Like the lineup, the 2011 bullpen is of little concern. While I’m not sure it can “make up” for the rotation as some have suggested, it should still perform well.
Mariano Rivera: The only question is how much longer can he keep doing it? He saw a bit of a drop in strikeout rate last year, but was obviously incredibly effective anyway. Just keep doing your thing, Mo.
Rafael Soriano: Most of us are fans of Soriano the pitcher–because he’s a good pitcher–though we’re not fans of his contract in any way. Still, he makes the 2011 team better, assuming he pitches well and stays healthy. I think the questions here is whether or not he will stay healthy. In fact, he’s never been healthy for three straight Major League seasons. That doesn’t mean he’s instantly going to be injured in 2011, but it’s, at the very least, worth noting.
Joba Chamberlain: Will the ERA match the peripherals? Joba’s 2010 looked a lot uglier than it was. He had a bad ERA, but a great FIP, a solid xFIP, a good groundball percentage, but a horrific strand rate. Hopefully, we see that strand rate normalize and see Joba’s ERA trend south. Maybe if he has a year that matches his peripherals, the Yankees will try him in the rotation again.
David Robertson: Can he cut the walks? Robertson has done almost everything you’d want a reliever to do. He strikes guys out a lot. He keeps the ball in the park. He strands runners. The only thing he hasn’t done is kept from walking guys. His BB/9 was at 4.84 in 2010 and it’d be great to see that come down. That’s really the only thing holding D-Rob back from a future “elite reliever” status.
Now for some quick hits:
Boone Logan: Which Boone will show up–the pre-demotion Boone or the post-demotion Boone?
Bartolo Colon: Will he hold up as a reliever? When will he get his first start?
Steve Garrison: Can he handle a (limited) Major League role?
Luis Ayala: How long will he stick around?
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