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2011 Fantasy outlooks: New York Yankees

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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The "Empire" looks to strike back in 2011. The "Evil Empire" that is.

The New York Yankees, arguably the most-loved and most-hated sports franchise, failed to repeat as World Series champions in 2010, seeing their hopes for a 28th title end in the ALCS against the Rangers. The road back to the World Series won't get any easier in 2011, especially with New York's hated rival -- the Boston Red Sox -- loading up on marquee names in the offseason.

The Red Sox did what the Yankees normally do -- throw money at their problems. Only this offseason, no one wanted to take the Yankees' tender. Cliff Lee passed and booked a flight to Philadelphia. Andy Pettitte made the decision that $12 million for one season wasn't enough to postpone retirement. And the Yankees' biggest offseason acquisition -- outside of re-signing Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera -- was acquiring setup man Rafael Soriano, who was forced down general manager Brian Cashman's throat by team ownership.

The Yankees did sign names like Mark Prior, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, but all past their prime. Don't be fooled by the monikers.

Despite a relatively quiet offseason by Yankees' standards, the team is still loaded heading into '11. New York is still going to have one of the best lineups in baseball, anchored by Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano.

The biggest concern for New York is in its rotation. Outside of CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, it's going to be a crapshoot. Will new pitching coach Larry Rothschild solve A.J. Burnett's woes? Is Ivan Nova ready to handle the rigors of pitching on the league's biggest stage? Can New York get by with the likes of Garcia or Sergio Mitre at the back end of the rotation and contend without having to dip into its farm system?

Another issue this season could be durability. Come opening day, the Yankees could have just three starting position players -- Brett Gardner, Cano and Martin -- and potentially two starting pitchers -- Nova and Hughes -- under 30 years old.

The Yankees don't rebuild. They re-stock. Only the inventory is getting a little old and the competition is stacking up.

Bounce-back player ... Jorge Posada, DH

Posada gets too beat up these days to catch on a regular basis. The Yankees solution is to stick the 16-year vet at designated hitter. This is a move Fantasy owners should welcome for '11. Posada will retain his catcher eligibility in Fantasy while reducing his chances of getting injured and improving his opportunities to keep his potent bat in the lineup. Posada's 57 RBI and .248 average in 120 games last season were a bit disappointing, but he still accumulated 18 homers, 23 doubles and a .454 slugging percentage. Those numbers are attractive for a thin Fantasy position like catcher. It's also worth noting that Posada totaled four homers, five doubles and 14 RBI in 30 games at DH last season.

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Sleeper ... Ivan Nova, SP

No matter how little experience or success a pitcher might have, if they are a starter for the Yankees, then they are going to garner recognition in Fantasy circles. The latest example is Nova. The undrafted free agent got his first taste of the majors last season, going 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in seven starts. He was a little erratic (walking 14 in 36 2/3 innings) and was prone to the long ball (one homer for every nine hits he surrendered) in starts, but those are things he can easily correct with time. It's the upside that makes Nova intriguing for Fantasy purposes. He had his best year in the minors in '10, going 12-3 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 23 Triple-A starts. Nova isn't an elite strikeout pitcher just yet and Fantasy owners are probably more intrigued with his win-potential at this stage in his career. But he is a favorite to land a spot in the Yankees' rotation and that makes him a late-round Fantasy sleeper in deeper formats.

Can't-miss prospect ... Jesus Montero, C

Montero is on the cusp of making his MLB debut, which is likely to happen this year. The Yankees are going to start the year with Martin and Francisco Cervelli handling most of the catching duties, but neither player has the upside that Montero possesses. The only major concern for New York is whether he can handle the defensive responsibilities for a team in a pennant race. Montero is probably going to be eased into the starting role, but now is the best time to bring him to the majors so he can work with Posada, who has an expiring contract and can impart wisdom on the team's top prospect before he leaves. While his defense is a work in progress, offense has never been an issue for Montero. He is a .314 hitter in the minors with 58 homers, 99 doubles and 251 RBI in 380 games. He hit .351 with 14 homers in the second half last season at Triple-A, so he appears ready for the majors.

New York Yankees Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Derek Jeter SS 1 CC Sabathia LH
2 Nick Swisher RF 2 Phil Hughes RH
3 Mark Teixeira 1B 3 A.J. Burnett RH
4 Alex Rodriguez 3B 4 Ivan Nova RH
5 Robinson Cano 2B 5 Freddy Garcia RH
6 Jorge Posada DH Alt Sergio Mitre RH
7 Curtis Granderson CF
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Russell Martin C CL Mariano Rivera RH
9 Brett Gardner LF SU Rafael Soriano RH
Top bench options RP Joba Chamberlain RH
R Francisco Cervelli C RP David Robertson RH
R Andruw Jones OF RP Pedro Feliciano LH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2010 high Destination
1 Jesus Montero 21 C Triple-A Triple-A
Montero leads the list of Yankees' top-catching prospects and is a Fantasy star in the making.
2 Gary Sanchez 18 C Class A Class A
Potential is probably highest in Yanks' system, but he is still very raw at 18 years old.
3 Dellin Betances 22 SP Double-A Double-A
Returned from elbow surgery last year throwing mid-90s heat. Has frontline rotation potential.
4 Manuel Banuelos 19 SP Double-A Double-A
Promising lefty prospect who has fanned 9.5 batters per nine innings in the minors.
5 Andrew Brackman 25 SP Double-A Triple-A
Former first-rounder and Tommy John survivor who is finally developing and tapping into potential.
Best of the rest: Hector Noesi, SP; Austin Romine, C; Slade Heathcott, OF; Eduardo Nunez, INF; Brandon Laird, 3B; Adam Warren, SP; Graham Stoneburner, SP; David Phelps, SP; David Adams, 2B; J.R. Murphy, C; Corban Joseph, 2B; Cito Culver, SS; Brett Marshall, SP; Angelo Gumbs, OF; Jeremy Bleich, SP.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Team outlooks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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Player News
David Holmberg serves up two homers in loss to Cardinals
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:56 pm ET) Reds pitcher David Holmberg turned in another solid outing but came away with a tough-luck loss Friday night against the Cardinals in St. Louis, dropping to 1-2 on the year.

