As every Yankeeist reader will certainly know, the Yankees start their 2010 title defense on Sunday, April 4th versus the Boston Red Sox. With less than a week of Spring Training to go, now seems like a good time to take a look at how the bombers have fared. For the record, Spring Training stats are useless, which I've said previously, but that doesn't mean we can't have some fun with them. What follows is the projected opening day lineup and the batter's slash stats.
Derek Jeter - .237/.275/.263: So, this spring hasn't exactly been the Captain's best work. Then again, April was the only full month of baseball in which Derek hit less than .300 last season. He cruised after that, and may take a little longer this season to get going as well. Should Jeter get off to a slow start, expect a lot of grumblings in Yankee-land due to Jete's contract status.
Nick Johnson - .267/.425/.667: Somewhere Larry is grinning. Johnson's slugging numbers are inflated from his 3 spring homers, but the average and OBP are right where we'd want them to be. Would I take a full season of Johnson with a .267 BA and a .425 OBP? You bet I would.
Mark Teixeira - .308/.372/.564: I can still see Tex's awful 2009 April when I close my eyes. Unfortunately, Tex's reputation is for being a slow starter. The solid spring line aside, he may treat Yankee fans to a repeat performance.
Alex Rodriguez - .303/.361/.545: A-Rod, on the other hand, is considered a fast starter. His spring line is right where we'd want it to be. His OBP is low (for him), but I doubt walk patterns for both hitters and pitchers are the same in spring as they are during the season.
Robinson Cano - .350/.381/.500: Speaking of slow starters, don't let Robbie's solid stats fool you. He hit over .400 in spring in 2008 and look where that got him. Cano actually broke his pattern last season. Instead of being awful in April, he excelled in the first month of the season and then stunk it up in May and June. Cano's problem is that he walks so infrequently that he needs to hit at least .310 to have a respectable OBP. Just look at his spring line. He's hitting .350 but only getting on base at .381. That translates to only 2 walks all spring, both of which I assume were by accident.
Jorge Posada - .367/.457/.400: Jorge is the mainstay Yankee who's age concerns me the most. I have faith that the Yankees will continue to get outsized performances from their aging core, but it would not surprise me if Jorge bucks the trend and begins to slow. Fortunately, this spring he's shown us that he can still get singles against AA pitchers.
Curtis Granderson - .297/.409/.405: Because there is something seriously wrong with me, I've actually been following the spring training stats from the word go (I'm watching an encore presentation of a spring training game as I write this). At the beginning of spring Granderson couldn't get a hit, literally. He's come on strong of late and looks ready for the season. I'm excited for the start of the Curtis Granderson era in CF.
Nick Swisher - .297/.381/.405: My sentiments on Nick Johnson apply to Nick Swisher as well. Nevermind his slugging; I would take a season of .297/.381 from Swish in a heart beat. It's largely overlooked now, but Swisher practically carried the team last April. Maybe he has another fast start in him.
Brett Gardner - .233/.306/.326: If Gardner gets off to a slow start, how long before the blogosphere begins screaming that the team needed Johnny Damon? One month? Two months? I'm going with one month.
The Yankees look pretty good top to bottom. Ken Singleton said on the air today that a hitter has had a good spring if his average is up around .300 at the end of training. That means that 7 of the Yankees' 9 projected starters are roughly where they should be, with Jeter and Gardner taking longer to round into form. Maybe this means the team will finally get off to a fast start in April? Maybe it means spring training stats are pointless? Either way, we begin keeping track for real next Sunday.
Coming soon: the Yankee pitchers.