Quite Frankly: 2015 Yankees Will Give You "Two" Many Question Marks

It's Easter Sunday and the anticipation is finally at its peak! No, not the treasure hunt for Easter eggs but for Opening Day! Tomorrow we officially make the transition from Winter to Spring as the sun will be out, it will be 65 degrees and Yankees Baseball will be back in the Bronx! The 2015 Major League Baseball season has arrived.

It seems like only yesterday we saw one of the greatest moments in sports history play out in the Bronx when Derek Jeter decided to say farewell in dramatic fashion by getting the game winning hit in his last ever at-bat at Yankee Stadium. While that was a tremendous way to say goodbye, it was bittersweet because the Yankees missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. With the old guard now officially gone, we turn our attention to the new and current crop of players wearing the pinstripes.

2015 will ALL hinge on the team's health. I can't remember the last time the fate of the team couldn't be determined or predicted. This team has the ability to be really good or really bad. So many question marks surround the Yankees so let's look at some of the major questions followed by my predictions.

Can Masahiro Tanaka remain healthy enough to be the unstoppable ace he was last season?
--- This is the biggest concern the Yankees have this year. Without Tanaka healthy, the Yankees don't make it to October. The guy has quickly established himself as a stopper. He'll stop losing streaks, keep the rhtymn of good quality starts going, and be able to pitch in big game situations. He finished 13-5 last season after missing a few months in the middle of the year because of the tear in his right elbow. He was well on his way to a 20 win season, but he was also well on his way to Tommy John surgery. Thankfully he avoided the surgery (for now) and as long as he can take the ball every fifth day, I like the Yankees chances of making it to October.
My Prediction: 16-7 2.96 ERA , one stint on the DL.  / 8-4 3.45 ERA Tommy John surgery in the 2nd half of the season. I know, it's two different predictions but it can go honestly either way. Sadly, I think I'm closer with the latter prediction.

Which CC Sabathia are we getting in 2015?
--- This spring CC's velocity is back up to the mid 90's. That's huge (no pun intended). Why, because CC will need his velocity up so he can mix in his offspeed pitches and create a wider timing variance for the hitters. Bottom line, he couldn't get by with his subpar 89 mph fastball the last two seasons and he hasn't developed into a "pitcher" who relies on location and mixing in pitches. He's been a thrower and now maybe we can get a little bit of both. The most concerning thing this spring with CC was the locating of his pitches, While at times he's looked good, he's had glimpses of looking really bad. Maybe it's because he's missed most of last season and it'll take him some time to get into his groove. Sabathia is a notoriously slow starter so I don't see this as a worry....yet.
My Prediction: 13-9 4.23 ERA one stint on the DL, Yanks 3rd best starter behind Tanaka and Pineda.

Can Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeria return to form?
--- Both played TERRIBLE last season and that was because of health issues. So the good news is, they both can't possibly play worst than they did last year. The bad news, is they're broken down aging players so just how good is their best? Two switch hitting middle of the lineup sluggers need to be a huge threat in the lineup. Just plain and simple. Both have to hit 25-30 home runs with 100 RBI. Both have made it through Spring Training with no health issues and appear ready to go to open the season so let's just hope they play to the back of their baseball cards.
My Prediction: Beltran: 271 26HR 92 RBI two stints on the DL / Teixeria: 265 32 HR 95 RBI no DL stint.

What's left of Alex Rodriguez?
-- The guy everyone wants to go away but don't want to admit we need. A-Rod has been the Yanks best hitter this spring. He hit 3 homeruns and his bat speed has looked good. He's had a good vision of the strikezone so he'll put together quality at-bats. After a year and a half away from the game and the nonsense that followed him, I truly believe A-Rod will be a fully focused baseball player in 2015. He has A LOT to prove. The Yankees want him to produce, Alex wants to produce, the fans want him to produce so there's nothing left to do but just play baseball. Hopefully the black cloud has left Alex and he can be a vital part of the lineup. I think he can do it and I think he will.
My Prediction: 275 18HR 73 RBI solid player in the lineup and fills in at 3B and 1B with no problem.


How do the 2015 Yankees finish?
-- The bullpen is strong, the starting rotation is strong IF healthy, the lineup should be solid. There's a lot of flexibility with this team as opposed to years past. I see a team that closely resembles the '96 Yankees. Small ball, timely hitting, just decent starting pitching and just enough depth to compensate any injuries (except if Tanaka goes down for the year).
My Prediction: 90-72 2nd AL East, Wild Card berth gets them into October.


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