The Yankee infield is undoubtedly one of the strongest in baseball, if not one of the top collections of infielders in the history of the game. The left side is populated by two future Hall of Fame players and the right side is filled by one guy who’s the best at his position and one go who, at worst, is top five at his position. But like with the outfield, just because a part of the team is solid doesn’t mean there aren’t questions to be asked.
Mark Teixeira: Will he be able to avoid a cold April? He’s been swinging well in Spring Training so hopefully it can carry over. But, if my memory serves me right, Tex had good springs in ’09 and ’10 and they didn’t carry over into early season success. The other question I must ask, though, is this: Does it really matter? Even with slow starts, Teixeira’s seasons generally end at around the same place. We could say that a hot start could led to even bigger number, but at the same time, couldn’t we argue that a hot start could just mean a cold month later in the season? If he gets off to a hot start, that’s great. If he doesn’t, I won’t be worried.
Robinson Cano: What more could there possibly be to question out of Cano? He’s hit for average. He’s hit for power. He’s played well in the field. Robbie seemed to turn a bit of a corner last year when his walk rate jumped up to 8.2%. However, if we take IBBs out of the equation, Cano’s BB% goes to 6.3%. That mark alone still represents a career high in BB%, even if we DON’T adjust for IBBs in other years. So I’ll ask this: Can Cano, at the very least, keep that up? I’d like to see him improve on that number but Robbie, 28 this season (turns 29 in October), is probably too old to suddenly learn on-base skills. As long as he keeps hitting for a high average, though, he just needs to be around league average with his walks. I have a theory that as he ages, his OBP skills will get better because of his power. As his contact rates start to fall off during the aging process and his BA falls, perhaps Robbie will turn his raw power into a home run swing. I think that’s wishful thinking.
Alex Rodriguez: Can he regain his MVP form? That’s asking a lot, isn’t it? But Alex is finally healthy and has looked great by every account this spring. Injury and distraction free, this could be another typical gigantic year for Alex. I’m hoping it is because a) it helps the Yankees and b) above any other player, I love watching A-Rod at the top of his game. When he’s on a hot streak, there’s nothing he can’t hit out of the park and it’s nothing short of marvelous to watch.
Derek Jeter: I could probably fill an entire post with questions about Derek Jeter, but that probably wouldn’t be prudent or highly productive now would it? My biggest question is whether or not he’ll justify his spot in the batting order again. My gut tells me he can probably improve off of 2010. Granted, it’s not that hard of a standard to break, but given Jeter’s age, his wear and tear, etc., it would be an accomplishment of at least some notoriety.
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