by Eddie Mayrose

It’s here.  That weekend on the sports calendar better than all the others.  The Final Four, Masters week and, of course, the opening of the baseball season.  No matter what the weather, (and the Yankees are slated to open today in less than stellar conditions), it’s always a little warmer when there are baseball highlights to watch and box scores to follow. The optimism that marks the beginning of each season may fade quickly here in New York, however, as both of our local nines are facing problems that could hinder any run to the top.

While the Yankees are clearly in better position than the Mets to contend within their division, they have somehow managed to compile a $200 million dollar roster that is woefully short on pitching.  C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes, All Stars both, will anchor the top of the rotation as will Rafael Soriano and the ageless Mariano Rivera in the bullpen.  The matter of who starts on the other three days and who bridges the gap to the ace relievers is one that will plague GM Brian Cashman through at least July, and possibly all year.
It has been a tried and true Yankee policy to acquire whatever they need for the stretch run at the trading deadline.  A daunting task in 2011, however, as one mid-season pickup may not be enough.  Unless A.J. Burnett has a miraculous turnaround, the Bombers will probably need two pitchers to carry them through September. Continue reading »

by Eddie Mayrose

You’ve gotten your ratings together, the restaurant has been picked and all that’s left is to sit down and select this year’s league champion.  Right?  Not so fast.

Of all the things that lead to a Yoo-Hoo shower at the end of the season, those intangibles that help you work your way through the draft are what will separate you from the rest of the pack.  This week, we’ll bring you some of those intricacies in an effort to help you raise a flag in 2011.

In The Sporting News 2009 Fantasy Baseball Preview, Brad Pinkerton wrote a terrific piece on young pitchers titled, Folding Aces.  In it, he analyzed the performance of these rising stars in the season after their stellar debuts.  He presented a formula for targeting those young hurlers that could reasonably be expected to turn up on the disabled list or suffer a disappointing campaign.  He had my interest when he presented those hurlers that violated his criteria in 2007.  Ian Kennedy, Dustin McGowan, Fausto Carmona, and Yovani Gallardo all turned out to be disappointing selections for Fantasy Baseball owners in 2008.  In  ’09,  Ricky Nolasco, Mike Pelfrey, Glen Perkins and Manny Parra  either underperformed or landed on the DL.  Last season, Max Scherzer, Joba Chamberlain, Mark Rzepczynski, Tommy Hanson and Derek Holland disappointed to different degrees. So, what are these criteria and who’s on the list for 2010? Continue reading »

by Eddie Mayrose

Despite the largest payroll in the game, the Yankees will begin the 2011 season with A.J. Burnett following C.C. Sabathia in the starting rotation. Burnett, a huge disappointment over the two seasons since he signed a five-year $80 million contract, is a far cry from Cliff Lee, now the Phillies second starter after the Yankees failed to land him in the off-season.  However, with the Bombers as strapped for pitching as they are, Burnett becomes their only option.
In previous seasons, standard operating procedure for Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman would be to fill his team’s needs at the trading deadline with a star from a team looking to rebuild and dump salary.  That may be next to impossible this season, though, as one player won’t get it done.  If Burnett continues his slide, Cashman will likely need to fill three spots in the rotation if the Yankees are to make a run at a playoff bid.
The Yankees’ predicament stems from the fact that they put all of their eggs in Lee’s basket during the free agent season , leaving themselves seemingly without a backup plan when he headed south on the Jersey Turnpike.  Left only with the option of inviting the likes of Bartolo Colon and Mark Pryor to camp, the Yanks now head into 2011 with questions that their wallets may, finally, be unable to answer. Continue reading »

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