We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2009 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2009 Yankees Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Ben K from River Ave Blues.
1) Joba Chamberlain has pitched about 100 IP in each of the last two years and averages less than 6 IP a start last year. Will he take the next step in 2009 as a starter – say 25+ games started, 175+ IP?
I think Joba’s ready to take the next big step as a starter in 2009, and he says the same thing. For starters, the Yanks have been — and will continue to be — ultra-cautious with Joba. They know they have something special, and they want to make sure that he fulfills his potential while staying healthy. That is something of a tall order. That said, since his injury in August, Joba has been prepping for this season, and he wants to make his 25-30 starts and thrown more than a 150 innings. While I don’t expect him to last a full 33-35 starts in the rotation this year simply because the Yanks will stick him on something of a limit, I see him at around 160 innings and playing a major role in the Yanks’ rotation.
I have to go with Robbie Cano for this one. It would be great to see Hideki or Jorge bounce back to 2007, but Jorge’s 2007 was a career year. Catchers his age coming off shoulder surgery don’t bounce back to that level. He’ll be good but not that good. As for Matsui, I’m not sure what to expect. Over the last three seasons, Matusi has averaged 95 games and the Yanks may be on borrowed time with him. Cano is young and has been working on his swing and timing this winter. He’s my go-to guy for comeback Yankee of the year.
3) How do you think the whole CF thing will play out between Melky, Swisher, and Gardner?
I don’t think Nick Swisher is in the center field picture. He was vocal in his dislike of center while in Chicago, and the Yanks know that. Swisher may be moved before the Hot Stove League is up, but in the end, it will come down to a good old fashioned spring training battle between Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera. The hot hand out of Tampa wins the big job in the Bronx.
4) Do you think Sabathia and Burnett will live up to expectations in 2009?
Short answer: yes. Sabathia is expected to be a bulldog ace every five days, and there’s no reason he can’t do that. He’s been successful in the AL and NL and knows how to pitch. For Burnett, the expectations are slightly lower. He just needs to stay healthy and keep on beating the Red Sox. He can do that.
As Joe Torre has seemingly refused to trash “Joe’s guys” in his book, so must I go with the traditional Yankee. My money’s on Derek’s number being higher than A-Rod’s or Matsui’s. It’s good to be king of the Yankees in New York City.