MLB Team News & Rumors: New York

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New York Yankees

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

New York Yankees Team Projection

The Yankees missed the playoffs for only the 2nd time in the last 19 years in 2013.

1. OF Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury fantasy baseball

Ellsbury missed 28 games last season mostly due to a foot injury suffered in late August. He also had a slight groin injury in June, a wrist issue in July, and a thumb problem in August. Jacoby had his 3rd 50 SB season, but his power was well short of his 2011 breakthrough season. Over the past four seasons, Ellsbury has missed 264 games. New York signed him to a 8 year, $153 million contract in the offseason. His K rate (14.5%) was a career high last season, but it is still well below the league average. Jacoby's walk rate (7.4%) was also a career high, but lower than the league average. Ellsbury is a career .302 hitter against RH pitching (.328 in 2013). He did struggle a bit with lefties (.246). In his career, he has hit .285 in Yankee Stadium with 4 HR's, 17 RBI, and 13 SB's in 144 at bats (this projects to 10 HR's and 41 RBI over 81 games in NY). Last year, Jacoby's GB rate (50.8%) was his highest since 2008 (43.0% in his plus HR season). His FB rate (28.2%) has declined over the last 3 years. Ellsbury has hit 45 of his 65 HR's to the pulled side of right field, but only 27.7% of his hits are pulled. Jacoby has plus stolen base ability and his power should spike slightly in New York. If he stays healthy, I could see a .300, 100+ R, 15 HR's, 65 RBI, and 50+ SB season.

2. SS Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter fantasy baseball

Jeter had a tough time recovering from his ankle surgery in October of 2012. The injury forced him to miss 3+ months of the season. Derek returned to the lineup on July 11th, but suffered a quad injury in his 1st game back that cost him another couple weeks of the season. After a stint on the DL, he suffered a calf injury after only playing 4 games. The injury cost him another 3 weeks. He was able to play for 10 days before hurting his surgically repaired ankle, which cost him the rest of the season. Jeter has had a great major league career, but his body appears to be breaking down. The Yankees had enough confidence in his health to resign him to a one year, $12 million contract. Jeter is a career .312 hitter with declining speed and no upside in power due to his high GB rate (62+ % in his last 3 full seasons). I'm sure his value will be discounted, so he may be serviceable as a MI in deep leagues. Derek is a proud player and will work hard to get in shape if his body can handle the workload. Proceed with caution.

3. OF Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran fantasy baseball

Beltran was a good signing by the Yankees. He has a long resume of success in the majors. Carlos has hit over 20 HR's 9 times and has driven in 100+ runs 8 times (none since 2008). The switch to the AL gives him a chance to get more at bats by getting at bats as a DH. Last year, his power took a step back, but he had more hits. His K rate (15%) remained in line with his career path, but his walk rate (6.3%) spiked downward. Beltran's higher BA was a result of a career high LD rate (23.9%). In 2013, Carlos was a better hitter from the left side of the plate (.315 with 17 HR's and 56 RBI in 391 at bats). His speed has been a non-factor in 3 of his last 4 seasons. Beltran has pulled 55.6% of his HR's when batting left handed. His stroke is a perfect fit for Yankee Stadium. Last year, he drove in 84 runs, but only had 355 runners on base. With Ellsbury leading off and batting 3rd instead of 2nd, he has a very good chance of driving in 100 runs this year. If he plays 150 games, a 30/100 season is well within his reach in the small confines of the AL East.

4. 1B Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira fantasy baseball

Just like Jeter, Teixeira had a tough 2013 due to an injury. He hurt his right wrist within 24 hours of last year's LABR draft. The injury forced him to miss almost 2 months. He returned to the lineup on May 31st, but was under the knife in early July after playing only 15 games. He is expected to be able to swing a bat in early January. Teixeira has hit over 30 HR's 7 times during his career and has driven in 100+ runs 8 times. His batting average has been poor over the past 4 seasons (.249 in his last 1694 at bats). Mark's decline in his batting average may be the result of the shift put on when batting left handed (.244 in 2010, .224 in 2011, .239 in 2012, and .086 in 2013 {limited at bats - 35}). Teixeira isn't a high K hitter (17.3% in his career) and he does take his fair share of walks (11.4% career), so his batting isn't dead in the water. He has missed 186 games over the last 2 seasons and any player coming off of a wrist injury is a concern. If he looks healthy in spring training, I see no reason why a fantasy player can't expect another 30/100 season with some batting average risk.

