Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why Is Being Optimistic Taboo?

Is this your idea of "cool"?

Earlier today Daniel had to tell his readers not to send him any hate mail for implying that the Yankees could win the division, or possibly the World Series. What is so bad about believing in them? Sports should be fun, and being all gloomy and full of doom is not fun. And it's definitely not fun talking to people like that.

It seems to me that being pessimistic these days, and that goes for anything (not just the Yankees), is "cool". Well, I'm telling you that it's not cool to be pessimistic. If you have solid reasons for having reservations about your team, that's fine. I had my reservations about Ohio State football this past season, and for good reason, but I didn't go into each game expecting failure. I rooted them on each and every week, and look what happened.

If you have a blog, or are just answering a question, about the Yankees chances this season then by all means... be honest. Look at the pros and cons of the team. But for the love of Mo, stop being such a Debbie Downer and try optimism.

Some people may need some help being optimistic, though. So here are my reasons to feel good about the 2015 Yankees...

  • All it's going to take for Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda to be a huge one-two punch at the top of the rotation is health. Mind you, that's not easy, but it's not ridiculous to expect those two to start 27+ games this season, either.
  • CC Sabathia, while not an ace any longer, is not a horrible pitcher. The power may never be the same, but so much of pitching is mental. CC is a six-time All Star, received Cy Young votes in five separate seasons, appeared in 423 games (all starts), and thrown over 2800 innings. You can't tell me this guy doesn't know how to pitch. With a knee that's been nagging him for years (he first had surgery on his right knee in 2006), it's no wonder that he'd have trouble eventually. If that knee can hold up now, I think he'll make a good #3 starter.
  • Nathan Eovaldi is going to surprise a lot of people. 2014 was his first full season as a starter, and he ran into quite a bit of bad luck (just look at opposing hitter's batting average on balls in play of .327). He's only 25 years old, so you can't say "he is who he is" quite yet. If Larry Rothchild can teach him some control then he's going to be a great addition for years to come.
  • The top of the batting order, which will feature Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner (the 2014 Yankees' most productive hitters), should be very good. Take Derek Jeter out of the #2 spot, and the heart of the order should get a ton of chances to drive in runs. And while Brett and Jacoby are not the runners they used to be, they can both still cause opponent's headaches on the basepaths. 
  • Brian McCann should absolutely hit better than last year. He actually made better contact than he ever has, posting a line drive rate of 24%. But thanks to a career low BABIP, and facing the shift more heavily than he ever has, he ran into a lot of bad luck. I can see him raising that batting average up to and even beyond .270, while hitting around 25 home runs (he hit 23 last year).
  • I think part of the reason Mark Teixeira had issues last year was that he was still suffering a bit from his wrist surgery the year before. Just look at the fact that he was having inflammation in that same wrist around the middle and at the end of the season. I'm not saying he'll flirt with a .300 batting average ever again, but hitting .250, getting on base 34% of the time, and hitting around 30 home runs is well within reason.
  • Lastly, Carlos Beltran is not going to hit .233/.301/.402 again. That batting average is 55 points lower than in his previous three seasons, that on-base percentage is also 55 points lower, and that slugging percentage dropped 101 points. In 2011 he didn't play in 20 games, in 2012 he sat for 11 games, in 2013 he watched 17 games, and then... last year... Carlos missed 53 games. He suffered an elbow injury in May, leading to a poor hitting month (.152/.216/.182), and that likely contributed to a poor June as he was still recovering. And what did he do in July? How about a triple-slash of .300/.354/.486? I'm not saying he can do that all year if healthy, but .280/.340/.490 is not out of the question. 

So there you go. I gave you seven reasons you can be optimistic about the 2015

You may say I'm just setting myself up for disappointment, but I'm sure as hell not going to go into this season with my expectations in the gutter. Besides, nobody likes being around somebody that cries and moans all the time.

I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)