Friday, February 27, 2009

Prediction For Opening Day Roster

In the comments of my last post, regular reader Dino offered up a sort-of prediction of who he expected/wanted in the Yankee bullpen. That got me to thinking about who'd comprise the Opening Day roster and I figured why not give a crack at predicting who will make the squad. So here's what I think/prefer, assuming of course that they all remain healthy.

The offensive givens: Jorge Posada, Jose Molina, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher

The pitching givens: CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain, Mariano Rivera, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte

For those too lazy to count the names, it's 18 and that leaves 7 spots. One of those is the CF position, which is a battle between Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner. I honestly don't have a preference to one over the other. I think both are 4th OFs at best. Since it looks like one is definitely making the team, barring a trade, I'm going with Gardner as the winner. I don't think the Yankees are high on Melky anymore. His time has come and gone. Even though his OBP was horrible last season, I think the Yankees like what Gardner brings to the table, namely he's quick. His upside is also probably a little higher than Melky's. I think he has more potential to help the team. So I'm pegging Gardner to be our Opening Day center fielder.

One of the spots is going to a back-up infielder. There aren't many guys to choose from. I think it's a 3-horse race between Cody Ransom, Juan Miranda, and Angel Berroa. Berroa is a chump and lets face it, he ain't making the team. I think Miranda is one-dimensional, being best suited as a first-baseman. Ransom is versatile and can play pretty much anywhere in the infield. He logged time at each position last year. It helps to have a guy that can fill in anywhere. Cody Ransom will make the Opening Day Roster.

So that leaves 5 open spots, all of which are going to relief pitchers. One of those guys is going to be a swing-man, someone who can start or relieve. The options for that role as I see it are Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Brett Tomko, Ian Kennedy, Humberto Sanchez, Kei Igawa and Dan Giese. in my opinion, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Alfredo Aceves, need to start and that won't be happening in the majors. They're ticketed for Scranton. Sanchez is still a year or so away and is coming off an injury. I don't even know why Igawa is on the list as he blows. He's an option and not a good one. See you in Scranton. That leaves Tomko and Giese. Tomko was horrible last season and I don't see him performing well enough to earn that spot. Dan Giese had a pretty solid campaign in 2008 (3.53 ERA in 43.1 IPs, 1.22 WHIP, .232 average against) and I think he's the best man for the job. He can start (3 starts in 2008) and can relieve (17 relief appearances). And of all the names above, he's the last one I would think needs to get in a healthy amount of innings. Giese is my pick for the swing man. It's his job to lose.

And then their were 4. 4 spots for by my estimation 6 guys: Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, David Robertson, Jose Veras, Mark Melancon, and Jonathan Albaladejo. This is probably the most difficult of all the choices because all of them are more than capable of pitching at the major league level. There's only room at the inn for 4 so 2 have to go. A lot of this could come down to who shines this spring and who falters. I think Coke and Edwar are locks as they pitched well enough last year to earn the spots. Coke so far has been the man. He's in for sure. Edwar at times can be inconsistent, but for the most part, he gets the job done. Like Giese, it's their jobs to lose. Veras probably pitched well enough to earn a spot, which leaves one opening for Robertson, Melancon, and Albaladejo. I think Albaladejo goes to AAA. Like Humberto Sanchez, he's coming off an injury and he's probably best suited to start the season in Scranton. I think Robertson probably had the job heading into the spring but I don't think he's going to have a better spring than Melancon. It's a toss up and I can go either way. I think Melancon is going to have a better spring so he's my call for the last spot.

So after all of that, I realized that that would be 12 hitters and 13 pitchers which probably isn't the right balance. I don't see the Yanks carrying 13 pitchers. It's possible since they'll have a lot of versatility on the bench. Swisher can play 1B/OF/DH. Matsui can play OF/DH. Ransom can play anywhere in the infield. I can see the team wanting to maybe carry another middle infielder. I don't see anybody really filling that role except for Angel Berroa or a dark horse candidate that comes out of nowhere. For lack of a better option, I'm going with Berroa. Unfortunately, that means I'm sending Mark Melancon back to the minors. He has to absolutely blow everyone else away to pick up one of the spots, and that's certainly possible.

The offense: Jorge Posada, Jose Molina, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Cody Ransom, Angel Berroa

The pitching: CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain, Mariano Rivera, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Dan Giese, Jose Veras, Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez.

So there you have it. That's who I think will comprise the Yankees Opening Day roster, based on everyone making it through the spring without ending up on the DL. So what do you guys think? What do you disagree with and why? There are definitely some question marks and I'm curious what everyone else thinks.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,



dino said...

i'd swap edwar and veras with robertson and melancon. either way, plenty of depth in AAA in case someone struggles.

i like giese as the swingman, he did pretty well last year

im sure theyd like another IF type but i cant see them keeping berroa, he truly is worthless. ransom did well last year and should stick.

i prefer gardner over cabrera and i prefer a trade for david dejesus over gardner. im not sure if theyd keep melky on the roster if gardner wins the job.

i worry they might carry a 3rd catcher just to make sure posada is really ok, but im putting my blinders on an am going to hope posada is healthy and ready to catch 120 games.

back to doing free legal work for indigent defendents on my friday night.

She-Fan said...

Angel Berroa? I don't think so.

J-Boogie said...

I can live with Melancon or Robertson, but am doubting it'll happen. As for Berroa making the team, I don't really think it'll happen either. It looks like they could use another infielder and I don't see anyone there other than Berroa to take that spot. The OF is full. The pitching staff looks full. Middle IF seems the logical spot. A 3rd catcher might make sense, especially if Posada can't handle the every day catching.