5. C Brian McCann

Brian McCann fantasy baseball

McCann fills a gapping hole in the Yankees lineup. Last year, New York had 8 HR's and 48 RBI in 507 at bats from the catcher position. McCann missed the first 5 weeks of the season after having a slow recovery from shoulder surgery (torn labrum) the previous October. He returned to the lineup in early May and was able to hit 20 HR's for the 6th straight season (7th in his 8 year career), despite short at bats. McCann has pulled 114 of his 176 career home runs. Last year, he did most of his damage in May, June, and July (15 HR's and 41 RBI). He was battling sore knees late in the year, which led to a poor September (.170 with 1 HR and 6 RBI in 53 at bats) and postseason (no hits in 13 at bats). New York is going to be loaded with lefty pull power at the top of their lineup. Brian has 30 HR upside if he can get plus at bats at DH when he needs time off behind the plate. Based on his career resume and the change to New York, McCann should be the 2nd catcher off the board in 2014.

6. OF Alfonso Soriano

Alfonso Soriano fantasy baseball

Soriano has proved to be a solid value at the backend of his 8 year contract. He has played very well over the last 2 seasons (66 HR's with 109 RBI). Last year, his speed even returned for the first time since 2008. He was absolutely electric in his 219 at bats with the Yankees (17 HR's and 50 RBI). Over the last 3 months of last season, Alfonso had 25 HR's with 66 RBI. His K rate (24.9%) has been at the high point of his career over the last 2 years. His walk rate (5.8%) has been short during his entire major league career. Soriano is in the last year of his contract. He has hit 20+ HR's in his last 12 seasons. Alfonso may not be the elite player he once was with the Yankees earlier in his career, but he still has plenty of pop in his bat. New York will have 3 quality hitters hitting in front of him, so he should have plenty of RBI chances. His batting average died in 2009 and it hasn't been an asset over the last 5 seasons. Solid source of power, but his draft value will be a lot higher this year after 2 straight 30 HR seasons.

7. 3B Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson fantasy baseball

New York signed Johnson as insurance if Alex Rodriguez is suspended for the 2014 season. Kelly has 15 or more HR's in his last 4 seasons, but is only hitting .226 over the last 3 years with a weak K rate (24.3% in 2013). Last year, he only hit .218 against RH pitching, which is a stat that will hurt his chances of getting full time at bats. Johnson has power and some speed, but his skill will get exposed when he gets full time at bats. As of today, he is the Yankees best option at 3B with A-Rod out of the picture.

8. 2B Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts fantasy baseball

Roberts has only played in 182 games over the last 4 seasons, but was able to land a possible starting job with the Yankees. Brian started 69 games over the last 3 months of last season, which is a nice step in the right direction. Roberts showed decent pop (8 HR's in 251 at bats with a solid RBI rate (21%). He had a plus LD rate (24.2%), so Brian may have been a little unlucky in batting average. In the first half of the year, he missed all but 4 games due to a hamstring injury. Much of Roberts's value earlier in his career was built on speed. He only has 10 steals in his last 504 at bats. From a fantasy prospective, he will be an after thought in most drafts. With full time at bats, he should have double digit power upside. He has plenty of injury risk, but his price point is free.

9. OF Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner fantasy baseball

The Yankees have a log jam at their last OF/DH spot with Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki still on the roster. Gardner is the youngest player with the most upside in speed. Last year, he had a nice bounce back season after missing almost all of 2012. His K rate (20.9%) was a career high and it really doesn't match his skill set (low Power with plus speed). In 2010 and 2011, Gardner had a much stronger walk rate (13.9% in 2010, 10.2% in 2011, and 8.5% in 2013). Brett was a much better hitter against RH pitching (.285), so I expect him to end up in the better half of a platoon with Wells. The Yankees will most likely dump Suzuki before the start of the season. If you like to micro manage, Gardner will have value at home against RH pitching.

10. OF Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki fantasy baseball

Ichiro's window in the major leagues is closing quickly. He has delivered two straight poor seasons with a declining batting average. He needs 258 hits to reach 3000 in his career. Suzuki has a weak RBI rate (.10%). His speed is fading (20 SB's), and his average hit (1.31) is one of the weakest in the majors. His only edge over Gardner is his ability to play right field. I'm sure the Yankees would rather play Beltran in left field to limit his wear and tear. Suzuki has no fantasy value headed into the 2014 draft season.

11. C Francisco Cervelli

He has no upside in power, but should hit for a neutral batting average.

12. SS Brendon Ryan

Ryan will be a defensive replacement at best for the Yankees. He has hit under .196 in his last 726 at bats.

13. 3B Eduardo Nunez

Nunez may emerge as a right handed option at 3B or 2B this season. Last year, he didn't make a huge impact in his 304 major league at bats (.260 with 3 HR's, 28 RBI, and 10 SB's).


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