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February 19, 2014 posted by Patrick DiCaprio

2014 Fantasy Baseball Top Five Questions: New York Yankees

2014 Fantasy Baseball Top Five Questions: New York Yankees
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Every year we run a “Top Five Fantasy Questions” series here at FP911 and this year is no different. We are looking at fantasy only, not how the real baseball team will do. So, in the case of this article on the Yankees, we are not interested in how Brian Roberts will do as Robinson Cano’s replacement.

The Yankees have as many question marks, and as many new parts at key positions, as any team in baseball. Even if we exclude new players they have some big-name players returning such as Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Michael Pineda, which gives the Yankees virtually an entirely new lineup compared to last year.

As a result there are many issues for fantasy players and we do not have room to address Brian McCann or the aging Jeter and Teixeira. If you want my opinion on them or have any other questions hit me up on twitter @pdicaprioFP911.

5. What will Masahiro Tanaka do? Brian Cashman says he will be happy if Tanaka is a solid number three starter. Yeah right. The park is terrible for pitchers and his stuff, according to scouts, is a lot closer to that of Dan Haren than Yu Darvish. So, while Cashman may be blowing smoke to temper expectations, he may end up being close to correct, much to his chagrin.

We have no idea how Tanaka will do. The best bet is to look at his Major League Equivalents and keep your fingers crossed. They provide a lot of hope that Tanaka will be far better than a number three. His MLE ERA and WHIP for the last two years: 2.33/1/13 in 2012 and 1.52/1.03 in 2013. That looks like he might be a huge bargain, given the market’s likely reticence to spend big.

4. What does Carlos Beltran have left? Though he is a switch-hitter, Beltran’ struggles against lefties are getting worse and worse, with his OPS dropping to .729. His SBO% was a measly 2% last year, and is not likely to increase significantly. His BB/K rate is dropping every year. At age 37, he is in decline, but still moderately productive. So, how much will the park prop up his stats? It might be more than enough to mask continued decline, making him a potential bargain, but it is hard to believe that is more than a wish.

3. Can C.C. Sabathia return to form? He sure can, and it has nothing to do with his weight. In my view Sabathia is a prime PPOBY target. Last year’s numbers, in terms of skills, were a dead ringer for his 21-win 2010 season; just look at his K, BB and swinging strike rates. They were exactly the same in 2013 as they were in 2010. The only difference was a 68% LOB% and .320 BABIP.

2. Is David Robertson ready for the spotlight? Of course he is and anyone who thinks he isn’t because of three outings years ago is silly and should be unfollowed on twitter. My Closer Identifier Algorithm thinks he can be a top ten closer and predicts that he holds the job. Given its over 90% success rate in predictions and Robertson’s skill set, you can bet he will be a bargain. On paper, Robertson is just a notch below the elite closers. His BB rate has been improving and if there is any additional room for improvement then Robertson will be in the Holland, Jansen class.

1. Is Jacoby Ellsbury a $40 player or a $10 player? Generally it all comes down to health for Ellsbury, whose dollar values generated in the last five years are: $41, $2, $49, $9, $39. That paints an easily understandable picture. All that a fantasy player can do is draft him at the injury discount and cross their fingers, and count me as one who is more than willing to do just that. You have to roll the dice somewhere and most of this game is luck anyway.

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