – Left Field
Derek Jeter – Shortstop
Mark Teixeira – First Base
Alex Rodriguez – Third Base
Robinson Cano – Second Base
Jorge Posada – DH
Nick Swisher – Right Field
Curtis Granderson – Center Field
Russell Martin – Catcher

Brett Gardner was able to get 79 walks in 477 at bats in 2010.  As for his total stolen bases, he only produced a sum of 47. With a combination of more walks plus the speed that he has, Brett should get on base more and get a total of 70 – 80 stolen bases.  If that feat is done, the table will be better set for the second, third, and forth batters to him to score.

Derek Jeter was signed for three more years in the off season. If you compare his stats to other years, he did not have a good prior season.  His batting average of .270 needs to be improved upon. Also, his walk total of 63 needs to be higher.  He should have more opportunities to get a RBI if Gardner gets on base more.

Mark Teixeira had a very good year in 2010 despite a slow start. He will need to correct that pattern this year. If completed, he should be able to hit 40 home runs as opposed to 33 that he hit in 2010. His RBI total should also be larger as well.

Alex Rodriguez for the most part had a really good season last year.  His power numbers are very important to the team and to himself so he could aim for some milestones.  Starting with 613 home runs this year, he should able to catch Ken Griffey at 630 and perhaps bypass Willie Mays at 660.

Robinson Cano had a breakout year in 2010. His 29 home runs, 109 RBI’s, and .319 average had him in the running for the AL MVP award.  Like other players on the team, he will need to better his stats this year to help the Yankees get to the post season.

Jorge Posada position of being the starting catcher is no longer in existence but maybe he will see some action as the backup catcher.  He will have to adjust to his new position of DH.   If he has trouble doing so, he may only see time as a reserve player.

Nick Swisher had a satisfactory year in 2010. He average .288 was decent for him. Furthermore, his home run total was very outstanding.  It would be helpful to see him hit for more than 89 RBI’s.

Curtis Granderson’s first year in pinstripes was just okay. Although his total home runs at 24 were good, his RBI total of 67 was low.  He will need to improve upon his .247 average.

Russell Martin will start his first year as the full time catcher for the Yankees.  He needs to produce big numbers if he will be able to follow up on what Jorge Posada did in his prime. If Russell cannot do a good enough job, one of the reserve catchers will see more time.

The lineup can be a big strength for the team in 2011.  They will be challenged each day by opposing pitchers.  Nothing short of a post season berth will be welcomed. So, batter up!

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