In 2006, the New York Yankees were the only team to score more than 900 runs. They were able to do so primarily without two of their top guns. Outfielders Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui were limited to 39 and 51 games, respectively. The team acquired Bobby Abreu at the trade deadline last season to make up for some of that lost production and it worked. The Yankees offense is a model of consistency.
The projected lineup has a possible 7 left-handed hitters in its everyday lineup. The left-handed hitters can take advantage of a notoriously short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium and will come across a lot of right-handed pitchers throughout their division.
Alex Rodriguez (3B) - Last season's struggles were well documented. Despite that, however, A-Rod led all third basemen in RBI's and was 2nd in HR's, runs scored, and walks and was 5th in total bases. His errors and strikeouts were costly from a team standpoint, but both of those numbers are likely to drop this season, which will limit the downside to taking A-Rod in the first round of your fantasy draft.
Derek Jeter (SS) - Jeter finished 2 points shy of winning his first American League batting title with a .343 average. He was 2nd among all shortstops with 214 hits last season. With Johnny Damon getting on base ahead of him and an on-base machine in Abreu behind him in the lineup, similar number are expected in the 2007 season. This makes Jeter a certifiable late-first round, early second round draft pick. Jeter provides, hits, runs, RBI's, stolen bases, and will even chip in 15 or so HR's.
Bobby Abreu (OF) - Abreu is worth jumping on early, who enjoyed the confines of a cozy Yankees Stadium. In 58 games, he hit 7 HR's, had 42 RBI's, 16 doubles, and added 10 stolen bases. Give him a full year in the Bombers' lineup and you'll see big-time numbers. Abreu is more than capable of another .320-25-100 season.
Chin-Ming Wang (RSP) - The young pitcher from Taiwan continues to impress and continues to get better. He finished second in the AL Cy Young voting. He's durable (218.0 innings pitched with 2 complete games), efficient (14.01 pitches per inning), and he wins games. Wang is coming of a breakout season, so he will likely go early in the draft. He is a projected 20 game winner and a leading Cy Young candidate in 2007 as the anchor of the Yankees pitching staff.
Mariano Rivera (CL) - Considered one of the greatest closers of all time, Rivera's stats and consistency speak for themselves. Last year was a down year for the enigmatic closer. It was only the second time since becoming the full time closer that he did not save more than 35 games. In 63 appearances (75 innings) last season, Rivera picked up 34 saves in 37 chances. His WHIP last season was 0.96, which is precisely what you look for in a relief pitcher. Rivera's save chances could be limited by a potent offense resulting in blowout wins. Either way, Mariano is still one of the best.
Robinson Cano (2B) - Cano lost some time last season due to a hamstring injury. Still he finished 3rd in the AL in hitting (.342), and led all second basemen in that batting average and doubles (41). His HR power starting coming on late in the season, so expect more than the 15 he launched last year. He doesn't walk a lot, but he doesn't strike out a lot either. His runs scored and RBI's will likely improve, barring an injury. He should be considered in the upper echelon of second basemen.
Johnny Damon (OF) - Damon is a table setter for the Yankees offense. It's safe to expect fairly similar numbers from him this year. A batting average of near .300, 115 runs scored, 20-25 HR's, 30-35 doubles, around 80 RBI's, and 25-30 stolen bases.
Jason Giambi (DH) - Giambi has a history of not hitting as well as DH compared to when he plays first base. The Yankees feel he is more valuable strictly as a DH though. His batting average has slipped. He still provides power with 37 HR's and 113 RBI's. Another unspoken quality is the OBP, which is helped by his uncanny ability to draw a walk. Batting in the cleanup spot, he will see a ton of pitches with runners on base, so the RBI's should mount.
Hideki Matsui (OF) - Matsui is capable of a .300/30/100 season. However, coming off an injury shortened season, he will need to prove himself once again.
Andy Pettitte (LHP) - Andy Pettitte's career could be rejuvenated now that he is back where it all started. Pettitte has proved to be durable and dependable, throwing over 200 innings each of the last two seasons. He'll project to get about 17 wins, but the rest of his stats will most likely be middle of the pack.
Jorge Posada (C) - Posada remains one of the more elite catchers in the league.
Mike Mussina (RHP) - Age and durability are a concern. Provided he stays healthy, he is still capable of 15-18 wins, and throwing near 200 innings while maintaining an ERA of around 3.50. He is a control pitcher that will probably have about a 4.00 K/BB ratio.
Keep an eye on:
Kyle Farnsworth (RP) - The Yankees setup man for Mariano Rivera. When he is on, he is one of the best. However, when he is off he can be hit hard. Late in the season if you need to pick up some strikeouts for your team, he is a viable option. He has averaged over 10 strike outs per 9 innings pitched over the last 5 years.
Phillip Hughes (RHP) - He's not on the roster yet, but the scouts can't stop raving about how good this kid can be. It's expected that he would be the first call-up from AAA if there are any injuries to the starting rotation.