Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions: New York Yankees

by Tim Heaney on February 7, 2012 @ 11:35:51 PDT


KFFL answers important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the New York Yankees?

What do the Pinstripes offer Michael Pineda?

New York Yankees SP A.J. Burnett
Burnett: a worthy No. 5?

Besides the slimming effect? Lord Zola's Roundtable assessed the cross-country move. Pineda has the dominance to overcome a tougher division, but the rate of aerial shots against the 23-year-old stands out with his new home park, the 161st and River NASA launch station.

Expect mixed SP3 numbers. Buy his K/9. Brace for corrections elsewhere. His new digs might scare off your opponents enough that he could actually come at a bargain price, but blind optimism bred from "Last Year's Results" syndrome will make him a less desirable pursuit in many rooms.

How will the fifth-starter battle shake out?

In camp, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia will battle to occupy the caboose that caps the CC Sabathia-Hiroki Kuroda-Michael Pineda-Ivan Nova train. With the run support that can benefit a Yankees rotation member, the three-car race deserves examination.

Hughes put on some pounds following his 18-win 2010 and experienced a painful statistical ballooning last year. Thanks in part to his innings increase, his four-seamer's velo dropped; its path has been rather straight throughout his disappointing career. His bullpen experience might sway New York's decision at some point. However, if he can make the most of his slenderer physique and, perhaps, employ his cutter as effectively as he did during his bullpen-heavy '09, he'll earn another chance to start.

Though Burnett was coddled with extra rest during his late-season rotation performance, he seemed to figure out his approach. Consistency, however, must blend with his infrequent brilliance. His albatross of a contract could force the Yanks to stick with him in the starting five just to extract something useful from him, but Burnett's blowup history will weigh heavily on the organization's decision, regardless of how optimistic they sound about him.

Garcia presents the safest option but won't repeat his 2011. The 35-year-old yields too many flies and can't power past hitters. He'd gobble frames, though, regardless of how ugly they are; that's worth something in cavernous roto circles.

Among this trio, Hughes holds the most attractive ceiling, which justifies a mixed league late-rounds stab. Burnett and Garcia, even if they win spots, should be reserved for mixed scrapheap picks and AL-only filler.

Of course, the April No. 5 doesn't deserve a season-long fantasy commitment. Two future quintet cogs, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, will have to wait to stake their claim until the summer barring a superlative spring. If and when one of them takes over the spot, he'd be worth an immediate deep mixed pickup.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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