Opening Day (April Fools Day) 2013 in New York

New York witnessed the rare event of the Mets and Yankees opening the baseball season both at home at the same time on the same day. As you know I am a diehard Yankee fan. Being a true Yankee fan I also root against the team that shares New York with them. However, I will try to be objective in my discussion of their simultaneous opening-day games and their futures. The Yankees faced their traditional and hated rival the Boston Red Sox. The Mets opened against the awful San Diego Padres. As it turned out the baseball gods smiled on the Big Apple by providing a mild day with a temperature of 60 degrees.

The Mets starting pitcher was Jon Niese; their new projected number one. Johan Santana is out for the year and will probably never pitch another inning for the Mets. The Mets debut was nearly perfect. Niese pitched like an ace and the Mets scored 11 runs holding the Padres to 2 runs. Even the bullpen shined pitching 2 innings of hitless ball. Very little is expected from this year’s Mets. However, I think the Mets are definitely building for the future by going with young players from within their farm system and trading away veteran players for top prospects from other teams. Besides Niese, the Mets have two top pitching prospects in Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Anchored by All-Star David Wright the rest of the infield consists of Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, and Ruben Tejada. Wright is locked in for the rest of his career and the other three are all young with great upside. The outfield is another matter. Lucas Duda is a powerful young hitter but a defensive liability. Marlin Bird is a retread that will not be in the Mets future. Collin Cowgill started in centerfield and contributed a grand slam home run in the romp. However, he is just the best of a poor crop of centerfielders. The catcher position is currently held by the veteran John Buck. Waiting in the wings is probably the top catching prospect in all of baseball Travis D’Arnaud. The Mets are being built for future success. For 2013, I project them to finish fourth in the NL East. In two to three years the Mets will be contenders.

The Yankees’ story is different. The average age of the 2013 Yankees is 33. As mentioned in an article by Daniel Barbarrisi, if you could turn back the clock to 2006, the current Yankee roster represents a 2006 All-Star team. In 2006, Ichiro Suzuki led the majors in hits while Travis Hafner led the AL in on-base percentage. Chien-Ming Wang was the AL Cy Young runner up. Derek Jeter finished second in the AL MVP voting. In 2006, of the 30 players receiving AL MVP votes, eight of those 30 players are on their 2013 roster. Unfortunately, many of these players are now past their prime. Why not bring back Yogi Berra? The injury bug has sidelined Rodriguez and Teixeira for at least 10 weeks. Jeter, recovering from a broken ankle, is currently on the DL. Granderson is out for at least six weeks. For the last few years the Yankees have been signing older veteran players to short term contracts while trading away some of their best young prospects. The strength of the current Yankee team is their pitching. Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte, Hughes, Nova, and Phelps potentially form one of the best starting staffs in baseball. With Rivera, Robertson, Logan and Chamberlian to cover the last three innings, the bullpen is solid.  The opening-day lineup included just two positional players, Cano and Gardiner, who started on opening day last year. Last year the Yankees hit 245 homers; the starting lineup in 2013 hit a total of 45 home runs. I project the Yankees to finish third in the strong AL East. By the way the Yankees lost the game 8 to 2. However, unlike the Mets, the Yankee future is bleak.

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