Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring of Content?

Yes, I’m still alive everybody. Just like the Owl, I too have a very busy March and that has shown from the lack of life around here. Everything looks to be clear and I can finally start blogging again on a regular basis. And if things pop up… thank God for auto-post. I’ll admit I haven’t really been following the Yanks too much this spring training. Sure, I know the starting rotation battles going on between Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, I know about what prospects are making a splash, and I know that A-Rod is smacking the crap out of the ball.

Let’s start with A-Rod. Last year wasn’t a typical “A-Rod season”; his home run totals, batting average, OBP, and SLG % was way down compared to his previous few years. However, he did drive in 125 RBIs, the most in a year since his monster 2007 season. Any Yankee fans (or A-Rod fans if they exist) that are worried about his numbers declining once again should have no fear; quite frankly, he is DOMINATING with his bat right now.

Yesterday, A-Rod hit his sixth homerun of spring training, a two-run shot that cleared the black in centerfield against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yanks went on to win the game 4-2. He also has at least one RBI in nine of his last ten games. The man is on fire and hopefully it carries over into the regular season, where the lineup will need every hit from his bat while notorious slow-starters like Mark Teixeira take a few months to warm up.

Girardi announced the official rotation yesterday as well. In a battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, Freddy Garcia narrowly beat out Bartolo Colon, and Colon will now start the year in the bullpen in place of the injured Pedro Feliciano. While both players had solid springs, Colon did outpitch Garcia and that leaves some people in question. I assume Cashman and Girardi are not too keen on the idea of Colon pitching 150+ innings, considering the last full season he completed was in 2005 (the same year he won the Cy Young… doesn’t it seem like ages ago?). And it’s not like Garcia was a scrub last year; he went 12-6 last year with a very good WHIP and ERA. With the signing of Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal, the Yankees have very good depth for the last spot in the rotation. These are all veterans looking for that final shot on a Major League club… this is only going to help the Yanks. As long as Colon doesn’t steal all the hamburgers.

Even if you’re not a Yankees fan, I’m sure you’ve heard of Jesus Montero, superstar-in-the-making. However, he hasn’t really impressed this spring training. He’s batting in the low .200s and his defense is very subpar. He most likely will start the season in triple-A. However, I can tell you about one prospect that has a good shot at making the club in 2011.

Manuel Banuelos. Remember that name. He is going to be a monster. A 19-year-old left-handed pitcher signed from the Mexican League, Banuelos has a hard, tailing fastball, a nasty 12-6 curve, and a devastating change up, easily his best pitch and very Johan-esque. Banuelos has excellent command, poise, and confidence, and look for him to be a force in the coming years, if not this year.

All in all, after worrying about the Yanks all winter, I can safely say I feel more confident in this club. The rotation looks solid, the bats look ready to roll, and some rookies are going to make a big impact for the team. Opening Day is in five days, and I’m effin’ pumped!

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