Scouting the Yankees

As long as the Yankees' pitching holds up, they will be tough to beat.

Originally Published: October 2, 2005
By Gary Gillette | ESPN Insider
Position players

Jorge Posada, C
Though he remains a top catcher and dangerous hitter, Posada's age and the wear-and-tear of catching almost 1,100 games in his career are starting to show. A good fastball hitter, Posada will chase breaking balls out of the zone. He is better from the right side of the plate, though he can power a mistake over the fence whether he's batting right-handed or left-handed. Posada has soft hands but is otherwise undistinguished defensively.
Key stat: Posada finished the season in fine order (.294 BA with four homers and a .882 OPS in September) after a midsummer slump.

Jason Giambi, 1B Though he will never be popular again in some quarters, Giambi's 2005 season is notable for several reasons. First, his stunning comeback shows what a great, intensely disciplined hitter he was even without the aid of artificial ingredients. Second, "The Giambino" is one of the best nicknames to be bestowed on a ballplayer in a helluva long time. A tough low-fastball hitter who kills right-handers without overwhelming stuff or surgical control, Giambi is a thinking man's slugger. Giambi has always had a weak arm, even for a first sacker, but he's a distinct liability at first base now range-wise.
Key stat: .453 OBP in second half.

Robinson Cano, 2B
A free swinging left-handed hitter with a quick bat and decent gap power, Cano is dangerous when facing righties (.331 BA, .878 OPS) but very weak versus southpaws. The rookie has shown very good range at second this year even though he's made 17 errors; his mistakes in the field have been magnified by the prism of playing in New York for the ultimate high-profile club. After a dreadful August, Cano's torrid September (.381 BA with five homers and a 1.040 OPS) saved his spot in the lineup and relegated veteran late-season pickup Mark Bellhorn to the pine. Cano's not likely to turn in Mark Lemke in October, both for better and worse (i.e., embarrass the Yankees or turn into an improbable postseason hero).
Key stat: Cano may be intimidated by playing at Yankee Stadium, though it's too early to be sure (.652 OPS at home, .878 on the road).


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Gary Gillette | email

ESPN.com MLB insider contributor
Gary Gillette, a contributor to MLB Insider on ESPN.com, is the editor of the 2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, which was published in March by Sterling. Gary can be reached via e-mail at GGillette@247Baseball.com.