Thursday, September 11, 2014

John Harper's uncanny opening day predictions for the 2014 Yankees

OK, it's easy to beat up someone for a bad prediction. Nobody always gets it right, and we all wanted to think the Yankees couldn't spend all that money last winter without improving. Also, the Daily News columnist stressed - (they always do) - that he had mucho reservations about this team. Still, there he was, drinking Kool-Aid straight from the nipple, advancing the notion that a plane with eight propellers and one wing could ever fly. This was his March 31 column, prediction a pennant.

He laid out the downsides...

This is not exactly the 2009 Yankees’ infield that was touted as one of the best of all-time. In fact, you can make a case that this could be one of the worst infields in their history, if Kelly Johnson can’t handle third base, Brian Roberts gets hurt on schedule, Derek Jeter’s spring training struggles with the bat weren’t a mirage, and Mark Teixeira’s wrist-related power fails to come back.

But the team sure had a powerful batting order...

Flaws notwithstanding, however, it’s hard to see how the Yankees won’t have a dynamic offense, with the additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran.

Ouch. And he wasn't buying into a weakened Tex.

His switch-hitting power potentially makes the middle of the Yankee lineup, along with Beltran, McCann, and Alfonso Soriano, as formidable as just about any in the majors.

Ah, the Soriano hope... from where did it come? Alfonso didn't hit in spring training, or at the end of 2013, and the Cubs had cut bait on him. Why did anyone think he would suddenly become 29 again? He clogged the middle of our order - as Hafner and Wells had done a year earlier - and the "baseball men" can say all they want about the hitting flaws of Zolio Almonte, but the guy couldn't have done worse than Soriano, and he would not have batted cleanup. 

As long as the Yankees insist on plummeting over cliffs with old guys in their final incarnations, we will just do this again and again.

Harper's last graph sums up the sportswriter philosophy: When you're eating free, always complement the cook.

Pitching is reason to believe that, in a season that seemingly has a huge range of possibilities, the Yankees will reach the high-end projections. If everything could go wrong in 2013, why can’t it go right in 2014?

1 comment:

Mustang said...

I love these. Keep it up.

More predictions for 2014

Brief excerpt:

• A chemical attack on the United States.
• Another cruise ship breaks in half.
• Nuclear attack on New York. 
• Madonna has a health scare.
• A famous comedian legend will pass.
• Marriage for Oprah.
• Johnny Depp has to be careful of motorcycles.