Don't overestimate the value added by the new Yankee Stadium. A good comparison: the Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park. In its debut season of 2000, it surrendered an MLB-high 254 home runs. By 2002, however, only 148 homers were hit there, ninth-most in the National League. Neither Alex Rodriguez nor Mark Teixeira will have a sudden power outage, but Derek Jeter is unlikely to hit 18 home runs again.
Similarly, it is important to temper expectations for newcomers like designated hitter Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson. Granderson hit 25 of his 30 round-trippers to right field last season and now has a short right-field porch with favorable wind patterns at his disposal. Given the Houston case, though, don't be too ambitious.
CC Sabathia is the perfect Yankee Stadium pitcher: He is left-handed, which helps him avoid the right-field wind tunnel. He also strikes out a ton of batters and doesn't walk them. Yankee Stadium, like Coors Field, has seen a higher rate of line drives than the average park; keeping the ball out of play is the most viable way to get outs.
Mariano Rivera suffers from no Stadium affliction: He is, and has always been, a groundball maven.
Here's a strange and interesting note: In two seasons under manager Joe Girardi, Yankee relievers have recorded 70 victories. Only the Tampa Bay Rays are even close to that figure, at 57. Backend starters with low stamina and a desire to preserve frontline arms make the Yanks' bullpen a place to troll for cheap speculative LIMA choices.
Replacing Melky Cabrera with Granderson in center field is a small upgrade, but Randy Winn is a big one in left field over departed free agent Johnny Damon.
Jorge Posada can no longer do anything well behind the plate, but Sabathia, Javier Vazquez, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte control the running game on their own with good pickoff moves and quick deliveries.
About Matt Trueblood
Matt is a journalism student at Loyola University Chicago. The guest contributor is a featured Chicago Cubs columnist on the Bleacher Report as well as a contributor to hotstove.com. Matt envisions himself as both a writer and analyst and strives to deliver pieces that are both well-researched and thought-provoking. He work first appeared on KFFL.com in February 2010.
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