That was Then...
It must get tiresome for Yankees fans, making the playoffs almost every year.
The Yanks did what they Yanks do last season, despite the usual concerns about their age, durability and playoff performance.
A home-opening sweep at the hands of the Rays was cause for alarm and even through two months, the pinstripers were a mere four games above .500. But then June rolled around and the Bronx Bombers woke up, going 20-7 in the month.
In the end the team once again won the AL East and made the AL East. Although, once again, the team fell to the Tigers in the playoffs (this time the ALCS).
Yankee captain Derek Jeter defied age leading the league in hits and hitting a strong .316 at 38-years old. Had it not been for two incredible statistical seasons from Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout he may even have been in the MVP conversation.
...This is Now
Jeter has returned, but the injury bug has still come down hard on the 2013 Yankees.
Jeter is just getting back to full-strength after the ankle-injury that ended his 2012 campaign while Mariano Rivera is embarking on a year-long farewell tour.
Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Curtis Granderson (arm) are both out for at least the first month of the season while Alex Rodriguez is out with a bum hip until after the All-Star break… to say nothing of the persistent rumours tying him to a Miami-based PED-ring.
C.C. Sabathia is recovering from off-season elbow surgery, Phil Hughes may or may not start the year as he recovers from back issues and Michael Pineda is also gone ‘til the All-Star break.
It seems like a steep hill to climb. However, despite all this, the Yankees will likely still be near or at the top of the AL East once the season ends, since they almost always are.
The Yankees have lots of RBIs to replace between the injuries and the departures of Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin, but the team has proven over the years that they can overcome a slow start.
The division is tougher this year – if that’s even possible – with the Orioles playing off momentum, the Rays remaining strong and the Blue Jays off-season power-up, but the Yankees can not be overlooked, despite the multitudes of largely valid reasons to do so.
That said, the Yankees are going to want to win again and not just the division. This is definitely Rivera’s last chance, A-Rod seems to always be on the clock in The Bronx, and Jeter isn’t getting any younger.
Can this team make the playoffs? Probably.
Is that enough to keep the team and its fans happy? Probably not.
Every year, we look for players 26-years-old or younger that could make an impact on their team in the upcoming season. The player might have already established himself with a regular role with the team, or he could make their mark later on in the season.
Past Picks: 2012 - Michael Pineda, 2011 - Ivan Nova, 2010 - Francisco Cervelli, 2009 - Phil Coke, 2008 - Joba Chamberlain, 2007 - Phil Hughes, 2006 - Chien-Ming Wang, 2005 - Robinson Cano, 2004 - Jorge De Paula, 2003 - Juan Rivera
Injuries have hit the Yankees hard pushing them out of the Top 10.
2B Robinson Cano opens the season as the fourth highest ranked player in the game.
A disastrous offseason leaves the Yankees lacking in premier fantasy options. That doesn't include 2B Robinson Cano, however, as he is a top five pick in any league, with rare production at a position not chock full of big bats.
Workhorse LHP CC Sabathia is still an ace for the rotation and, if his wonky ankle is healed, SS Derek Jeter can provide value just by playing every day because he'll likely hit for a good average and score runs. The trouble with Jeter, though, is that his name recognition far surpasses what his production is at this stage of his career.
RHP Hiroki Kuroda quietly goes about his business, which could help you nab him later than he should go on draft day and LF Brett Gardner is a burner on the bases who, along with RF Ichiro Suzuki, will have to ignite the Yankees' offence.
Closer Mariano Rivera is as steady as they come in a normally turbulent position.
RHP Phil Hughes is one player who might be able to exceed expectations, particularly if he can keep a few more balls in the park and LHP Andy Pettitte was surprisingly effective last year, so maybe he's worth a look but, like Jeter, his name recognition outstrips his value in many cases.
The Yankees' list of walking wounded includes 1B Mark Teixeira, who may be out all season, 3B Alex Rodriguez, expected back around the All-Star break from hip surgery and CF Curtis Granderson, who has back-to-back 40-homer seasons, but will be out for the first couple months.
As a result, there could be value, at least in the short-term, for 3B Kevin Youkilis.