The opening inning proved to be costly for Holmberg. He permitted solo home runs to Randal Grichuk and Matt Holliday in the opening frame for his only damage of the night. He yielded two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three over six innings of a 2-1 defeat. Of his 106 pitches, 63 were strikes.

Holmberg owns a 5.25 ERA over 24 innings of work. He will make his final start of the season Thursday at home against Milwaukee.


Zach Putnam gets two out save
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:55 pm ET) White Sox reliever Zach Putnam picked up a two out save Friday against the Rays.

Putnam entered with a one-run lead, and managed to shut the door. He made things interesting, giving up a hit against his first batter, but managed strikeouts against the next two hitters to end the game. It was Putnam's sixth save of the season.


Jose Quintana wins one Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:51 pm ET) White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana turned in a strong start Friday against the Rays.

Quintana allowed three runs, one earned, on nine hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six and did not issue any walks during the outing. The Rays started the scoring early, picking up two runs on a first inning error. With two outs, Wil Myers managed to reach on a fielding error by second baseman Marcus Semien. Logan Forsythe then doubled two runs home. Both runs were unearned by Quintana. Forsythe would tag Quintana for an earned run in the fourth inning. He hit a solo home run to leadoff the inning. 

With the win, Quintana improved to 9-10. He’ll take on the Tigers in his next start. 


Jeremy Hellickson turns in rough start Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:49 pm ET) Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson had a rough start Friday against the White Sox.

Hellickson allowed four runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out one and walked two during the outing. Hellickson got off to a strong start, turning in four scoreless innings to start the game. He seemed to tire in the top of the fifth inning. Hellickson walked the leadoff hitter, and gave up a double to the second batter. Both of those runs came around after two straight run-scoring singles. Avisail Garcia drove in two more runs on a double later in the inning. 

With the loss, Hellickson dropped to 1-4. He’ll take on the Red Sox in his next start. 


Julio Teheran goes seven innings strong in tough-luck loss
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:48 pm ET) Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran hurled seven dominant innings in a tough-luck loss to the Mets at home Friday night, dropping to 13-13 on the year. He permitted two runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out six over seven innings of a 5-0 defeat.

Over his last three starts covering 20 1/3 innings, Teheran has allowed six earned runs. He owns a 2.88 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 32 starts (216 innings). Teheran will have one more chance to climb over .500 before the end of the season. That opportunity will come Wednesday at home against Pittsburgh.


Zack Wheeler jumps one game over .500 Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:47 pm ET) Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler turned in a gem Friday night against the Braves in Atlanta, improving to 11-10 on the year. The right-hander permitted five hits and two walks while striking out seven over six innings of a 5-0 victory.

Wheeler has permitted just one earned run over his last two starts away from home (12 innings). He owns a 3.49 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP over 31 starts (180 1/3 innings). His final start of the season will come Thursday at Washington.

Jeff Locke pitches well in no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:29 pm ET) Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Locke pitched well in a no-decision at home Friday night against the Brewers. The left-hander permitted two runs on five hits and no walks while striking out three over seven innings of a 4-2 win.

All of Pittsburgh's runs were scored in the eighth inning when Locke was out of the game. Over his last three starts covering 19 1/3 innings, Locke has allowed six earned runs. He owns a 3.60 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP over 20 starts (127 1/3 innings). His next start will come Wednesday at Atlanta.

Adam Warren picks up five out save
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(10:26 pm ET) Yankees pitcher Adam Warren picked up a five out save Friday against the Blue Jays. 

Warren entered with a two-run lead, and managed to shut the door. He did not allow a hit or a walk during the appearce, but did notch three strikeouts. It was Warren's third save of the season. 


Yovani Gallardo fans 11 in no-decision Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:24 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo struck out 11 but came away without a decision Friday night against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The right-hander allowed five hits and one walk over seven scoreless innings of work.

Gallardo wasn't backed by much run support and as a result, the bullpen failed to hold on to a two-run advantage, coughing up four runs in the eighth. Over his last two starts covering 13 innings, Gallardo has allowed two earned runs. He owns a 3.46 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP over 31 starts (187 1/3 innings). His final start of the regular season will come Thursday at Cincinnati.

Doug Fister registers win No. 15
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:14 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Doug Fister put together a quality start in a win over the Marlins in Miami on Friday, improving to 15-6 on the year.

Fister allowed a run to score on a groundout in the second inning and permitted a solo home run to Justin Bour in the fourth for his only damage of the night. He was charged with two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out one over 6 2/3 innings of a 3-2 victory. Of his 102 pitches, 65 were strikes.

Fister owns a 2.55 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP over 24 starts (155 innings). His final start of the regular season will come Thursday at home against the Mets.


 
 
 
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