2012 Yankees starting pitching preview

3 Jan

The Yankees 2012 starting rotation is a bit of a mess to be kind. CC Sabathia is a lock as a the staff ace, but beyond that who knows what to expect. Will there be a return to brilliance, a year certain pitchers live up to the potential they have or will it be a downward spiral into mediocrity with nothing but spit, prayers and duct tape holding things together? One thing that is a given is that whoever trots outon the mound is going to get run support. The big question may be who squanders the fewest leads rather than who actually compiles heavy run support wins.

Sabathia won’t be a problem and can be penciled in for at least 18 wins. Unlike most of his counterparts in the rotation, Sabathia will win games based on being stingy. In an era of ponies, CC is a horse. he will take the ball every turn, go on short rest and go deep in games. Forthe Yankees to win this year, CC will have to exceed his already lofty status as one of the few true aces in the game. He may need to pick up 21-22 wins just to keep the Yankees on the top tier and will likely have to be a big stopper after losses. This is especially true given that the bullpen will likely be well used when he takes the ball every fifth day.

AJ Burnett is the #2 starter by default more so than anything else. As erratic as he is, he’;s still a brand name and that counts for something. Every season fans sit back wondering if this is the year he puts it all together. He has some of the nastiest stuff in the game but he has too many moving parts in his delivery. He still gets rattled easily. he tries to over-pitch far too often it seems. You can’t expect much from AJ anymore really, but he does tend to get hot and rip off wins that make you believe he is Nolan Ryan for 4 or 5 weeks before sliding off to the land of the dreadful again. With good run support and those flashes of brilliance, AJ may deliver 13 wins – possibly 15 if the moon and stars align.

I’m going with Phil Hughes as the #3 starter. If the reports are true, Hughes is in good shape and should not be reporting with any dead arm issues. Supposedly he’s dropped a few pounds which may help his stamina a little. The problem with Hughes is that even though he was ripped off 18 wins in the past, he did it with phenomenal run support. Give anyone around 7 runs per game and they should win that much. Hughes needs to work on finishing hitters off. That doesn’t necessarily mean striking out more hitters, although it would help his roto value, he needs to stop trying to make the perfect two strike pitch. Instead of nibbling into full counts, he has to trust his stuff and make hitters earn their way on base rather than tossing 3-2 get me over pitches to avoid issuing walks. With a little grit, Hughes can pull 14 wins and possibly see 16 if he gets a little luck and manages to stay in games to start the 7th.

Ivan Nova is my #4 starter, and to be honest he makes me nervous. His 16 wins were impessive – take nothing away from him for that. But he again had well above average run support on his way there. I like his stuff and I like that he battles though. My main concern is that the league will adjust to him quicker than he adjusts them. The AL East is no joke and this year will be as tough as any in recent memory. I think he backslides a little this year, but still manages to make 30 starts and pick up 13 wins. 2013 is the year I think we see Nova shine and become a legit #2 or #3 starter. He has the stuff, he just needs a little time to develop further.

Freddy Garcia will be the #5 starter barring an acquisition. Garcia is obviously not the pitcher he was a few years ago but he can still get guys out. The thing I still like about Garcia is that he takes the ball whenever he has a chance to. He will stay in until the hook comes for him no matter what the score is. he won’t eat a ton of innings because Girardi doesn’t manage that way, but he will be a stable back of the rotation guy making 25+ starts, maybe picking up a dozen wins. he won’t look great doing it, but he’ll fill the role ably.

Overall, I predict this rotation will deliver about 60 wins which means they need a lot of help. Spot starters may account for another 5, but that still means that they need about 35 wins from the bullpen to get the job done. Overall, the Yankees rotation is a C+ as it stands. With a ittle luck, they may pitch up to a B. More than likely though, they better pray for record setting run support.


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