The Good, The Bad, The A-Rod
By: Jesse Garcia
As the New York Yankees 2015 season rapidly approaches, many different websites and and baseball insiders are making their projections for teams and individual players. I am going to state projections for who I believe will be they Yankees best player, let-down player, and Alex Rodriguez. Let’s get right to it.
In 2015 I believe the best overall player for the Yankees will be catcher Brian McCann. McCann got off to a slow start in 2014. He was still adjusting to American League pitching after spending his previous nine seasons with the Atlanta braves in the National League. From April through June of 2014, McCann only had 9 home runs and 36 runs batted in. From July through the end of the regular season McCann had 14 home runs and 39 runs batted in. McCann worked extremely hard with former hitting coach Kevin Long all throughout last season and the hard work paid off as the results speak for themselves. I see a boost in production for McCann in 2015. I am predicting a .245 batting average with 31 home runs and 82 runs batted in. McCann has all the tools to put up those numbers. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Mark Teixeira give McCann protection in the lineup and should set him up to drive in many runs. McCann has never hit 30 home runs in a season but I think that with a full American League season under his belt, along with that short porch in left at Yankee stadium, McCann is more than capable of blasting 30 dingers and leading the Yankees offense in 2015.
“The Bad” is not someone I think will have a bad season, but someone who will have a disappointing 2015 season. Brett Gardner is coming into this season after a career year in 2014. Before last season Gardner signed a 4 year $52 million contract extension. Gardner played up to the contract he received. He batted .256 and set career highs in home runs with 17 and runs batted in with 58. At times in 2014 it seemed like Gardner was the only one who could hit for the Yankees. He carried the team offensively early on before others like McCann and Ellsbury started to find their form. As for 2015, I do not believe Gardner will repeat his production of 2014. I am predicting a .266 batting average with 10 home runs and 41 runs batted in. Gardner needs to bump his average up a bit to be more of a prototypical leadoff hitter. The 17 home runs last year were helpful for how dreadful the rest of the lineup was, but in 2015 some big bats like McCann, Teixeira, and Beltran will be back healthy to hit home runs. Gardner needs to get on base and steal some bases.
Oh A-Rod…how we’ve missed you and all the drama you bring to the Yankees. After a season where A-Rod was suspended by Major League Baseball he is poised to make a comeback and contribute to the Yankees in 2015. He will rejoin a cast of players that are much different than the faces he was surrounded with when he last played. Since A-Rod last played for the Yankees, they have added many new faces including Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Alex was plagued by injuries when he last played in 2013. He only played 44 games and only hit 7 home runs and only drove in 19 runs. Those are not typical Alex Rodriguez numbers. Now that he has had over a year to recover from injuries and get into the best shape possible, I think Alex will bounce back in 2015. I’m certainly not predicting an MVP-esque season from number 13, but I do believe he can be a serviceable designated hitter, mainly against left handed pitchers.
Not only does Alex have over $60 million to play for, he is approaching a few historic milestones. Alex is only 61 hits away from 3,000 and his only 31 RBIs away from 2000. 3000 hits is one of the biggest milestones for a position player. Only 28 players have 3000 hits. But, Alex is approaching an even more elite club, 2000 RBIs. Only TWO players have driven in more than 2000 RBIs in their career. Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. That being said, I believe Rodriguez reaches both milestones in 2015. For Alex, I am predicting a .247 batting average, 13 home runs, 37 runs batted in, and 78 hits. So with those numbers Alex will reach the 3000 hit mark and 2000 RBI mark. It should be an interesting season for Alex and one that fans will be eager to see.
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